I have regrettable news to relate, but next to the people I see on the street everyday, you are the one(s) who keep(s) up with the Chicken. But don’t worry, she didn’t die.
She moved. That’s right, we got a divorce. Me and Spring Chicken are no longer together. It was an amiable split, I think. She’d long ago stopped smearing her poop on me. We were getting along really well in fact. It was the neighbors who ultimately prompted the final severance. For months they’ve been calling my landdad, telling him that their baby can’t sleep because my dog is crying. The neighbors’ calls, the barking and the fecal minefield the Chicken was daily constructing around the raspberry patch (whoa, what!? The word raspberry has a “p” in it!?) were enough to get my landfamily to consistently give me a hard time about what a pain the dog was for them.
Funny thing was, when I started mentioning that I was looking for a new home for her, I had three immediate offers. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks she’s quite a catch.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I helped her move to her new home on the other side of town. Her new family comes complete with a spindly, quirky grandmother, a jovial dad, a spunky mom, and a full-of-life young boy who invited all the neighborhood kids over to see the new dog immediately upon her arrival. I left her in the back yard with a pile of bones and haven’t heard from her since. The spunky mom said she’s been a great dog already, quiet at night and playful with the young boy.
I left her there the day before I left on a 10 day jaunt around the country from which I have recently returned. The great thing about the Chicken’s new home is that her owners are already friends of mine who new her for months of her stay with me. They were thrilled to adopt her. They started calling her Cheeko within minutes. And they have invited me to take her on walks and hikes whenever I’d like.
All this of course does not diminish the hole I feel after giving her up. Dog-lovers, eye-roll away, but the truth is that no matter how much I enjoyed our walks and the lap-naps and the loving how’s-your-dog questions from townspeople on the street, she just didn’t fit. Having crossed over my Peace-Corps-service halfway mark, I took a long ponder at how I want the rest of my time here to look, and I don’t want a year of my landfamily giving me a hard time about the dog they didn’t really want to live in their yard, a year of trying to get my coworkers to like her, a year of people telling me to keep her away because a dog hair might get into their mouths and kill them. I’m not sure I want to continue my inevitable years of moving around with a dog in tow. I got into the Dog Deal not really knowing if it would be a good fit for me, and despite both of our attempts to love on each other, it wasn’t. So I found her a good home, and I accept the stomach knots that creep up when I go out into a puppyless yard in the morning.
A fellow PCV, John, surprised me last night when I told him about it. He said, “Well, she’s not dead.” I raised an eyebrow. “Really, Brent, with your track record, she’s lucky to have lived with you and then ended up in a new home. She didn’t die like most of your pets. She’s the one that got away.”
“Oh my gosh, you’re right,” I said. I hate to say it, but she’s the only pet I’ve ever owned that left me unscathed. Call it self-acquittal if you want, but when John said that, all I felt was a huge sense of relief. I’m glad she’s got a good family, and while I have some real regrets (something akin to but opposite of buyer’s remorse) I feel like she’s going to have a good life. We’re both going to be better off now because I took the chance to adopt her then.