I'm feeling sick to my stomach tonight. I don't know if it was something I ate, or if I've got a little flu-bug, or what. But I was in class today and thought I was going to vom all over the floor, in front of my students. That would have been a memory they didn't get from their other classes.
I'm feeling even worse now because we've made the heart-wrenching decision that it's time to find Burley another home. Burley, who has been our dog, and friend, and protector, and walking partner ever since 9/11, when I saw Charlie Gibson on Good Morning America playing with puppies and talking about how having pets can help with mild depression. That afternoon I found Burley's picture on the Dumb Friends League website and Eric and I rushed out to adopt him. I still remember how flushed and happy I felt when I picked puppy Burley up and he rested his chin on my shoulder. He was the first dog I ever had, and he was our baby.
But since then, we've had two other babies--human ones--and Burley has had a tough time adjusting. When Addie was first learning to crawl, she grabbed Burley's fur a few times, and he gave her hand some good nips. We called in a trainer and did our best to keep Addie a way from him, but still felt worried. What if he bit her badly? What if, God forbid, he bit her in the face?
Then Nolie came into the picture, and our space seemed to get a little smaller. Burley would want to lay down in between the two girls playing on the floor. If one grabbed his fur or even brushed up against him, he would growl and snap at them. Last week, he jumped over Addie and scratched her in the face. Tonight he lunged after Nolie's hand.
He hasn't hurt either one. No skin has been broken. He is sweet and friendly with adults, and is not an aggressive dog. But Eric and I looked at each other tonight, after Burley tried to bite Nolie, and knew it was probably time to put Burley in a safer environment, one without kids. He's a great dog. He loves people and is incredibly personable and loyal. He's just not a good kid dog.
So, now we begin the sad process of trying to find Burley a good home, where he will be loved as much as we have loved him. And we deal with the guilt of saying goodbye to our dog; we promised to take care of him when we adopted him, but he now has to take a backseat to the safety of our kids. I feel low. Lower than low. But also sure that this is what we need to do.