|Kelly on Sanibel|
I did it knowing it's one of the worst things a parent can do to their young adult kids. College students often miss their pets more than parents or siblings. And who can blame them? Nothing means home more than a sweet warm pooch snuggling up with you on the sofa or dancing in spasms of delight when you walk in the door. And Kelly is the best dog!
But here's the thing: Liam and I are terrible dog owners now that we're empty nesters. We travel all the time and are rarely home. Well, we are often home, but we have two homes now - one in Sioux City, IA where Liam works and our new condo in Chicago. We love our two different abodes (more on that in another post) but they are 500 miles apart and it's not easy to get a dog back and forth between them.
We made it work as best we could at first, but Kelly wasn't happy about it. She threw a few destructive temper tantrums to let us know she wasn't a fan of the new living arrangements. In January we rented a house on Sanibel Island near where my mother and her husband live - taking Kelly with us - and before we headed up north, we came up with a temporary solution.
We decided to have Kelly stay with Mom and Dan in Ft. Myers for the rest of the winter. They have an adorable Westie of their own (inspired by Kelly) and had plenty of time and affection for a second doggie. It all worked beautifully. Liam and I could travel for business and to see our kids in Ann Arbor and do our back and forth thing, while Kelly enjoyed warm weather and the best care of her life - a predictable schedule, frequent walks, regular grooming, and constant canine and human companionship. We thought it would just give us a break over the cold winter, but gradually, it made sense to make the pet-sitting situation permanent.
My kids were pretty devastated. I definitely felt like the worst mom ever. I hated letting them down and I felt like a failure for not being able to take good care of our beloved family dog. Also, I missed Kelly's cheerful presence in my life more than anyone. But I kept thinking about how she needs routine and affection and how she freaks out when she's left alone, especially in a new place. I thought of our expensive new rug.
So Kelly is staying in Florida, thanks to Jane and Dan, who have happily absorbed her into their little family. I tell them she's 100% returnable and we're definitely paying all the vet bills. But given the fact that they all sleep in the same bed together at night, I don't think it's likely she's coming back. Look at how cute Kelly and Shelby are together.
|Shelby (left) with Kelly at Mom and Dan's house.|