Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Left Behind

It makes me sad to leave Ranger behind while we work sheep or attend trials.  I wish we could take him with us more often, but Ranger is a royal pain in the arse in the car.  He whines, and acts like a freak in his crate.  Perhaps he gets car sick?  Anxiety?  I don't know. 

All I know is after a hour in the car with Ranger I feel like I used to with three kids strapped in car seats on a sugar high kicking the back of my seat while arguing and screaming at each other.  ACK!

Often I am sad and wonder if Ranger would be happier in a home where he could be the sole center of attention.  Ranger cannot do agility anymore due to his leg injury from before he came to live with us (reason why he was in rescue).  He has no desire to work livestock.

Ranger's primary duties?  Make us smile.  Photo model.  Turn the lights on and off.  Protect the front door from salesmen & missionaries.  Prevent the back yard from being overrun by crows and the occasional eagle. 

I wonder, is he fulfilled?  Do dogs need to be fulfilled?  Is he happy without a real job? 

A while back I had a long discussion with a woman who had an Aussie mix she had spent training in agility for several years.  She was re-homing him because she and her husband got the herding bug and felt bad they had to leave this dog at home much of the time - since he had no desire to work stock.  They no longer did agility so his talents and training were being wasted.  As much as they loved him they chose to place him in a home where he could share his love with a young chronically ill boy.  As luck would have it, the dog also became his seizure alert dog and now has a job and a loving home.  Not to be left behind again.

Was that the wrong thing to do or not?  Did they owe it to this dog to keep him for the rest of his life?  Should they have kept doing agility just for this dog?  Should they have kept him and left him at home while they went to sheep dog trials etc?  What do you think?  

I look at pictures like this and wonder....

Does Ranger miss us when we leave him at home to ride the couch?

Nah...I don't think so.  My guess is he is happy for the peace and quiet.


Lynn said...

Nooooooo! If I can't have him, you MUST keep him! ;)

BCxFour said...

Lynn, really we are not planning on re-homing Ranger. He has a piece of my heart and is not going anywhere.

Jaenne said...

I have had the same thoughts about Kip. Looking back at all of the frustration, anxiety, setbacks, etc that I have gone through with Kip over the last four years, I don't know that I could place him in a new home and not worry that his issues will be too much for his new family to handle and that they would want to rehome him. So, Kip shall live out his life, hopefully happily, with me, Mo and any other dogs that may enter our lives.

Karen said...

Ranger's job is 'holding down the fort', or the couch or...
If he seems quite happy without a specific job, then no problem. And really, what is the definition of a 'real job'? Sounds like he is happy with how he has it, besides, when he gets left behind, he doesn't have to share treats with any other dog:) Providing of course there is some one there to dish them out.
Have you tried any medication for the car rides?

forensicfarmgirl said...

I understand your dilema! I have a couple of dogs who may be happier in another home, but they are happy with us, and I'm secure in the knowledge that they have a home despite their "eccentricities."

And one of them is a Blue Heeler named ... Ranger!

The Thundering Herd said...

Yes, you can tell that Ranger leads quite the difficult life - grins.

sagechronicles said...

That sounds like Ranger has a very full life doing things he enjoys. Yay, Ranger!!

The Border Collies said...

I think people who rehome their own dogs because their personal pastimes or hobbies are not something the dog can participate in are beyond lame. Look how many dogs there are in the system begging for homes. The dogs already in homes don't need to be in that system, don't need to take homes away from other dogs in that system, and are beyond lucky compared to the dogs that ARE in the system. It's just human selfishness - rehome the dog feeling like they are doing something good for the dog, when really it's for themselves, and leaving them room to acquire another dog that fits better into their own hobby structure. It's not a reason, it's an excuse. A flimsy, self serving excuse.

It's no different from people who go through sport dogs like water looking for the next podium dog, or people who start buying and/or selling working dogs because they "like" herding and want (though they like to say "need" but it's really just "want") a dog they think they can succeed or win with.

I think it's just plain sad that people live so vicariously through their dogs' accomplishments that they discard the ones who don't fulfill whatever fundamental part of their psyches are lacking. It really makes me look at these people with a mixture of pity and total disgust. There's no room in my life for people who put themselves before the lives they've pledged to protect, and I think they are the saddest of individuals.

BCxFour said...

Sheena, I totally agree with you. The person who rehomed their agility dog because they got into herding really stuck in my mind (search "Max" on the site). It bothered me to no end. While I can 'understand' their reasoning - there is no way I could toss aside one dog in favor of another one just because we moved to another hobby. You are right they are the lowest of low.

That said, there is no way in hell I will ever rehome Ranger, Bonnie or Beth. Period. They are parts of our family and hold large pieces of my heart. I made a commitment to them when I adopted them and they are never going anywhere.