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March 15, 2009

I am devastated to report we have decided NOT to adopt
Katie, the beautiful, sweet, amazing Borzoi who has become Lilly’s best, best
friend over the last year. After several weeks of overcoming many dog-dog
obstacles, about which I am endlessly proud of all three dogs, the final
decision rests in my own human failings … as so many outcomes for pets do.

It comes down to this: Three dogs in the house, especially
two of them quite large, and one firmly in an extended puppyhood/adolescence, feels
like too much for me to handle.

Through my tears, which flooded and waned each day as we got
closer to a final decision, I realized several kinks in my heart and mind
nearly led me down the wrong path for us and for Katie.

1. I mistook proximity for fate.

What are the chances Katie would be the ONE dog Lilly is not
afraid of, that she’d live just 2 houses up the road, and that she’d need a new

2. I ignored my motto: “You either know or you don’t.”
The fact that this has been such a rollercoaster for me
should have been a major red flag. In the important decisions in life, my path
has always seemed pretty clear. Very often, I simply know.

3. I let Katie’s potential for healing Lilly’s fears outweigh Katie’s
own unique needs.

Lilly is the most significant canine relationship I have
ever had. PERIOD. So, projecting into the future about what Katie’s great
dog-dog skills might do for Lilly breathed life into the adoption agenda. Katie
as therapy for Lilly felt like an amazing opportunity.

But, it is simply not fair to Katie. She is her own amazing
soul, not a training tool.

While I am thrilled to have access to her as a friend for
regular play dates and visits, it is not a good reason to adopt.

4. I got swept up in the power of how much she adores us and

Katie regularly stands on her hind legs, wraps her front
paws around our necks and leans her needle nose into our chests to hug. It is
seriously sweet, and it is NOT something she does with just anyone.

And, clearly, she adores Lilly and vice versa. You should
see the way they look at one another. It is just about the happiest I have ever
seen either one. That toy-sharing example from the other day tells volumes.

It is compelling, but it eclipsed what logistically felt
like the right thing for our family, right now. Seriously, we’ve always had TWO
dogs for some very strategic reasons.

5. I got caught up in the emotion and excitement of something
“new,” as a way of distracting myself from other worries.

I let myself get enamored with the idea of something “new,” as
a powerful distraction, which meant letting some important things slide in the
process, and overshadowed considerations over what’s best for all involved.


The bottom line is that we want Katie to have a good home.
We never believed we were the ONLY ones who could give her one, but we hoped we
could. It’s hard to admit that we won’t. However, I would rather NOT adopt and
maybe regret it occasionally … than adopt and ever feel or make her feel like
it was a mistake.

She truly is an incredible dog. She deserves a life that
centers on her individual happiness.

It breaks my heart I could not make it work.

Thanks to everyone who provided insights, advice, and support as we explored this option and came to our decision.


Yet, when Tom (the generous soul he is) delivered the final
decision on Saturday (since I’d been home bawling), Katie’s family helped ease
our remorse with the news that they may keep her after all.
Seeing how happy
she is with other dogs around gave them hope that a playmate at home might help
resolve things.

So, until Katie’s future is decided, wherever and whenever
that may be, we will continue having her over for visits since the dogs have
gotten very used to spending the afternoons together. With spring-like weather
coming early, it’s easy for us to let them hang out outside, where the extra
space of our acres makes managing them MUCH easier.


I have some interesting Lilly training notes to share in the
coming days, from her time with Katie in recent weeks. So, stay tuned.

About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

  1. Hi Rox,
    I’m so sorry that things didn’t work out more smoothly with Katie, but I’m thrilled to hear that her family may end up keeping her and hopefully finding a way to make her more comfortable there. It’s a pretty great situation for everyone involved if Katie gets to come over and play and hang out with everyone. And how wonderful that now Gingko is part of the play sessions! This adventure has opened up doors for everyone it sounds like, don’t you think? 🙂
    Hugs to everyone and please keep posting videos of the fearsome threesome when they romp together!

  2. Honestly, I think you made a good decision. It sounded like the situation was overwhelming for all involved, especially for both you and Katie. Three dogs that get along well and are comfortable in their house is already a lot to handle for 2 busy working people (of course I’m speaking from experience). But having so many dogs with their own special needs and issues that don’t get along and trying to balance that with full time jobs sounds flat out exhausting.

    Hopefully Katie will work out in her current home and if not I’m sure there’s a good home for her somewhere.

  3. I’m sorry that you had to make such a hard decision. But, if she does stay with her family and can play with Lilly regularly, that would be great! And, as you said, perhaps Katie has been the opening to show you that Lilly can make friend with other dogs also.

  4. Aw, I’m sorry. I know how much you wanted everything to work out, and how much effort you have put into all this, but it sounds like you know in your heart that this is the right decision for your family. I really hope that things work out for Katie to be able to stay with her current family and continue to come for play dates – how cool would that be?

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