Sunday, July 31, 2016

Open Letter to Jasper Pryor

I see a lot of "open letter" posts about dogs being dropped off at the local shelter and the hatred the new owners have for the previous owners. The confusion about how "the perfect dog" can be so mistakenly "dumped" at the local shelter like a piece of trash, and the lists of things the dog and the new owners did, as if that is proof that the new owners are somehow better than the old ones. Without knowing the previous owners' story, and the confusion, doubt, and self questioning that they go through before they have to make that decision, the new owners pass judgement. Here's the other side. 

"I brought you home on a hot August day, not knowing your history.  I gave you ice water to cool you, because it was hotter than the gate hinges to the gates of Hades and I didn't want you passing out on me.  After work, you jumped in my car with the words "load 'em up" and everyone had a laugh.  I had to get you out because you jumped on my work paperwork.  I them picked up the kiddo from day care, worried the whole time you would tear up the inside of my car. I saw that movie. The kiddo was excited about you, but I was still cautious. You spent the night in the bathroom until I trusted you to roam the house, which you did often after that. 

You made friends with the cat.  You made friends with the kid and the boyfriend. You were patient and friendly even when the boyfriend came to live with us, then married us. You made friends with the new puppy, Bandy. You were scared the time we had to move and the drive was over two hours long. I saw the anxiety on you face. You loved the backyard. It was big, with room to run.  Then another cute beast with razors at the end of its hands entered our lives. Our home grew, with the addition of dogs and snakes. I remember the first time you met a snake, and the look on your face.  You seemed almost impatient at the new addition, but you got used to it. I believed that you understood, being a rescue yourself. 

We shared movies, vet visits, and my first run after knee surgery.  Remember when we ran "to the horses and back" and you learned to stay on one side? I tripped every time you switched sides.  We went on several walks since then, until I went back to school.  Then our walks were less and less frequent. 

You spend a lot of time bored, as I had to study for this final or that one. Your patience and loyalty during that time is not forgotten. I remember taking "study breaks" to take you outside, and I remember having tea on the porch watching the sun set with you. You're a good dog, remember that. Never forget that.

I have a lot of memories with you and I that I will always have. You have those memories too. Keep those memories close. You will make new ones with your new owners. Better than the most recent ones. I didn't like having to keep the muzzle on you because you didn't get along with the other male dog that we had and you played too rough with the girls.  Or the neighbors' dog.... You hated that dog! But then again, who liked that dog? That dog was annoying, right? You had to wear the muzzle more often than not, and you were secluded, because of you not getting along with the others. It's not fair that you were always out alone (sometimes with us, and we threw the ball to you) or that you were isolated from the other dogs and couldn't play because you were too rough. We love the other dogs, and we love you. That's why we had to let you go. 

I could not stand to see you isolated from the others, wanting to play and wondering why you couldn't.  The muzzle on constantly because we couldn't trust you after you lunged at Phantom. I see those memes all of the time, about loyalty and keeping the dog through thick and thin and that I'm horrible for getting rid of someone you pledged your life to. "Getting a dog is for life" and "Dogs are forever". Those break my heart. I believed that; still do. What about when life is no longer good for the dog? What then? I still question if we made the right decision for you. You're a good dog, and the male dogs brought out your worst. 

"Why couldn't you get rid of the newer dogs?" "Didn't you have Jasper longer?" We couldn't because we love them. We love you, too. It's easier to place the dog with the issues, hoping for a better life as a single, spoiled dog, than placing three. Our hearts can take the separation of one, but not three.. One is heartbreaking enough.  

It's planned that you are going to your new owners, my uncle and aunt, on Wednesday. Tom is a good man, who loves his animals. You will have it good with him, and making wonderful new memories in no time. He is excited to have you, and liked you the moment he met you. I think it's a good fit. You will do well there, and they will be happier for knowing you. You're a good dog. Always remember that. 

I wish you luck and love in your new home, and since you are going to family, I will see you again. I love you, That's why we had to let you go.

Love and Blessings,
Your "old" Owner"  

Just remember- just because the dog is perfect for you, doesn't mean they were perfect for the previous owners. Give the dog a good life, and remember, the previous owners went through hell making the decision to let him go.  I know we did. 

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