Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Saying Goodbye (always with the goodbyes...)

Last August we adopted a beautiful greyhound, Kayak. We had lost our previous greyhound in February and the house was empty and quiet. We were ready to get another dog, another greyhound. We went back and forth on it--with everything going on, could we handle another big dog? We thought about other, smaller breeds more suited to our house, yard, and lifestyle. But we went to a meet and greet for greyhounds and left in tears--they are such sweet, wonderful dogs. And so, on August 28th, Kayak came home to us.

The problem was that we had discussed how maybe we might not be able to be as present for Kayak as we had for Doc, our beloved greyhound who had passed on. We discussed how with all the infertility treatment that we might not want to be tied down to the responsibilities of a dog (and a big, energetic dog at that). But we ultimately decided that we needed to have another greyhound--a companion to love, to play with, to take for walks. But we didn't realize what a long, painful, arduous journey we were truly on. August 28th was my first transfer date--I went in to have our first pair of embryos transferred to my uterus in the morning and then we went to pick up Kayak when his transport arrived from the track in Florida just hours later. We were so sure we were going to get pregnant and it would all be memories of needle sticks and sharps containers. But we didn't.

And we didn't in December, either, despite my hyperstimulating and despite having to be out of work for an extra week because of that. And we did in August, but only to have that end in surgery and loss and more time off work from a new job this time. Each time it got harder. Each time I was involved in more and more appointments to support my body and mind. Each time we had less and less energy and time to devote to our dog. And he suffered--he became very anxious, had gastrointestinal issues that couldn't be remedied with changes in diet, probiotics, anti-anxiety medication. Not to be gross, but he took maybe 4 solid craps the entire time we had him--over a year. When we decided to try a trial with another family, one with a bigger fenced in yard and a bigger house and more to give to our wonderful (but very emotionally needy) dog, he was solid the whole week through. He was a totally different, non-anxious, non-obsessive-butt-licking, non-destructive dog. He was happy. He was getting what he needed. And that was just not happening with us.

And so tonight, we brought our dog to another family to stay. We transferred our ownership over to a family with a five-year old daughter, a house with a nice big fenced in yard, a family farm where they let dogs run, and frequent hiking and camping trips. They had a greyhound who passed recently and wanted a new one and ours happened to come available when no others were. It was serendipitous. But is is one of the hardest things we have done. We love our dog. We wanted so badly to make it work, to be the family he needed us to be. But we just couldn't. I have nothing left to give a dog right now, when I'm dealing with so much physically and emotionally. I can keep it together for my job, and I can handle my home (sort of), but with other stressors it was just overwhelming and unmanageable. And I held a little irrational resentment against the dog because I thought maybe if I hadn't gone to pick him up and I wasn't unable to rest because I was watching him in his first days during our wait, that maybe the transfer would have worked and we would have been pregnant. It wasn't good for me stresswise, and Kayak was also stressed and not getting everything he needed. We made a decision for the better well-being of our dog, and that decision meant relinquishing him to another, better-suited family. It's heartbreaking.

Seeing his new home tonight made us feel much better. But then as we left, Kayak was so confused. He kept rushing to the door. He kept trying to leave with us. He didn't understand. It was absolutely horrible. We know, just know that he will have a better home with these people. He can run, and hang out with other dogs, and have a little girl who will grow up loving him and adoring him and going everywhere with him. (Bryce's smart-aleck remark was, "It's not fair--Kayak gets a kid before we do!" Ha ha.) It was just so hard to feel like we were abandoning him, even if we were "abandoning" him in the best possible place. We feel like it's yet another thing we just can't succeed at. We aren't able to sustain a pregnancy yet but we just keep losing other things, too. It just seems so unfair. It's like our lives have turned into a horrible country song where everything is lost.

The thing that makes us feel ok with all this is that we know it is the right thing to do. It is infinitely harder to do the right thing for Kayak and let him go to another home that it would have been to be bad dog parents and keep him in a situation that wasn't good for him and wasn't good for us. It's not like when we actually do get pregnant and sustain it that things would get better for Kayak. You don't get more attention as a dog when there's a new baby in the house. It's going to be hard to explain to neighbors that Kayak went elsewhere once they catch on that he's not with us anymore. But we cannot feel guilty about it. We did what was right. It just feels like one more way that infertility is chipping away at our lives, and we can't help but be resentful about it.

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