Hello, internet. I've been trying to think of how to say and deal with this, so I'll just come out with it.
Boston is not much of a dog-friendly town. San Francisco, you can bring your dog into the bar, the record store, the bookstore, hell, there's dog bowls out everywhere you go. Boston basically has a big sign on it that says NO DOGS ALLOWED. Stella has wicked arthritis from her surgery. Boston is cold, in case you haven't been following along. I talked with her vet, and he spoke plain crazy truth: "you want to take a large, arthritic, barky animal to a city like that?"
Right. She would be miserable. I would be miserable. And yet...
I've spent nearly every day of two years with Stella since I rescued her from Animal Control. I know what face she makes when she's SO HAPPY to be walking, how she carries herself when she's about to explode off to chase another dog. She's my girl, even when she gives me that
look of "lady, don't you even try to pet me right now" and saunters off to see what else more interesting could be going on.
There were also times that her behavior has been so bad that I have wanted to give her to the nearest homeless person and run away. When she had her surgery and would simply pee on my bed or wherever she was laying, when she chewed up everything in my room, when she required lifting up and down stairs for three weeks and couldn't run and play for months...well, I tell you, I nigh about cracked. I felt sorry for myself for having to take care of an injured dog, and then felt even worse that she was the sick one, and what was I doing with this self-pity-party. If it hadn't been for all yall, I don't know what I would have done.
If I look too closely at my motives for not taking Stella with me, I see some demons mirrored back plain as day. I see selfishness for not being able to continue a responsibility to this animal who I promised to take care of for the rest of her life. I see incredible guilt for placing my happiness above her happiness. I see irresponsiblity. I see it all, and I know it's not productive to get down on myself this way, but I do. And yet it doesn't stop me from making the choice that I think is best for both of us.
I see all that and more: she is my best friend, and while my human best friends understand my motives, she doesn't, and she will forget for the most part, like dogs do. I mean, cmon, she forgets that I've left the house for five minutes and greets me like it's been five years. I know her new people are delighted and wonderful and ready to have a dog. I know when I see her napping under Jay's desk that she is happy and will continue to be so. I know I can hang out with her again. We'll all still be at Six Apart. I know all these things.
And still, my heart is still breaking into a zillion pieces, thinking that soon she won't be on the other side of the door, waiting and wagging. My little girl.