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Advice Needed on a Personal Matter

on 10 September 2013 at 01:49:24 MDT

Alright guys here I go, a little glimpse into my life and my current personal debate. Those of you that have heard this all before (coughcoughIzziecough) can skip to the end if they'd like.

A little back story... well a LOT of back story is needed so here I go. So I have a dog, Xambee, that will be turning 6 in November. When we moved to Arizona, I naturally brought her with us, after all she was my dog. Well when we would get ready to leave, for work or whatever we needed to do, she would see us getting ready, jump up on the bed, crouch down (and no not lay down, she crouched with her belly not touching the bed), and pant profusely. Until that time that we did indeed have to walk out the door, and to prevent her from barking constantly, we put her in her crate. When we returned she was still panting, and there would be drool on the bottom of the crate from the non-stop panting she had done while we were away.

Every time we left this happened without fail, and due to not having the time to work her through her anxiety and the total heartbreak I felt ever time I had to leave the apartment, we decided to take her back to Utah to live with my mom and step-dad, and more importantly her canine companion Radah. See in Utah she didn't have this anxiety, not at all. Sure when we left she'd follow us to the door, but nothing anywhere as extreme as what we experienced in Arizona. The reason for this, at least from what I can deduce, is her beloved companion, Radah.

So, onwards to -part- of the dilemma. We will be moving home soon, to the same house Xambee is in, but with high hopes of moving into our own place shortly after. When we move out, we will be taking Xambee, because I really can't stand being without her any longer. We won't be taking Radah, he is very much my mom and step-dad's dog, and frankly, I don't want him. So the reasonable solution then would be to get another dog.

Since that decision was made I've been in nearly constant thought and debate what kind of dog we should acquire, what age, sex, breed. Should we adopt or find a puppy, should it be purebred or mixed? You know, all sort of things of this manner. All I've decided on for sure is that it should be a big dog, I'd kind of prefer a boy (boy and girl pairs tend to get along better) annnndddd.. that's about it really. I've tossed around a few breed ideas, but I don't know what energy level we'd like, whether we'd like a more calm relaxed breed, or one that is higher energy so we would HAVE to take it for walks and be more active(something both of us would like to do). Then if I pick a purebred I'm just supporting an industry that's based on money, instead of giving an abandoned dog the home it deserves.

Well here comes the true debate, the issue... no issue is the wrong word, the opportunity I've been presented with and the question as to how I should handle it. Jumping back a bit, to when we lived in Utah and I was employed at PetSmart. My trainer (the dog trainer that worked at the store) had 3 dogs, a Golden Retriever, a Lab mix, and a Border Collie/German Shepherd mix. The latter two she had adopted as puppies and raised(and trained!) them herself. All three dogs utterly fantastic, brilliant animals. The third however, Heidi, had some major anxiety issues, due to a traumatic experience at the store when she was still young. She wasn't(isn't) aggressive, she just is very weary around people she doesn't know, especially children. I got to know this dog, and from the day I met her, I fell completely in love. She was shy around me, but once the store was closed and I had the chance to let her come up and investigate me on her own terms she accepted I wasn't going to hurt her. From then on I asked the trainer constant questions about her, about her past and her training, about her anxiety and what tricks helped her cope. She was fabulously trained, and was fantastic around other dogs, she was just weary and scared of people.

And back to the present! Come to find out that my trainer has since given Heidi up to an adoption agency back home, and the moment I found out I felt sick to my stomach. This is the dog that lost 15 lbs. in a week when my trainer left on vacation, and she surrendered her to an adoption agency. I could only imagine the fear and confusion this poor dog was going through. So, I called my mom and talked to her, who talked to my step dad, and I got the OK to adopt her when I got home.... Then my mind kicked into high gear. Yes, this dog is highly trained. Yes, this dog is great with other dogs. Yes, this dog knows who you are (vaguely) and would probably adjust to your ownership easier then a complete stranger. BUT. She has crazy anxiety issues that a PROFESSIONAL trainer coped with for months without curing. She has an unlimited amount of energy that I'd have to find an outlet for. She's also incredibly smart so I'd have to find a intellectual outlet. On top of this I have a dog already, I'd prefer to be getting a dog that would bond with my boyfriend more than me, and I'm just not sure she would. And the lasting thought, the one that really gave me that anxious feeling in my stomach... Would she -ever- love me as much as she loved the trainer that let her go?

This was all about a month to two months ago, and at the time I decided to let the idea go, that she'd probably find a good home before I was even able to to see her. Now though, as the time for us to go back to Utah grows shorter the debate has re-entered my mind, and I can't stop thinking about her. About how as soon as my trainer even told me about her my mind was instantly curious, and I couldn't learn enough. About how when I met her I felt this tinge in my heart that I couldn't really explain. I felt a bond with her, and I was crushed she was so weary of me because she only saw me maybe a few days out of the month, and even then only for maybe an hour at most.

So my thoughts at this point, completely torn between my mind and my mind, one loving and optimistic, the other paranoid to hell and the ultimate pessimist, is this. One : call the agency and see if she's even there (I haven't seen any pictures of her in the "adoptable dogs" but she does have anxiety around new people so she may not be "adoptable" yet.) Two : See if I'd be able to foster her. That was I can see how she works in our particular situation, and if I can handle her anxious behaviors without a permanent commitment. What are everyone's thoughts? And if you think I should let her find another owner, what breed do you think I should look for? Puppy or adult? Adopt or buy? I need help!

Thank you for reading, I know it was a long one!


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