Back in 2008, we were ready to increase our family. We were looking for a big breed dog for our ½ acre home. We have always been fans of the under dogs, so we went to the pound. We search and look, fell in love with all of them, but when we met Peggy Sue we knew our search came to an end.
She was under weight, had been abused and neglected, and although she looked terrified she surrendered to us and captured our hearts. We brought her home, and that was when we realized the journey that awaited us. She didn’t know how go up and down the stairs, nor how to walk on wooden floors. She was also malnourished but otherwise in good health.
Peggy was an anxious dog. She was afraid of other dogs, except for our Scottish terrier, and people other than us. Peggy also suffered of separation anxiety as we found out when we found our favorite shoes chewed up, and even holes on the walls. Walking her on a leash was impossible because of the level of anxiety when she would see other dogs or people. But we refused to give up on her. Instead, we signed her up for obedience school at Triple Crown, where she graduated with high honors.
Almost four years went by…and Peggy Sue had improved incredibly. None of us expected what was lurking…little by little my energy level went down as joint and nerve pain made their appearance. Last spring I was diagnosed with RA. I was determined to continue my life with no change but by the end of May, I came to terms that I could no longer handle my job, or our house. So my letting goes begun. I let go of my job, and fifteen days later had sold our two story house, as I couldn’t’t handle the stairs nor the maintenance of the grounds.
We moved to a first floor apartment, where I would have the gym and pool for my therapy. Found a past-time position almost next door at a home office, which could be also done from my home on those days that driving was hard for me. The thought of letting go of Peggy was not an option…
Peggy had come a long way. She got along with our friends, young and old. Learned commands such as sit, down, get your toy, dead, catch, stay and recently focus. Focus was an important one as it made a leash walking possible. We even discovered that she got along with other dogs on an open room Doggy daycare! However, Peggy had a hard time with the move; a hard time adjusting from ½ acre to an apartment. To make things worse, my husband business trips became weekly and my daughter left for college. Still, the option of letting Peggy go would not come to be until Monday, February 7th, when I tried to walk a restless and energy filled Peggy, and ended up on the ground and dragged. I was able to control her, and although painful, my back was not broken, my heart was. I realized I could not handle her anymore, I realized my home was not safe for her anymore. I could not give her the exercise she needed and so she was getting out of control; the search for a home for Peggy Sue had begun.
After few weeks of trying to find a home for Peggy, my husband decided to take Peggy to the Humane Society. I was devastated. I paced around the house not knowing what to do with myself as the feeling of guilt and failure took over me. I heard the garage door open and almost fainted when I saw Peggy running towards me…
“They said that the Humane Society was not the right environment for her and they gave me a list of places,” said my husband. As I was on the floor hugging Peggy.
“You know Susan, she knew I was dumping her. She knew…” he was heartbroken.
Then all of a sudden, somehow the door of options opened up.
“Why don’t we talk to her veterinarian and see if they can give us other options,” I said.
We took her that same afternoon and came back with a plan. That was two months ago. Peggy Sue has changed since then, or maybe we have. She is on a mild dose of anxiety medicine and goes to doggy care twice a week. Peggy Sue has a home…
To Listen to Peggy Sue’s story in my interview with the Austin Humane Society visit I Have Something to Say Live!