Friday, December 21, 2012


So obviously my efforts to do better with this blogging business have epically failed and for that I apologize. Again and again. While I have many excuses I won't bore you with, one may be obvious due to the updated look of this blog and therefore is important to shed some light on.

After two and a half years, Team DeBoer came to the very difficult decision of relinquishing Sir Leo back to Basset Buddies Rescue. I want to emphasize that in both Shawn and I's 30 years of existence, neither one of us has ever given up a pet before, dog or otherwise, so this action did not come lightly or without immense contemplation, guilt and trepidation. In fact, to be completely honest, Shawn and I never actually agreed on relinquishing Leo, but my trustworthy husband put his faith in me to make the decision because I was the one having the hardest time.

To make a long story short, Leo wasn't as good of a fit for us as we had originally hoped. He was the first dog we've ever adopted and therefore we knew he might come with some excess baggage. However, we naively thought that with time, patience and love, we could turn his issues around and he'd become a happy and calm member of the family. While we made strides in many areas, we were never able to fully eliminate his anxiety, which quickly became the crux of the problem. You see, I deal with anxiety problems of my own; I have for years. While I'm no longer taking medication for it and I've made immense progress, it's still something I deal with on an hourly basis and basically, Leo and I were the human/hound equivalent of two wrongs not making a right. Neither one of us were as happy as we could be and that's when I started to question our situation.

Leonard is the type of basset that needs 200% attention. He is not independent. At all. While we thought the companionship of Norman would help with that fact, we were wrong. Leo's anxiety took over our interactions with him, so much so that we felt like we were always telling him no, pushing him away, listening to him whine (and by whine, I mean voluminously howl, moan and cry), or instructing him to give Maci space. Although we trusted him not to harm her, despite his previous record of biting a child, we did battle his interactions with her and I personally could never guarantee that nothing serious would ever happen (like I can whole-heartedly guarantee with Norman). Suffice it to say things were not ideal and by ideal I mean in comparison to Norman's demeanor. I know it's not fair to compare the two but it's what we had for reference.

I know how selfish this may sound, but it all came down to me questioning what Leo was adding to our lives versus what he was taking away. If he could be happier and receive more attention, love and affection elsewhere, would it really be fair of us to deny him that just because we were too stubborn to admit our mistake and therefore rescind on our commitment? If giving him back meant he would be happier and we would be happier, what else was reason enough not to do it? In all my questioning, I couldn't justify denying him (and us) the potential of better circumstances so although I wouldn't have control of where he ended up, I had complete faith in the people that would. Basset Buddies Rescue straight off said they know not every dog is a correct fit for every home and that sometimes it takes a few times to get it right so when I contacted them, they were more then willing to help us with our situation. They knew and understood and that was the ultimate relief to my ears.

Prior to officially saying good-bye to Leo, it was suggested by BBR that we start separating him and Norman for periods at a time to see how they each handled breaking the bond. They wanted to help us prevent any possible separation side effects. Our first attempt was unsuccessful merely because we made the mistake of letting Norman see us leave with Leo on a leash and to deny Norman a walk is like smearing peanut better on his nose and telling him not to lick it. After learning our lesson, the next several attempts went much more smoothly and the following Sunday, we officially said good-bye to Mister Leo. Tears were shed, last pets were given and hugs and kisses were included as we wished him well with his new adventure. I am 100% confident in BBR and their resources to help give Leo the best life possible. I cannot say enough about them as an organization. They made sure this whole process was successful because they care about the dogs they take on and want to see all parties involved happy.

Even though this was one of the hardest and most personal decisions I've ever made, I know some will still judge my decision as lazy and self-serving, but I'm okay with that because I feel I made the right one for my family and for Leo. With Cletus the Fetus coming in June, Team DeBoer isn't going to magically inherit more time, energy or patience so I feel we've headed off a potential storm at the start. Plus, deep down, I know simplification for me is best when it comes to my ability to flourish with my family. In regards to the basset that remains, Norman has been doing just fine. In fact, he's probably gotten more attention lately then he has in the past couple of years. Somehow he inherited an old soul that simply needs some food and a fireplace to be happy. I guess he, too, benefits from a little simplicity.

Update : I just heard from BBR. Leo is doing great at his new foster home and has already claimed the lap of his foster Dad. He's already one step better then our house … getting to sit on laps! 


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