In the early folds of 2019
We Smiths know how to hustle. We know how to hurry to the car, speed through our chores, sprint after work for home group/soccer/basket ball/counseling, and slam into the weekend pushing 90 mph. We know how to scarf down a meal or transition from bath-teeth-brushing-bed in under ten minutes. We know running late, barely late, legitimately late, and insanely embarrassingly late. We know fast conversations, hasty kisses, blur-typed texts, and early morning panic. We’re a family of off-road short cuts, rigged/ducktaped hacks, almost rights, and scattered haircuts, oil changes, and birthday cards that almost feel a few months early they’re so late.
This coming from a husband obsessed with details and a wife who can’t stand messiness or disorder. It’s awkward and scratchy—the shrunken woolen sweater whose sleeves won’t reach your wrists no matter how you tug and pull. When, in a more cerebral mood, I look for the “why” behind the whirlwind, I clearly see the lineup of culprits:
- Three boys
- 1 boy with special needs
- 2 working parents
- the modern tempo
Needless to say, change is a Smith-Family staple. Still, change sucks. This week change was particularly bitter: we gave up Roscoe, our puppy of six months. I didn’t want to. I fought and fought this decision. I felt guilty every time Roscoe bit one of my boys or knocked Ezra over or jumped up on someone and scratched them or just ran off in our neighborhood like a total loon. I felt so guilty but I just couldn’t give him up. I made excuses: “he’s just playing” (**cough** like a psycho **cough**), “he’s just a puppy,” “he just needs more training.” I tried and tried to train him and we made a lot of progress.
He successfully mastered sit, stay, shake, leave it, and down. But whenever we needed him to sit, stay, leave it, or get down, he was too keyed up to listen. And this from a big dog. I can’t tell you the amount of times I was knocked over, scratched, or bit. He would get so excited during walks he would leap at me, jaws snapping. Honestly, it was terrifying...
Finally, after he escaped our house and knocked over a little girl in our neighborhood, we unanimously agreed he needed to a find a new home—preferably one without small children.
I’ve cried every day since we dropped him off and I’m still stalking the shelter’s profile page for Roscoe. On his intake form (like all of the other dogs in the shelter), the reason for his being in the shelter was marked as “owner turn-in, unwanted.”
O.k., o.k., I know they just have to put something on the form. I know it’s generic and not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. I still balled. Of course we wanted him! We’d been wanting him, despite the numerous wounds of various size and bloodiness, for months now! Why would they assume he was “unwanted?” Stupid to take it personally, but I get really stupid when it comes to love.
Here’s a video of his first few months in our family. It makes him look so gentle and sweet, eventhough he was normally wild, uncontrollable, and a biter / jumper. Still breaks my heart to see it, though.