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Thursday, April 28, 2011

What to do with Dog?

I'm really torn on this decision and want some good advice.

This is Hero (formerly known as Achilles), our almost-3-year-old Boerboel (South African mastiff). He was abandoned at a vet's office at around 13 months of age, and we rescued him about a year later.

When he first came home he couldn't even walk. He dragged the backs of his paws along the ground and turned them into a bloody mess.

In the 18 months he's been with us we've taught him to walk, leash-trained him, house-trained him, and dragged him around on our crazy travel schedule.

In all respects, he's the perfect dog for our family. He's low-key, easy-going, good with kids, and well-behaved. We have no problems with him. Except that he's y'know, a dog. And we're moving again. And I'm having trouble finding a place to rent that will let me take a 130+ pound dog.

Presumably cats and small dogs are better? I don't get that, but whatever.

The second problem, and probably the bigger problem, is that we are moving further south. Hero loves the cold. I've never seen him as happy as he was running on the ice in New York over Christmas break.

And we're moving to the Gulf Coast where we might get a cold front, maybe. A possible chance of snow, maybe. In between I can guarantee long, hot, humid summers.

I worry about him dying of heat exhaustion on the Gulf Coast. Just walking around here in 70 degree heat leaves him panting and miserable. I don't want to picture him in the 90-100 degree heat that's coming. Granted, we'll have air conditioning, but not if a storm knocks out power, and not outside.

My in-laws have offered to let Hero come live on the farm in New York with them. They have land, but nothing fenced in. He would be an indoor dog, but they both work.

There is no easy answer here.

I want what's best for Hero, even if that means spending a few years away with the Other People. He knows them. He's been to their house with us. And I am very confident in their ability to love and spoil him (although their barn cats might object).

Help me out. What do I do here? I have less than a month to decide if he travels with us, or with them.


  1. I'm the wrong person to ask, so I'll refrain from advice. I'm the person who lived at home until I was 25 just so I could save enough money to buy instead of rent. Why? Because leaving the dog behind wasn't an option, and rent is insane with pets. And then I got another dog when we moved out so he wouldn't be alone while I was at work all day. :-)

    But good luck, whatever you decide. It sounds like you can't go wrong either way for Hero, really...dogs are surprisingly adaptable to new environments (hot/cold/farm/whatever).

  2. Meant to add...he is *so* adorable! :-)

  3. We own a house in Texas right now. And we'll only be at this place for a year or two, three on the outside. Buying a house here doesn't make sense right now.

    I want to take him, but I don't know if it's the right decision.

  4. Liana,

    That's a hard call. I will note though I used to live in the greater Phoenix, AZ, and all sorts of people had all sorts of dogs.

  5. Try taking him with you, assuming you can find a place to rent that will allow for it. If he's truly miserable there after a chance to adapt to the climate change, then consider the New York option.

  6. Jean - That sounds sensible. If things are horrible we can take him up over winter break, or bribe them to drive down for Thanksgiving. :o)

  7. Posted a comment on CC, but see now it does not apply to your situation. There are thousands of dogs that adapt to the south, the trick is finding a place that you can have him. New York may be fun and cool, but he does not have the coat for outside winter living. I have an outside mutt that looks part husky, especially his coat. I considered shaving him in the summer, but a vet and someone else told me that was not really a good idea. Like I said on CC you could try to find him a home via the radio. Some stations will let you make a public service announcement for free. Good luck, but as attached as you are, you should take the dog. Good Luck

  8. Are you sure your in-laws can't rig a fence for him so he could be outside sometime?

    Short of that, take your story to your local media...sell them on Hero's hard-luck story.

  9. I don't see why you can't give it to your in-laws. Dogs can be very happy indoors. They are patient and they wait for their owners while they are at work. Based on what you say, they will love him so that is the best option for him... and I'm sure your in-laws will be thankful...