Letting Go

athletic-looking fellow in mid air, going from one trapeze to the nextInherent in being a puppy raiser is the aspect of letting go. We sign up, knowing that we are going to have to let these puppies go one day. We just hope that ultimately, our letting them go will result in great things, changing someone's life for the better.

But heck, life is all about letting go. As parents, we let go of our children over and over again, as they enter kindergarten and college, get married, or move to another state. We let go of possessions, jobs, even friends. If we didn't ever let go, we'd be immature, stagnant, bored, unbalanced.

Yesterday, as I wrote about Cabana's career change and the difficult decision we'd be making, I felt a little like a trapeze artist, knowing I had some letting go to do. I was hanging on to the bar, knowing I had to let go and freefall for a little while, before catching the next bar. The next bar might be keeping Cabana as a pet, placing Cabana with another family, raising another puppy, or some combination of those things.

What a tremendous blessing to have 30+ friends there to support me during that freefall. All your comments were filled with heartfelt compassion, personal experience, and sage advice. I appreciated each and every word. What an amazing community of puppy raisers and dog lovers we have here.

We got home from our trip this evening, and I will be picking Cabana up from the puppy sitter's tomorrow morning first thing. I'm so grateful that all of this happened over the Thanksgiving break. My husband, daughters and I had four uninterrupted days together, plus 12+ hours driving in the car, to hash all of the options out. We talked about it a LOT, and that was extremely beneficial. I think it also helped to not have Cabana there, since she might have made us less objective (either by being too cute or too distracting).

Although we have pretty much made a decision, in case something crucial changes in my discussion with our puppy group leader (who I haven't been able to talk with since we got back), I'll wait until I've talked to her to make the decision public. Sorry for the big build-up! But I will say that everyone's comments made such an impact. It was extremely helpful to have such great input and to learn from the experiences of others. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Martha G  – (November 28, 2009 at 8:47 PM)  

I was holding my breath there for a minute. I'm glad you got a chance to discuss the situation with family on a vacation. I'm sure we'll all support your decision whatever you decide to do and I hope some weight has lifted from making a decision.

Ro  – (November 28, 2009 at 8:58 PM)  

*hugs*

I'm really glad you posted how many comments you got, because I was amazed and touched at how many responses came pouring into my email from subscribing to to comments. I know whatever you decided will be the right one, and I know we haven't heard the last of you.

Keep on keepin on, and I look forward to continue reading, no matter what you write about!

Elizabeth and Peyton  – (November 28, 2009 at 9:32 PM)  

No matter what you decide, we're here for you! I've walked in your shoes before, let me just say that. :)

OSU 98  – (November 29, 2009 at 9:32 AM)  

I am confident you will make the decision that is best for your family. My hope is that while you love Cabana dearly, you let her go and give puppy raising another try. Cabana's energy seems off the charts - which is typcial for a lab her age - no doubt, it sounds like she would have been a challenege for any experienced puppy raiser and any experienced lab owner in general.

People often classify lab puppies as "hyper" - I truly believe that really means they are not committed to the lifestyle necessary to have this type of breed. While labs eventually settle down to be wonderful family members, the early years of a lab's life are loaded with extreme energy and exuberance, as I am sure you have learned firsthand! I like to say that at nearly 8 years old, Chelsie is 60 lbs of pure exuberance. Committment to proper disposition of lab energy is a requirement for this breed. And while you have done everything GDB has told you, tried to dispel her energy, get her mind off other dogs - I hope you realize she is just a baby, barely a year old...a puppy, Mimi, a baby puppy. Chelsie's rehab specialist made a comment the other day that made me laugh out loud in all of this...

"Somewhere along the way, labbies tend to miss adulthood. They go from pediatric to geriatric"

It sounds like Cabana would be a wonderful companion for someone with a very busy, outdoorsy lifestyle - maybe someone who hikes for hours and miles at a time. If you decide to keep Cabana, I would highly, highly recommend doggie day care one day a week - she would go ape. Other dogs she can freely play with and then sleep for the next day and a half from exhaustion. When I was working in public accounting, Chelsie went three times a day - I had one that was wonderful very nearby and Chelsie LOVED it.

Best of luck to you - as far as being too hard on yourself, well, I get that. What it really gets down to a control issue - like me, I am guessing you like to be in complete control of everything around you, particularly when it comes to things you feel you should be able to control (ie, Cabana's behavior) One day, you will have a dog that graduates...and then, everything you have been through...it will all be worth it. You will come to appreciate the challeneges and sacrifices, and will be rewarded by giving someone the gift of a lifetime. :)

Tabatha and Oscar  – (November 29, 2009 at 10:33 AM)  

I wish the very best with your decision. I am looking forward to see what you ultimately decide. I am so impressed with how much time and thought that you are putting into your decision. It is so easy to just make a quick decision, but it shows your love and compassion for Cabana that you are taking the time that you are.

Sierra Rose  – (November 29, 2009 at 6:13 PM)  

We wish you the very best. These decisions are always tough. With our puppy, Sierra Rose, she is with us forever, but going through that hyper, curious, and fiesty stage....and I keep getting people telling me to be prepared for the next few years! Good grief! I am doing general obedience with her everyday, and going to classes 1-2 times a week....whew! Gotta love them, but it can also be really tough. And, we can't let down our guard.
So glad your family can discuss the situation and decide as a unit, what you feel most comfortable doing.
Blessings!

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose'a mom

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