Our Editor in Chic writes a letter to her daughter about their dog they said goodbye to over the weekend, and the footprints he forever left in their hearts.
You might not remember Dino, but he was our first child. With us before we got married, since we bought our first house, and there when we brought you home from the hospital. He loves giving you big, wet kisses. You love laughing at him as he races up and down the hall chasing a ball. He’s your personal garbage disposal, looking forward to every little morsel that drops from your high chair.
He has been our funny, spirited and loving companion for eight years now. He is and always will be an integral part of our family, but yesterday we had to send him away to a place where he’ll live out the rest of his days.
Over the past few years, Dino has developed severe anxiety. And as a result, he has bitten quite a few people — me and your daddy (multiple times) included. Ninety-nine percent of the time, he is the most loving, “velcro dog” there is. But there’s that unexpected and unpredictable one percent of time where his “fight or flight” reflexes kick in and he lashes out.
We’ve tried everything — vets, behaviorists, trainers, week-long camps, special collars, sprays and a variety of different medications — to cure his anxiety and stop the biting. Nothing worked. Eventually, we ran out of options to try, and we simply couldn’t risk anyone else getting injured.
So, your daddy and I had to make a difficult decision this weekend to send him back to his first home. Thankfully, the breeder we got him from said she would gladly take him in. Not only does she still have his mother and one of his siblings, but she lives in Riverside California, so they go to the beach and on hikes often. The breeder is also a vet tech with ample access to healthcare resources for Dino.
It’s comforting to know he’s going to a familiar, healthy and happy home. But that doesn’t make our hearts ache any less. He’s our precious little boy. We love him so very much.
The perfectionist in me hates that I couldn’t fix him. The realist in me knows we tried absolutely everything. The mom in me knows it’s what we had to do. The dog lover in me knows he’ll be happy in his new home.
But sometimes the best decisions are the most difficult. You just have to be thankful you had something that made saying goodbye so painful.
So, thank you, Dino. Thank you for all the memories, furry cuddles, and wet kisses… You’ll always be our little boy. And he’ll always be your big brother.