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Saying good bye to two old friends is hard to do!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

As we are getting ready to move in June, we have been trying to lighten the load. We have had a lot of trips to Salvation Army to donate goods we don't need any more and lots of bags of baby/kids clothes to families with smaller kids than ours who needed them. While most of what we have parted with has been easy to say good bye to, two things that have been with us for a long time have been harder let go of:

Our dog, Lacey, and our '76 VW bus.

Lacey is an 11 year old rottweiler puppy who Jill got when she was stationed in Alaska. She is a bit of a goofball, but she is very sweet. She is good with the kids and loves attention, walks, runs, bikes, hikes, and riding in the car.

We are moving to the army post at West Point, NY. About 4 years ago, the Department of Defense enacted a broad breed specific ban on all military facilities that targeted rottys, dobermans, pit bulls, chows, akitas, and wolf-hybrids. We have not been directly affected by the ban while I was in grad school, but we are now that we are moving to WP. Personally, the breed ban is a bad policy. Lacey is a strong dog, but is well trained and has never shown aggression towards people (squirrels and rabbits on the other hand...). My mom had a dachshund that was vicious, it bit at least 10 people. And it wasn't "just a nip" either, that dog left bruises and sometimes drew blood.

Here she is with Paul at Ft Hood, TX (before the ban):

Here she is in her Halloween costume (also the best view of her serious underbite, her teeth won't even fit in her mouth):

Here she is playing in the snow in the yard:

Here she is playing with her favorite toy (and the only one she hasn't managed to chew to bits):

When I ran the Lincoln, NE marathon in 2008, she was my training partner on many of my runs through the winter. She happily ran with me as we built up our long runs from 5 miles to 18+ plus miles. As long as it was cold, she was happy to trot along with me. Once it warmed up, she topped out about 2-3 miles. While in MA, a group of us met for regular weekly mountain biking and she got to come along on many of those. We would normally ride for 1 - 1.5 hours and she would trot along on my back tire the whole time. She was usually better at keeping up than some of the slower riders! She is starting to get some arthritis in her back end and so hasn't been running or biking recently, just shorter hikes and walks.

We found a really nice family living in a rural area just north of here. They fell in love with her when they met her. We brought her over last week to see if it would work out. Heidi, our oldest at 6 going on 7, was crying so hard on the way to their house, it was enough to break your heart. She did better after she met the family. Paul, 4 going on 5, is far less sentimental. He asked "When Lacey is gone, can we get a cat?" Elizabeth is only 2 and a half. Usually I get up early and have a cup of coffee and check email/spark/news on the laptop on the couch with Lacey curled up besides me. When Elizabeth gets up, she will come sit on the couch and give me and Lacey snuggles. The last few days she has come out and asked "Where's Lacey?"

Letting her go was a very difficult decision for us. We are glad that we were able to find a good family for her and hope that she has a few good years with them (while she is old for a big dog, she is petite for a rotty at 65 pounds and is very healthy). I have been over and over it. While I wish we were not put in this position, we were and I think we did the right thing even if it was painful. We will eventually get another pet, probably a dog, but not in the immediate future.

I know that there are a lot of dog lovers on SP and among my SparkFriends. I know that some people may take issue with our decision. If you disagree with what we did, I ask that you either hold your judgment or express it privately.

The other old friend is the '76 VW camper bus. Jill bought it out near Tacoma, WA. We used it more for driving and camping when we had a smaller family. It only seats/sleeps 4 so it no longer fits our family. While it is in good shape overall, it really needs some more driving and some more attention to the little things. We just haven't been driving it, and haven't been able to attend to the little things that need to be fixed, mended, and kept up with.

We put a for sale sign in the window a month ago and have had a lot of calls and looky-loos who thought it would be so cool to drive it around. Or, "I just need to talk to my wife", that was a popular one! Well, we finally found the right person. After a test drive, he was hooked and gave us earnest money to hold it and came back today with the full payment and to bring it to a mechanic to verify its mechanical condition.

We had a lot of fun with it and someday we may kick ourselves for selling it, but it really is time to let it go! Here are a few more pictures of it. Here is Heidi sitting on the spare tire:

And here is a camping trip we took on the drive from NY to KS a few moves ago:

Well that's it for today. A bit on the long side, but there you go.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    A little late with my comment, sorry for that. I can't imagine how hard that was for you to let go of your beloved Lacey after such a long relationship. Thank God for the family who has adopted her. I'm so glad you were able to find a loving family for her.
    We have adopted our last 4 Boston Terriers. With some diligence and patience one can adopt a dog of specific breed, often with pedigree. Don't expect them to give you a dog, though. The process, in Florida anyway, can be almost as costly as purchasing a pedigreed dog.
    Take care, Vic
    1750 days ago
    Wow, this is so sad. I'm sorry that your family has to give up their beloved doggie. Seems so crazy. I am very glad that you found a family that would take her at the age she is, you got very lucky there. I hope that your daughter is okay. Someday she will understand. Sometimes life gives us very hard decisions that bring pain with them. Give your little girl a hug for me and here's one for you. emoticon
    1753 days ago
    Echoing another post, but I am thankful that you found a loving home for your sweet Lacey. Not everyone would do that. Good luck on your move!!
    1755 days ago
    I understand that they were hard decisions to make. Especially the one about the dog. I have 2 dogs and I know how hard it would be for me to be forced to leave them. But I'm sure they are a great family and you can go visit her, right?

    PS. I love your SparkPage background!
    1755 days ago
    1755 days ago
  • JESSIKA_56
    Sorry you had to say goodbye to your puppy! I work at a vet clinic, and can honestly say that I've met more little dogs that were vicious than the big breeds that you listed. It's all about how you raise and train your pet as an owner. But on the flip side, I can see why they do a broad ban so that they cover their bases... In any case, it's always hard to say goodbye.
    1755 days ago
  • TANYA602
    Thank goodness for good adoptive families! What hard decisions you've had to make in this past year. Wow. I'll tell you, my husband would've convinced me to pick up both the van and the dog. He's been looking for a VW Van and she sure is a beaut!
    I'm singing the "Happy Trails" song to try to keep a dry eye. It's not working. Yet, I'm so excited for your new adventures!

    1755 days ago
    I am sorry you have to leave your dog but I think you did the best thing possible for found her another loving home and family. I don't see how anyone can take exception to that, especially when so many people drop unwanted pets at a shelter, where many are killed, or just abandon them outside when they move. One of my cats is a rescued "found" cat and I suspect his first family just left him behind outside when they left. At least Lacey is cared for still.
    1755 days ago
    I'm so sorry you had to part with your sweet pet over stupid rules. My daughter had pit bull that was actually the sweetest thing. He died a year ago, at 5 years old after being attacked by some other dogs when he climbed (yes climbed) over the chain link fence. Another breed that has a bad rep based on how mean people train dogs to do bad things. The dog just wants to please his master and doesn't understand what he is taught is wrong. I'm so glad you found a good home for her. The pics are so precious. I knew a lady who had a really really mean Chihuahua but I never hear of those being banned. And sorry you had to part with the VW bus too. So many wonderful memories it sounds like were wrapped up in it.
    1755 days ago
    That's terrible that you have to part with your dog. Being in the military for 26 years, I became accustomed with having to part with things. I never would have thought, however, that they would ban breeds of dogs. That is a very BAD policy. I'm glad you found a good home for her.
    1756 days ago
    I cried reading this. I'm so sorry you had to make that decision. It's too bad that bad dog owners have given certain dogs bad reputations.

    I'm glad you found a good home for her. I hope the rest of your transition will be smooth sailing!
    1756 days ago
    So sorry you had to let go of one of your family members. I think it is sooo wrong to make a family give up a pet based on a silly concept. If she had agressive tendencies - I could see it, but really. Hopefully her new family will share news & pictures of her.

    1756 days ago
    You've had to make a tough decision. Thank you for finding a home for Lacey and not putting here in a shelter. Good luck with the move.
    1756 days ago
    So sorry you had to find a new family for your dog, but glad you found one that's a good fit! Darned shame about the breed ban - I agree with you on that!
    1756 days ago
    No judgement here! How heartbreaking for you. You did right by her!

    I wish I had that bus, LOL.
    1756 days ago
    Wishing you all the best. Sometimes life is hard. We all do the best we know to do. Hoping everything works out well for you, your family, and Lacey. -Marsha
    1756 days ago
    I meant to add soemthing - the guy who bought the bus had a funny story. He was telling his friends at work about the bus and showing them some pictures. One of them quipped something along the lines of "Wow, I think I just witnessed a mid life crisis!"
    1756 days ago
  • LEWILL1982
    I am a dog lover, I totally understand, I was tearing up reading this but bet wishes to you and your family and to Lacey with her new family! Loved the bus too, looks like fun!
    1756 days ago
    Lacey must be very well trained if she would pose in that costume without a human keeping her in place.
    1756 days ago
    They won't allow rottweilers? They are the best pets! Ah that's a shame. And sorry about your VW bus. Bummer. I don't envy your moving, but good luck in the future!
    1756 days ago
    I'm so sorry to hear that you have to part with your family pet emoticon It really is a shame that "bully" breeds get such a bad reputation due to people teaching them to be violent and the media sensationalizing dog attacks. I hope you and your family can at least have good feeling about her new home, which sounds perfect for her. As for your other beloved, I would also have a very hard time parting with it. My brother had one for awhile (80s, but still cool) and we really liked getting to use it. At least you know that it too has gone to a loving home :)
    1756 days ago
    What a beautiful rott. Yes, they do get bad raps. We had a 3 year old rott when my (now 16) daughter was born. The poor thing had to deal with her crawling all over her, pulling her ears and basically abusing her. We have a great pic of my daughter sitting atop of her after stealing her dog bone and then putting it in her mouth. She was the most gentle dog I have ever owned. And wouldn't you know that of my 5 dogs - our new rott is the biggest yet most gentle of them all. Good luck on your move.
    1756 days ago
    I'm emoticon you had to say goodbye to Lacey...:::that's tough on the family. Perhaps somewhere down the road ...there will be another family pet.
    Gotta luv the 76 VW! Some new owner is lucky! emoticon
    1756 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/1/2013 1:23:56 AM
    I'm sorry about your dog. My daughter & family had a rottweiler. Maggie had a sweet disposition too. Unfortunately rules like that happen when too many people purposefully use (and train) dogs of a specific breed for "protection" or worse. Then the innocent (animals and owners) pay the consequences. I'm glad you found a good home for her.

    I remember when those buses were common on our highways. We visited the VW museum in Wolfsburg, Germany last year. An amazing collection!
    1756 days ago
    So glad you found a home for Lacey! I can understand how difficult that must have been. If my DSIL knew about it, he'd want to take her - but we already have 2 boxers he rescued, and one more big dog would crowd us out!

    Blessings to you on ALL your journeys, including a healthy lifestyle.
    1756 days ago
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