It was only three days ago that I wrote enthusiastically about our new dog Mike. And now the story is over. This morning, I drove him back to Bethel.
I wish I knew exactly what went wrong. Instead of adapting and adjusting to living with us, Mike got more and more anxious. By last night, when Marge took him for a walk, he was afraid of people, other dogs, and even blowing leaves. Last night, he again refused to climb the stairs and spent most of the night whimpering downstairs because he was alone. By this morning, he wouldn’t go out on the back deck. Except when he was actually touching someone, he was whimpering.
On the way back to Bethel, he began panting and whimpering in the backseat of the car. I stopped the car, thinking that I needed to let him out, but that wasn’t the case. Once outside the car, Mike dropped into a crouch, shivering, panting and acting for all the world as if he feared being abandoned. That wasn’t right either, because then he didn’t want to get back into the car!
When I left Mike with the breeder, I said, “I feel terrible that we couldn’t make this work. I hope you can find a good home for Mike.”
The breeder’s response was icy: “That won’t be a problem.”
I wonder. Marge and I love dogs, and we have a lot of experience with Labs. As far as I know, we did just about everything right. Yet Mike was consumed by his own anxiety in less than three days. Maybe he can find a home with no stairs where he never has to be alone.