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.