I've been debating whether to write about this today, but it has been on my mind the past few days, and became a reality today.
Not long ago, Carl adopted Lee, a friendly mutt who found his way into our hearts pretty quickly. He was good with our other dog, Dixie, and with Raine, and seemed to fit well into our family. There were a few problems of course, he emptied the cat food a couple of times (how does a dog his size slither silently under a chair?), but Carl got a gate thing figured out and built.
Then the escapes began. First he climbed through the fence on one side of the yard, into the neighbor's yard to visit with their dog. The neighbor helped us move our fencing panels around to close that route, but the Lee's desire to escape seemed to escalate. Every few days, Carl had to walk through the neighborhood looking for him, following the pointing fingers of the neighbors, "He went that a way..." Each time Ron and Carl would examine the yard, and the fences trying to patch whatever hole Lee had found or created. Mind you, Dixie stayed in the yard each time. Finally, Carl chained him up, and still he broke through one of the boards on the other (not basically new) fence and climbed through. Carl had to move the chain, and go out and unwrap him periodically.
How much is too much? I mean we really like Lee, but we feel responsible for any problems he might cause while roaming the neighborhood, which we are not happy for him to do. We certainly don't want to find him run over, and we live near a fairly busy street. Not to mention fees associated with repeated pick ups from the dog catcher. But, he sure doesn't want to stay in our yard. Carl made the decision, finally, that he would take Lee back to the shelter. It wasn't an easy decision, and we all discussed the alternatives, and possibilities. We have bonded with Lee, and it isn't easy to feel that failure.
I debated posting, as I know there are people who will look on us badly for giving him up. Thinking we weren't serious about adopting him, or didn't do enough to keep him in the family. Maybe they are right, in some ways. Still, how much should it cost? How much change should it take? The yard has successfully held Dixie for 7 years, with only a couple of escapes, easily mended. She was not going out with Lee. He went from going through a pretty rotten fence to being actively destructive to make his way out. Where do you stop the escalation? How much of a cage do you have to subject him to? As you can tell, I'm still conflicted. I feel bad, and sad, even though I think Carl did the right thing. Maybe, just maybe, writing will help me come to grips a little better.