Doggone It

I had all these funny stories to share about my dogs, about how Chico learned to jump the fence, about how I built a barrier of a broken-down wheelbarrow, ladder and compost bin, and Chico found another spot to jump the fence. Then I dragged two very large and heavy boards to the new place, and he jumped somewhere else. Then I stood out in the yard and played goalie by the gate because he was jumping there. But finally he started jumping/climbing the six-foot chain link enclosure I had built earlier this year at great expense. He no longer wanted to stay in the yard and play with his sister; he just wanted to jump and run.

I learned not to chase him because he just kept going. If I left a gate open, he would sneak in. The trick was to catch him before he jumped over the fence again. But suddenly this weekend, he not only learned to jump anywhere there wasn’t a tree behind the fence, he learned to get over the supposedly dog-proof enclosure. I put in a call to the dog trainer to see if she could come help me work on training him to come when I called and see what could be done to dog-proof the yard. We were still playing phone tag when Chico got out over and over this morning.

My neighbor, who has been most patient, complained that my dog was trying to kill his cat. Furthermore, he had caught him trying to kill another dog on the next street. Sooner or later, dear, sweet Chico was going to get hurt or killed. Many of my gun-toting neighbors would not hesitate to shoot a dog who was attacking their animals. Nor could I spend all of my free time chasing that dog, never able to relax in my own yard.

Chico had to go. As soon as I got him corraled, I put him in the car. For now, he is at the kennel where my old dog used to board. I want to find him a loving home where he has all the room he needs to run. I will keep his sister Annie for now. I know she is more brokenhearted than I am. And yet, we are both relieved to be free of the pressure of trying to keep in a dog who needs to run away.

I feel like a failure. Fred and I did a great job with Sadie, our old dog. We provided a very good life for her and were with her when she died. But then we took in Hallie for only a couple weeks before we decided she was too wild and had to go back to the shelter. And now, after all the noise I’ve made about my two puppies and all the stories I’ve told, I handed Chico over to a stranger.

Riding in the car, he sat on the passenger seat with his head against the cushion, looking like he might be sick. He knew this wasn’t good. I was crying, and we were riding down windy roads he had never seen before. This was not a trip to the beach. Back at home, I see his beautiful self everywhere I look but I also feel the relief, too.

Dr. Hurty, if you’re still reading my blog, I tried my best, but with Fred gone to a nursing home, I was outnumbered and overpowered. I am looking for a good home for Chico. All I ask is that they love him and take good care of him. He’s a beautiful dog with a loving heart. He’s my baby, but it’s time for him to move on.

Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, Childless by Marriage, and Up Beaver Creek. Most recently, I have published two poetry chapbooks, Gravel Road Ahead and The Widow at the Piano: Confessions of a Distracted Catholic. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

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