Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ode to Bjorn

Feeling pretty lousy today. Doug and I decided to finally give Bjorn back to the breeder, after a long struggle to correct his increasingly aggressive behavior. I think he needs to live with a pack again and be with someone who can afford to retrain him, pay for the surgery he needs to fix his liver shunt and possibly find him a new home. I'm trying to convince myself that I did the best I could but am still horrified at how badly things went wrong with him. He's started to make Anton cry with his outbursts and I'm exhausted by the tension and fear in our house. I feel like a failure.

We will deliver Bjorn on Saturday afternoon. I am not looking forward to it. This is agony. And I feel so silly for crying so hard. But Bjorn was my first child, we got after we lost our own first child. So this is really painful. I miss him already. I won't miss the tension he's caused, but I'll miss all the good stuff. The cuddles and licks and games of fetch and lap time and sharing him with so many people who smiled by just looking at him.

My sweet furry puppy.
My monkey mouse.
My little muffin tin.
My little sample size of spray starch.
My little hello kitty wrist watch.
My little pile of fabric scraps.
My little assortment of cheese cubes.
My little tray of bite sized cucumber sandwiches.
My little vintage thimble.
My little shot of whisky.
My little cube of sugar.
My little dash of Splenda.
My little flask of gin.
My little night light.
My puppy mouse.
Bjorn Mouse.
Monkey Mouse.

I love you.

PS: Someday I will get a female Eskie and name her Inga.


Leigh Anna said...

Anne, I am Chris's wife...I have been reading your blog for a while. This one really touched me. I just wanted you to know how sorry I am that it worked out this way... Chris and I had a somewhat similar situation with a previous dog and it sucked. I cried a lot and we only had him a few days. I can't imagine how hard of a decision this was. I'm sorry...

Anne Elser said...

Thanks for saying all that leigh anna. I'd like to imagine feeling relieved when he's gone, other than missing him. Being compassionate comes with a price, doesn't it?

Tell me more about your situation with the other dog?

PS: Your husband is a rock star. Hard worker, flexible, talented and humble about all of it.

Anonymous said...

Your perserverance with, and love for, Bjorn are to be admired. So is your ability to make the tough choices. I know this isn't how you thought things would turn out and I am so sorry. We've got your back in the AUG and if you ever need to some canine theray, I love being scratched behind the ears. It makes my leg wiggle.

Nancy said...

Anne and Doug,
I am so sorry. We have been witness to how diligent you were to transform your home and habits to give Bjorn a chance to function in a family all the while keeping Anton safe. I am sad that nothing was enough.
While you grieve maybe you'll find instant comfort in watching Anton as Bjorn's counterpart. Both will be learning new tasks, spending all energy til they flop in a delicious nap.
Missing a dog is just awful. No way around it. There is so much to miss.
I am sorry.

Leigh Anna said...

Anne, you're sweet...I think he is pretty great too!

We adopted a boxer mix from a shelter. He was so sweet...after about 3 days with us, he started getting very territorial with our neighbors. We were hoping it would be manageable but after he almost attacked the neighbor's 7 year old, we knew we couldn't keep him. It was so hard, having to take him back, we knew we had to tell them why and we knew what they would do with him. We were so depressed that we went and got Max that very evening. I hate it that it had to happen that way but I couldn't imagine life without Max now. He fits us perfectly.

I am glad you have somewhere you can take him where he will be taken good care of. I'll be sending happy thoughts your way the rest of the week...

Anonymous said...

Sweet Anne, You know how I feel about dogs! My heart goes out to you as you part with Bjorn. I'm so glad you have Vida to love him. I've wanted to meet the little guy ever since I began reading your blog & enjoying your tenderness & joy at having him. I lost my last cocker, Lily (Winnie's gr-gr-grandaughter) just after I had adopted a Rescue English setter, Bella. Bella has helped ease me through that difficult process. I wish you Anton joy, Doug love & humor, & Gunther stretches. You are in my thoughts & prayers.

minus five said...

this kind of thing blows. no way around it. maybe my story will help you feel a little better as time goes on:

i adopted mildred during my last year of pc. she was only 7 weeks old when i brought her home from the humane society. they said her mom was a hound mix, but they didn't know what the dad was, so they guessed that she would go to be 20-25 pounds. she ended up at a comfortable 72.

i didn't realize how many twists and turns my life would take after school and i would have never thought i would have ended up in ny. there's just no way you can plan for every single thing that might or might not happen in life, so you make the best decisions you know to make at the time.

after pc and after six months at my dad's house, i took a job in dallas. less than five months later, i had gotten so stressed and so upset and so freaked out about work and settling down in my home state that i made the decision to move up to ny.

mildred had gotten sick too. she was so sad all the time and she had tear marks on her face every day and bags under her eyes like she wasn't sleeping. she started having accidents all the time and she would shake like she was scared and nervous. a friend of mine was staying with me and was even home while i was at work, but she said mildred would lay down in front of the door when i left and not move until i got back. she wanted to be with me nonstop. like something bad would happen if she left me alone.

i couldn't stand it. i was a wreck myself, but to think i couldn't even make a dog happy was a little much. i took her to the dog park every day and she would run for hours chasing birds. i was in a 1200 sq. foot loft, so it's not like she didn't have plenty of space inside. she just loved being outdoors.

i would cry to her almost every night and say how sorry i was that she ended up with me and how she would have been better off with somebody else and i would tell her how much i loved her and how i wished i could give her all the things she wanted and needed.

when i decided to move to ny, i knew i wouldn't be able to take her. not so much because of her size or even because it would make apartment hunting difficult or because she would cost too much money. i knew she couldn't come because she wouldn't be happy. i knew she would hate the city and that there wouldn't be any yards for her to run in or anything besides dirty pigeons to chase. i knew she would only get stressed even more and that she would be so sad. which would make me feel even worse than i already did for adopting this dog when i thought i could care for her.

i arranged for her to stay with a family until my mom ended up taking her a few months later. i drove her from dallas up to missouri to leave her with the family and it was one of the hardest things i've ever done. i could hardly even tell her goodbye. i was crying and crying and i cried all the way back home. nobody could even mention her name or say anything about dogs around me for a long time after that because i would start crying. i felt like a failure. like a really bad person.

over time, it got easier and i think about her now and am so happy she's in a better place. she loves it out in florida with my mom. my mom and her dude couldn't be happier to have her around. it's amazing how much they love her. she's on a 500 acre horse farm with other animals and a bff doberman neighbor named duke. she even has a bff baby deer and a miniature horse. she can run anywhere she wants and she's taken it upon herself to guard the house from raccoons and squirrels and trespassers.

she's in such a better place. it's perfect. she never belonged in a city or even in a backyard. she needed a place where she was free to go wherever she wanted and where someone was around to pay attention to her during the day and night.

i felt bad for a long time. sometimes i still do, but not very much. i think it will be a long time if ever that i get another dog because i don't ever want to go through that again. sometimes though, you have to make those kinds of tough calls. it's the closest i've ever come to giving away a baby, which made me able to empathize a little more with moms who give up their kids for adoption. to admit somebody else is better equipped to handle something of your own is really, really hard. but i also think it's very smart. and very wish. and selfless.

i'm sorry you have to go through this. i know it's hard. i know it's really hard. i promise you it will get easier. try to know in some part of you that you're doing the right thing and that he's going to be in a place that's even better for him.

Mary Campbell said...

I am so sorry...you know how much I love my little furry babies. You are allowed to cry for as long and as hard as you need to...there is nothing worse than having to make DIFFICULT, painful, albeit "the right" decisions. I'll send Red, Fox and Pfeiffer out for housecalls if you need them.

dani said...

Awe Anne... I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I know how much you love Bjorn (as we ALL did :) I know it was a very hard decision, and sometimes it's so much harder to do what you know is the right thing... I'm thinking about you all, and sending lots of hugs!