I sit watching the clock. It will soon be time to leave the office for the day and return to my hearth and my Boxers. The few minutes of inactivity give me time to dwell on the evening hours yet to come.
Usually I look forward to the trip home with great anticipation. My dogs always make the arrival home a real "event." Tonight the "event" is different. After our warm greeting and early evening routine, I must say goodbye to one of them.
This is not an ominous parting, no illness, nor mortality. The parting is only his transition from my home to another. I hope they will love him and nurture him just as I have for the past two years of his life. The tug on the heart is still great, as he, like all the Boxers in my life, has worked his magic on the old heartstrings. The heart is again exposed and I know the tears will fall regardless of what the head tells me. The head, however, must overrule such matters. My decision was not easily or quickly made, but I know it is the best one. In time my heart will comply.
Sometimes in a multiple dog situation we run into problems. In this case, this young male is incapable of getting along with his canine companions. He is loving and affectionate with the family. He barely tolerates and is barely tolerated by the alpha bitch. He and the other two males sharing my home have become mortal enemies. I have struggled with the "musical dog" scenario for over six months hoping that by some miracle things would get better. They only seem to get worse as both he and the other young male continue to mature.
Even the senior dog in this trio has become hostile with this younger male. Usually the most stable and gentle-natured of my males, he can no longer tolerate the young male's attempts to become leader of the pack.
Each time, no matter how careful the family is, any confrontation has resulted in terrifying combat. I know I cannot continue to risk their lives or injury to any of them. Because of his preferred affinity for humans, the young male is the one most likely to benefit in the "only dog" situation.
This is yet another predicament breeders find themselves in on occasion. Many breeders have limited facilities and often place their finished champions, the show prospect that doesn't turn out, and others for reasons like I have described into companion homes.
The comforting aspect for all of us is that we will eventually see these dogs become the "special" Boxer in their new family's life. We have all witnessed how a Boxer will blossom once removed from the multiple dog condition. Although I try to only maintain four Boxers at a time in our home (not counting the occasional litter), the time I can devote to each of them on a daily basis is limited.
Many of us fall into that same category and it is comforting, to the heart at least, when we see our dear friends reap the rewards of gaining all the attention from their new family.
Some still question our feelings and decisions, "How can you bear to part with him after two years?" "I could never do that, I care to much, and I'm far to attached to do such a thing." To those questions I offer this reply.
This issue has more to do with feelings and commitment than you realize. To keep an animal just because you cannot bear to part with him may not always be in the dog's best interest. We must not be selfish when we make these decisions, the dog's quality of life must be the first thing we consider. Our own feelings must come second if we are to make a conscious and correct decision about such things.
Should I keep this young male for my selfish heart, segregated and confined from the other canines in the household with limited house time with my family or should I let him go to a new home, a new family and an opportunity to thrive in the circumstances best suited for our Boxers, that of a companion animal? Which life would you choose for one of your Boxers?
You will be pleased to know that Alex has indeed thrived in his new home. He finished his championship and now rules the roost in his new home. Tears fell when he left, as I knew they would. Eventually the sun turned bright and warm and my heart began to convalesce. I may not see him or touch him as often as I would like but a part of Alex will be with me always. This decision of the heart was a good one - somehow those decisions felt most by the heart grant the greatest serenity.
This story was written when I was forced to make a difficult decision regarding the placement of Alex P. Keaton, Yuppie Puppy better known now as Ch. Haley's Majix Song of Sarkel. The story also applies to the placements of our Meg, our Amanda, our Abigail and our Traveler. There are no regrets today, only peace and comfort in knowing they are well loved, well cared for and they and their new families are richer for the mutual companionship. Placements like these are rewarding to all concerned and far outweigh the pain in letting go.
Don't be afraid to place an older dog. Let my comments give you faith. There are many people willing to take them into their hearts and homes. Give them and your boxer a chance.
Return To Articles & Books