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Restless Farewell

Take it easy, good buddy

Friday night was Digby's last night with us. On Saturday I packed him up with all his stuff and drove him through beautiful New Jersey to a suburb of Philadelphia, where he hitched a ride to greener pastures in Wisconsin. He is going to a place that must seem like heaven after living with us for the last few years—a quiet house in the woods, an armchair of his own, twice-a-day walks through town and country, and someone to cozy up with at night. Still, it was a decision that took us a long time to reach.

Over the course of the last seven years, we have tried everything with Digby. We have been through two trainers, obedience classes, two kennels, special collars, air horns, marrow bones, peanut-butter filled Kongs, and the Dog Whisperer book and season one DVD. We have tried to change him to fit our family and change ourselves to fit him but neither side could do it. Digby is a dog that requires a lot of exercise and attention, is indifferent at best toward children and an echo chamber for the stress in his environment; we are a family of five with barely enough time for each other, including a toddler that likes to harass the people and animals around him, living in a house often filled with shrieking, crying and various child-related catastrophes.

Over the course of our lives, we became incompatible with Digby and that was a difficult truth to accept. I felt like we would be letting him down, reneging on our commitment, but ultimately I realized that we weren't doing either side any favors by trying to power through the tough times. He was stressed out and unhappy, which made us even more frustrated with him, and the kids had almost no bond with him at all. So he's in a better place now, where we can visit him once in a while, and hopefully the distance will restore some fondness to all of our hearts.

Farewell for now, old friend. I hope you're happier in your new life than in the one you had with us.


Lincoln--I loved your Digby message. Talked to your Mom tonight, and she and Digby were doing their evening two-mile hike as she was taking to me. They're really doing great, she said. Had their two-mile walk this morning before work He will be fine. I"m anxious to get over to see him, too!

Posted by Grandma Gohlke at September 18, 2009 8:58 PM

I like this farewell-message. Yes, the boundary conditions have really changed during the past few years...

Posted by Martin at October 6, 2009 9:57 AM