I’ve always been absolutely in love with dogs. When I was a little girl, I always got so excited to visit the dogs at the pet store. To this day, whenever I see a dog on the street, I squeal and flail and make “boop boop boop!” noises like a total nutcase. I’m sure this will make me sound a bit crazy, but if I had it my way, there would be a lot less people in the world and a lot more dogs. If I’m in a bad mood or depressed for some reason, you can find me Googling strange dog-related phrases, like: “puppy wearing a top hat” or “Boston Terrier with glasses.” A cute puppy picture will cheer me up instantly and make me forget whatever I was upset about.
A few days after adopting Betty White.
So, having to admit to myself that I needed to find my dog and best friend of 4.5 years a new home, was heartbreaking to say the least. When I think of waking up without having Betty White sleeping nearby in her bed, my heart sinks and I feel like I’ve had the wind knocked out of my chest. Betty White has been with me through thick and thin and is family to me, so to have to say goodbye to her for good and make this sacrifice is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Unfortunately, Betty has been spending her days barking and scratching away at her crate non-stop. Our neighbor wrote us a polite letter asking for us to please help calm her down in any way that we can. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have realized she is still barking when we’re out at work. It’s not a matter of her being locked away in a crate, because even if she is given complete freedom in our apartment when we’re gone, she is even more scared and scratches away at every possible surface until her paws are bleeding. Pete and I feel like prisoners in our apartment because we don’t want to cause our neighbors stress with her constant barking, and we also don’t want her to be so scared and upset to have us gone. I haven’t spent time with my friends in months because I’m scared to leave for more than 5 minutes.
We’ve had to take her to Pete’s work office on the weekend if we committed to plans, so she can bark without disturbing our neighbors. Luckily Pete’s job has been really understanding in that way, and my job has allowed me to bring Betty to work this week so she’s not alone all day long and barking. Although Betty’s confidence has grown a ton over the past few months due to her going through training, she is still living a very stressful existence and absolutely exhausted from barking by the time I come home.
I hate seeing her so stressed and going through pain, so it became more and more clear that I had to put my emotions aside and put her first. She needs someone who can give her a normal routine and a life with more attention. We give her a ton of attention and all of the love in the world, but it is still not enough at the end of the day. I know she can live a much happier life with someone who could help build her confidence and socialize her on a daily basis. I don’t think I’d trust anyone besides our dog trainer, Dave Cugno, to take her in as his own. Which is why when he graciously offered, we made the decision to give Betty White a better life. A life with stability and 24/7 attention and the best doggy education a gal could ever ask for. Instead of spending her days in the crate barking, shaking and scratching to try to cope with her owners being gone, she will be able to spend her days with a pack of dogs and surrounded by people who understand how to communicate with her. People who can help her improve and smile more and more every day (dogs totally smile).
I know Dave will give her the life she deserves and as much as it breaks my heart to say goodbye, I know it is for the best for her. It just seems right. It doesn’t seem right dragging her to a doggie daycare every day when I know how terrified they make her. It doesn’t seem right to put her through the stress of dealing with anti-bark collars. It doesn’t seem right to move to a new apartment where neighbors won’t be bothered by barking, because she will still be stressed and unhappy at the end of the day.
I really can’t form the words to express how much Betty White means to me. I’m going to miss so much about her. I’m going to miss brushing my teeth at night with Pete and seeing her rub her face all over the couch, trying to get attention from us by creating the most epic doggie bed head ever. I’m going to miss her lifting her head up from her pillow and making the cutest smoosh face. I’m going to miss taking her to the vet and having her nervously poop immediately in the lobby. I’m going to miss her jumping up to sit by me when I am upset and knowing how to cheer me up instantly. I’m going to miss dressing her in ridiculous bunny costumes and lobster hats. I’m going to miss giving her baths, when she refuses to put all 4 of her feet in the water. I’m going to miss having her prance around at night and jumping on my head in the mornings. I’m going to miss driving her to the pet store and picking up dog food together. I’m going to miss having her around for holidays and birthdays. I’m going to miss taking photos with her and Pete. I’m going to miss making squint-eyes at her with Pete to try to make her fall asleep in her chair. I’m going to miss giving her butt scritchers. I’m going to miss walking her in the park. I’m going to miss digging out a pee path for her in the snow. I’m going to miss finding a dog poop bag in my pocket and thinking of her. I’m going to miss seeing her dog toys that she has never played with. I’m going to miss how ecstatic she’d get when we gave her a Beggin’ Strip. I’m going to miss having a dog to spoil. I’m going to miss working from home with her on Fridays and cuddling on the couch. I’m going to miss trips in the car with her, even if she had horrible-smelling nervous farts. I’m going to miss having her sniff at the other pets we have and run away when they try to hump her. I’m going to miss having her eat the crumbs I drop when we’re making dinner. I’m going to miss petting her chin and hearing her make her “ooooo that feels good” grumbles.
I’m going to miss a million things, but I won’t make you read all of them. This weekend we are going to say goodbye to Betty White, which I never imagined having to do. I’m incredibly passionate about pets, especially rescue animals, so to say that I don’t feel like a bit of a failure would be lying. I feel like she is going to hate me forever or think that I’m giving up on her. I’m so worried she’s going to think she disappointed me in some way or think that people are just going to keep giving her up for adoption. This is easily the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I will never be the same person, but I really feel like it’s the necessary step to give her a truly good life.
I am sure Pete and I will have a dog again one day in the future, when we own a home and when we can promise to be the best possible owners. When I adopted Betty I had no idea she had major separation anxiety and that she would require much more love and attention than your average dog, but I can safely say I tried my absolute best to give her everything I have to offer. I can’t say I’ll be squealing at dogs in the street again for a long time. I’m sure anything with four legs will remind me of Betty White and how much I miss her and how life isn’t the same without her scruffy cuteness around.
I am trying my hardest to be strong and not a total mess all week, but there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since this decision that I haven’t broken down completely and started bawling. I love her so much and don’t know how life will be without her. I just know it will be different and I am incredibly grateful for everything I’ve learned from her since adopting her over 4 years ago.
Thank you to Pete for being there for me and being patient with my tears. Thank you so so much to Dave for being so selfless and giving Betty White the best possible home and life. I hope she will give you as much joy as she has given me over the past few years. We will miss her so much and think of her every day.