Thursday, April 14, 2011

Canine companions

When we were first married, we made the decision to get a dog.  We knew that it would be a lot of work, and difficulties could arrive if the military ever made the decision to send us overseas.  Eight years and two full-size dogs later, we are faced with the difficulties of transporting our canines with us to Germany.

Hurdle #1: Airlines will not fly dogs if the outside temperature is above 85 degrees
Since we are moving in July, pretty much everywhere the temperature is above 85 degrees.

Hurdle #2: Dogs can go anywhere in Germany, provided they are on a leash.
My lab has NEVER walked nicely on a leash.  She will follow directions and stay in close proximity but literally chokes herself every time we walk her (and we have tried a lot!)

Hurdle #3:  It is a long flight across the ocean, and my lab has separation anxiety.  I can just see us sitting in the cabin, listening to her howl, for the entire flight.

Hurdle #4: Finding a place to rent in Germany, with two large dogs. 

Hurdle #5: The cost.  Airline-approved kennels + dog fare + vet visits + a vehicle large enough to transport them.  Honestly smaller dogs would be so much less work but I just can't stand the yapping!

Despite the abovementioned setbacks, we are determined to keep those members of our family, as part of our family.  That is what we agreed to when we adopted them as puppies.  I would not give away one of my children because they made life difficult for me, and I will not abandon one of my pets because I am not prepared.  I have started talking to people who are in Germany, to get their advice, and made a plan to overcome all those hurdles. 
Now if I can do it, why can't everyone else?  Daily I see military members putting dogs up 'for sale' or 'to a good home', for the same reasons I have just mentioned.  It makes me sick to see how many animals are being abandoned because they are an inconvenience to their owners.  Sure being a dog owner is difficult.  So it being a parent.  So why does society condone people dropping off animals at shelters?  Why are we not held responsible for our actions? 
Now, do I ever regret having dogs? Sure! 
Do I hate picking up dog poop? Yes!
Do I sweep my floor multiple times a week just because of dog hair? Yes!
Will I leave them with total strangers for the rest of their lives because I did not plan ahead? NO!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The snow is gone! After months of whiteness (sometimes greyness), the grass is once again visible and the birds are singing! I can't wait to spend more time outside, going on walks, to the parks and in our backyard. The last major storm of the season I spent with two good friends, who are also moving this summer. The three of us looked out at the blizzard conditions are commented on how nice it feels to know that we will NEVER live through another North Dakota winter! I have made some great friends here, and enjoyed many things about this area, but the winter weather is definitely not at the top of my list. I just can't enjoy the beautiful snow when it is too cold outside to play in it. On to Spring!