Friday, August 13, 2010

So long, Hayden, but not good-bye

Yesterday our dog Hayden (actually my son Joe's dog) was adopted by Dean and Jane, a lovely couple who miraculously were the perfect match.  Hayden is not yet 2-years old, still a puppy in Blood Hound terms.  He's all legs and ears and looks like a moose without antlers.  He's a beautiful black-and-tan version of the breed, a gentle dog on his way to becoming, I am sure, a gentle giant.  He still has a lot of growing into himself to do.

I was hopeful but worried that we might never find the right home for Hayden.  Who would want potentially over 100-lbs. of drooling, shedding, howling animal?  Joe had rescued Hayden from a bad situation when he was only seven months old.  Still quite the puppy, he had separation anxiety from his earlier life experience and wanted nothing more than to be velcroed to any human nearby.  He'd howl, grief-stricken, when separated even by a bathroom door.  So there were a number of showers with a puppy's head poking through the shower curtain.  As he grew larger, we got him used to longer and longer spurts of time on his own.  First attempts resulted in lots of chewing:  cell phones, pounds of butter, shoes, coats.  So, we introduced the crate which kept him (and stuff) safe but quite miserable.  I'd open up the crate and he'd leap out and literally bounce in happiness.  To get him into the crate, we'd literally have to sneak up behind him, grab him under his armpits, and walk him into the crate.  It looked like I was doing the Heimlich Maneuver on him.  He learned to become a "C" so as soon as his butt was in the crate his head was out and I'd gasp in exasperation, wait, and try again, though he knew what was coming and would drop to the floor, dead weight, so there was no where my hands could go to get him up.

I love this dog.  Joe was well-intentioned in taking him but it wasn't practical for him, or good for Hayden.  He needs so much more room and time with people than we can provide.  His leaving is bittersweet.  I'll miss his sweet face and good company, and his pure exuberance at loving the outdoors.  There are things I won't miss, like petrified drool on my windows and fur-bunnies the size of small mammals from under the couch and behind furniture. But more than that, I love that he now has room to stretch out, a new home, and three new dog friends -- two English Mastiffs (each over 200 lbs.!) and a Weimaraner, all girls -- his new harem.  He has acres and acres of land to run.  Dean and Jane met him for an hour, and decided right then and there that they wanted him. I heard they had an interesting first night.  Hayden trembled in the crate, so they let him sleep outside their bedroom door.  He heard a train whistle in the middle of the night, which set him to howling, but they calmed him down and eventually everyone was able to sleep.  They already love him, aware of all his breed's particular needs, and welcome him, slobber, shedding, neediness, and all. And we can visit, anytime.  I can't wait to see him in his new world.

What a lucky dog!


  1. He's going to have a wonderful life, which would NOT have been possible without Joe's and your intervention. Think of yourselves as the halfway house, there to love and support him as he was growing from a scared puppy into the beautiful (drooly) adolescent that he is now. It's his time to grow and flourish, to run and become part of his forever family. I know that you will never forget him, trust that he will always remember you as well. You both did a very good thing!

  2. This is the first of your posts I have ever fact, this is the first time I have visited your site.

    Let me say this: You are a PHENOMENAL writer. Hayden lives in my heart and mind through your words. I felt the drool, his anxiety, your exasperation. Even more I felt the shared love.

    I also felt everyone's bittersweetness...mine included.

    You will live in his heart forever. And you did what anyone who truly loves set him free.

    I can't wait to read more!

    And I am utterly delighted to have found you!

    Dr. Kymn
    Newly relocated to Saratoga Springs from NJ Shore