The hardest part: leaving pets to travel long term

by Kim on March 25, 2012 · 81 comments

Much has been written about the loyalty of dogs, but what I love about them isn’t their devotion to me so much as their devotion to being alive. – Steve Bauer

I found my dog, Bear, who will be 10 years old this summer, at a gas station in Jackson, Ohio. I’d been driving the rural roads back to my college home in Athens. I stopped for gas.  At the front door of the service station, piled into an empty Rubbermaid trash can, was a litter of tiny brown puppies.

I wasn’t looking for a dog.  I was 21, a senior in college and in no position to take on responsibility.  I could barely afford to eat.  A dog was out of the question.

But when I peeked over the rim of the trash can there sat Bear, as small as a newborn kitten.  She looked up at me.  Fleas jumped like madmen off her little body. I picked her up; she fit in the palm of my hand.  Her eyes were round and lonesome.

I pulled her to my chest and carried her to my car, sat her down on the passenger’s seat.  She watched me silently, skeptically.  Don’t pee!  I told her, more of a plea than a command. Try not to pee. And then: You’re okay now.  You’re safe.  I’ll take care of you. 

I was already hopelessly in love.

__________

In the decade since the day I scooped up Bear and brought her home with me, she’s never left my side. She’s seen me through loss and love.  We’ve climbed mountains together and run hundreds of miles through the forest. She’s been witness to some of my biggest moments. She tolerates the songs I sing her and the Halloween costumes I dress her in.

Bear on Halloween

I’ve watched her morph from a hyperactive pup to an excitable adolescent to a shuffling old lady.  I’ve watched as her fur lost color and her hips gave out.

I’ve moved her across the country and into five different homes. But no matter where I lay my head at the end of the day, Bear has always been there next to me, snoring like a freight train on the floor. She’s mine, and I’m hers too.

__________

When Brian and I joined forces I inherited his pooch Macy and together we became a family of four.  In my happiest memories we are together, tromping through the woods or camping under the stars.  Brian and I love our dogs, plain and simple.

Bear and Macy in Forest Park

I tell you all that in an effort to stress that we did not take the decision to leave our dogs lightly. In the beginning, the thought was so unbearable that we dismissed it completely.  We couldn’t travel because we couldn’t leave the dogs.

But over time my desire to take this trip grew from a peck to a pounding and I knew we couldn’t wait until the dogs were gone to travel.  So we started the slow process of shedding our stuff and saving money and hoped that a solution would present itself over time.

Leaving the dogs with strangers was completely out of the question and the idea of splitting them up was so heartbreaking that we agreed that couldn’t happen either.

We spent months weighing our options.  It became evident that the only real choice was to turn to our parents.  When the time came to ask my parents refused, but Brian’s told us they would consider it.

We commenced stressing out and meditating on the hope that they would say yes.  But even as we sold our house and started the countdown clock on our departure, we weren’t sure what would happen with the dogs.

We were worried. Brian’s parents are the kind that will do almost anything to help their kids reach their dreams, but we were well aware of how we’d be putting them out. We’d take off to travel and in exchange leave his parents with piles of dog hair, trips to the vet and an all too frequently used pooper scooper.

But you know what?  They said yes. I’ve said in the past that it takes a village to raise a dream and Brian’s parents are king and queen of that village.  Without their sacrifice we would not be leaving to travel right now. We are grateful, but that word doesn’t begin to describe the extent of our gratitude.  Sometimes language just comes up short.

At Brian’s parents house the dogs will be loved and spoiled.  They’ll get walks and treats and belly rubs.  Bear can lay outside in the afternoon sun again which is her favorite thing. Macy will be surrounded by people and that’s her favorite thing.  The dogs will be happy there, much happier than they are in this cramped little apartment we’ve moved them in to.  Once they’ve adjusted to their new home, I wonder if they’ll miss us at all.

It’s the best possible scenario.

__________

Yet, the reality of leaving them behind does not get easier. I look at the calendar and see that we have 60 days until departure and I think only 60 days left with my babies.

I feel so much guilt in leaving. I know some might think: Get a grip, they’re just dogs. But they’re my dogs.  From the moment I plopped Bear’s little puppy butt down on the passengers seat of my car, I vowed to take care of her. I love her fiercely.  And now here I am, abandoning her in her old age.

Here is what I tell myself when I get upset about leaving the dogs: All that matters to them is this moment.  I’ve been crying myself to sleep at night, thinking about the future without them, but our dogs aren’t concerned with the future. All that exists is now.  And right now we are beside them, patting their bellies, singing them songs (Come on potty people is a favorite), or walking them to the park.

Right now everything is as it has always been. And later, while Brian and I are exploring the world and the dogs are living with their grandparents, all that will matter is what is happening in that moment. They’ll be scratched behind the ear, or offered a treat, or walked around the neighborhood and they will be happy.

This leaving part, I think it will be harder on us than it is on them.

Bear and her proud Momma, Triple Falls 2010

***

Update 12/13: It’s been almost two years since I wrote this post. Brian and I are still traveling and our dogs are still happy and content with Brian’s parents. It all worked out! We were home this summer to visit and I videotaped our reunion with the dogs. You can see it here.

***

Life On Fire ebook coverLive your dreams! Find out how with my book, Life On Fire: A Step-By-Step Guide To Living Your Dreams.

RELATED POSTS:

{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmel March 25, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Ugh…I just feel for you so much! I know that leaving our cats will be really hard on me. I have had them since they were born, I prayed them into existence as my parents say. I’ve been their sole source of love and support for 12 years and leaving them makes me cringe. I remember when I went backpacking through Europe for 10 weeks and left them with my parents, I came back and Belle acted like she didn’t know who I was for a week. I thought she forgot me–turns out she was just bad at me. But a whole YEAR makes me want to cry and we’re 17 months out. It won’t be easy, but you’re right about them living for today. All that matters is that they’re happy today and have you. Isn’t that a lesson for all of us?

PS…love the costume and I normally hate animals dressed up.

Reply

Kim March 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Yes, it is definitely a lesson for us all. I had to delete a whole other post I started writing about everything I’ve learned from my dogs. The most important thing I’ve learned is that NOW is all that matters.

Reply

Carmel March 25, 2012 at 7:45 pm

That was supposed to say “mad at me” not “bad at me”…but I’m guessing you figured that out. You smart lady.

Reply

Dawn March 25, 2012 at 4:46 pm

(tear) I’m getting ready to leave my fur ball for a year too. This post hit the emotions dead on. Wish she could come with ;).

Reply

Kim March 25, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Awww, I wish she could go with you too. I wish ours could come with us. I just know they’d love to smell new stuff all over the world. Sigh. I can’t think about it or I’ll start crying again!

Reply

Erik March 25, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I can’t even imagine. My wife & I have no kids, but our dogs are our kids. My wife is barely capable of an overnight away because she hates being away from our furry kids. She doesn’t like traveling anyway, so this is never a problem. I, however, have been bitten by the travel bug. I’m never going to go on an around the world trip, but I do take a month-long international trip every other year, and leaving the dogs is painful. It’s easier for me because I know how great my wife is with them (and that they actually love her best anyway). I hope Macy & Bear love their new digs.

Reply

Kim March 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm

It takes a real man to admit the dogs love your wife best ;)

Yes, I am heartbroken. And part of me is still in denial. We are giving ourselves three weeks at Brian’s parents house to acclimate the dogs. I think (hope!) I’ll feel better after seeing how much they like it there.

Reply

Leah Travels March 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Leaving my doggies is so difficult as well. Luckily my parents and brother are very accommodating. The longest I’ve left is for a month, but it is what I look forward to most in coming home. If Brian’s parents are anything like mine, they’ll be spoiled rotten upon your return. Safe travels.

Reply

Kim March 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm

I definitely think that they will be spoiled and that thought makes me very, very happy :)

Reply

Lauren March 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm

You are right, Macy and Bear will be loved so much once they are at Gma and Gpa’s. (Almost) every Sunday I will give them so much love, they will look forward to me leaving! I cannot wait to snuggle and love them!

Reply

Kim March 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Lauren, I cannot tell you the piece of mind it brings me knowing that you will be there to love on them. XOXOXO

Reply

Rhonda March 26, 2012 at 7:21 am

Oh, you broke my heart!!! I can’t imagine what you’re going through, having had to put Sophie down right before our RTW and being lucky enough to take Maddy with us when we leave on our road trip to South America. Stay strong, you are so blessed that Brian’s parents will take them and love them and they will be happy. Just be like them, live in the moment now and appreciate every moment with them.

Reply

Kim March 26, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Hi Rhonda. Yes, we are trying to make every moment count with our pups.

Maddy is so lucky. She is going to have such an amazing adventure with you guys.

Reply

Francy R March 26, 2012 at 7:33 am

Every tiem I go tarvelling I really get into despair as I have to leave my dog at my parents’ or friends place and this turns me in such a bad mood and feel truble during my stay. Unofrtunately is not that common finding places admitting animals, in particular when I travel for business. I do understand how do you feel, but stay strong!

Reply

Kim March 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Thank you, we will stay strong :)

Reply

Dalene March 26, 2012 at 9:12 am

If I sat still and allowed myself to think about my two cats – I mean, REALLY think about them hard – I would pack my bag, return home, and steal them from their new owners. Especially my one cat, who got me through some SERIOUSLY hard times, he was my nursemaid. To leave them behind to travel was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. There was a lot of crying (and a considerable amount of drinking) in the days following.

Our kitties went with very good friends and have a very good home. We have an open adoption, so I have seen them a couple of times since then, and THEY REMEMBERED ME!! It was kinda sad for me really, but still so sweet.

Okay, too much talking about them. Tempted to go pack my bags…

Reply

Kim March 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Oh yeah, don’t think about it. I can’t actually allow myself to think about the dogs much or I LOSE IT. I have even started crying at work lately- I’m a mess!

I’m so glad they remembered you!!! They give us so much and bring us so much joy… it’s hard to leave them. Bear has brought so much to my life and I definitely feel that I owe it to her to be there for her until the end… okay, going to start sobbing again now…

Reply

Patricia GW March 26, 2012 at 10:21 am

Aww Kim, how you adopted Bear and grew together is so touching. To leave Bear and Macy in Brian’s parent’s hands is obviously not a decision you two made lightly, but you’ll have the comfort of knowing that they are being well taken care of and happy. It’s not goodbye forever. You’ll carry them in your heart wherever you go XO

Reply

Kim March 26, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Yes, we will carry them in our hearts for sure. And it is a relief knowing they will be well cared for.

Reply

Dana de Brito March 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Hey Kim! I know how hard this is… we’ll have to leave our dog behind too this year :( I’m as luck as you, and he’ll be ‘adopted’ by my parents – so I know he has a home that loves him (and skypes me!), but it’s still so hard!

Reply

Kim March 26, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Thank God for Skype! Brian’s mom has promised lots of Skype videos. Do you worry that Skype might confused them??? Maybe I’m thinking too much into it…

Reply

Katja March 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Leaving my two cats was the hardest part about moving to Italy. Even harder than leaving them in the first place, though, was when my best friend (who had taken them, and my flat, on) phoned me last November to tell me that Martha had died. I’m still grateful that she was at home and happy when it happened, but GOD it hurts that I wasn’t there. They came to me as babies and George is now 13, so to put it in context they’re significantly older than most of my friends’ kids, and I’ve been with them longer than any boyfriend I’ve ever had, even if I discount the last 3 years that I’ve been in Italy.

All this is to say that I totally understand and cried my way through this post. Enjoy these next 60 days to the full and cuddle them both senseless.

Reply

Kim March 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Oh, I’m so sorry. :(

I guess one of the things I didn’t address in the post, though should have, is that the dogs are 10 and 13. The 10 year old is definitely aging- bad hips, seizures from time to time, etc. We know that when we say goodbye to them it could potentially be goodbye forever which is part of what makes it so hard. Oh mad, there’s just no easy way to get around this one.

Reply

Traveling Ted March 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Great to hear that you have a great place for them to stay where they will be loved while you are away. I am sure they will miss you, and of course you will miss them, but it will be a glorious reunion when you return. The joy in seeing them again will help you readjust to your return.

Reply

Kim March 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm

You are totally right Ted. I just hope and pray that they are still kicking upon our return. They are getting old… but, yes, it will be so amazingly wonderful to see them again.

Reply

Ali March 27, 2012 at 6:29 am

Ugh, having to leave your dogs sucks. But you have to do what’s best for you as well as them. Like you said, they will be well loved at Brian’s parents’ house, and I’m sure you’ll get updates. Once it hits you that you’re living the life you’ve been dreaming about for so long, you’ll feel more at peace with your decision to give up the dogs.

Reply

Kim March 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Hi Ali. I hope you are right!!! I still just can’t believe it’s going to happen. I think (hope) I’ll feel better about it once I see them in their new home. We are spending almost three weeks at Brian’s parents house to help them adjust.

Reply

Sarah Somewhere March 27, 2012 at 9:09 am

Your dogs are so lucky to have found such wonderful, caring, thoughtful parents such as yourselves. I guess one way of looking at it is the joy that they will now bring to their grandparents. I know that doesn’t make it any easier, but keep the faith, all is as it should be. Can you tell that I have avoided getting a pet for this very reason?! Love the story of you and Bear XXX

Reply

Kim March 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm

You were smart! I had no idea what I was getting in to when I got a dog. It has brought my life so much joy, but also tied me down in many ways.

Reply

Michaela Potter March 27, 2012 at 7:07 pm

My heart breaks for you Kim. I work from home and have a hard time going out to run errands when I see the way my kitties look at me as if they were saying “how dare you leave us?”.

I never had pets during my career breaks, but it is one of those obstacles that you must face if you want to fulfill your dreams. Thankfully they are staying with the family and will be living happily in the moment.

I will be sure to share this thoughtful post with other members of the MPG community so they can know they are not alone in this heartbreaking decision and that there are happy options.

Reply

Kim March 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Thanks Michaela. I hope that this post can help other career breakers out there. It’s definitely a harsh reality, but a reality nonetheless.

Reply

Bama March 29, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Kim, this is why your blog is so interesting to read even long before your RTW trip begins. You always manage to bring up every little things that every one who travels the world feel, including the sad feeling for leaving the pet behind.

Reply

Kim March 30, 2012 at 9:23 am

Thanks Bama, that sure is nice to hear. There are a million emotions that go in to leaving, that’s for sure.

Reply

Kate April 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Reading this made me just start to bawl – both for you having to leave Bear and Macy and for the fact that their grandparents are so generous to take them in and give them a loving new home.

Thank you for sharing this!

Reply

Kim April 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Sorry to make you cry Kate- it makes me cry too!!! It’s sad but happy. We are so lucky that they will have a loving home :)

Reply

Tracy & Della April 5, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Hi there,
We know how difficult leaving your pets will be but you are spot on, they live for and in the moment.
We have cared for numerous pets over the years and without exception as soon as their owners are out the door as long as they are loved, fed and watered and get some playtime they adapt effortlessly. This has been our experience with pups and older dogs alike.
It will be hard for sure but rest assured your dogs will be absolutely fine. Hope this helps.
T & D

Reply

Kim April 15, 2012 at 8:42 pm

It helps, thank you!! Yes, they are very adaptable, aren’t they? Must keep reminding myself of that.

Reply

Sheryl April 7, 2012 at 9:29 am

Oh Kim! This is always the question I wanted to ask you about, but I assumed it would make you feel bad, so I didn’t ask. I think it will be hard, but it seems like you and Brian have considered the worst-case scenarios. I actually had the worst case happen and so I really have a hard time leaving pets. I think you are right though: they live in the now and they will be loved.

Reply

Kim April 15, 2012 at 8:44 pm

We are very aware of the worst-case scenario and it makes it harder. I think if they were younger and we could be more certain that they would still be alive when we got back it would be easier to go. Sigh. There is no good answer except to make sure that every day we have with them is a good one.

Reply

Bethany ~ twoOregonians April 9, 2012 at 7:25 am

We haven’t had a pet since we’ve been married, but Ted’s long-promised puppy is on the far horizon once we re-settle somewhere after this season of travel. :) Hooray for fantastically supportive parents! Sounds like your two canine family members will be in great hands.

Reply

Kim April 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

You were smart! Not sure I would have picked up a pet if I’d know how life would turn out, but who knows how life will turn out? Plus, she brings we so much joy I don’t regret it for a second. Enjoy your future-puppy :)

Reply

Torre – Fearful Adventurer April 12, 2012 at 1:42 am

I couldn’t even read this post. I started the first line, and I had to skip the rest. *Cry* I left my little dog Frida behind with my parents. It’s heartbreaking. Your dogs are so gorgeous.

Reply

Kim April 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Thanks Torre, they are gorgeous. I’m sorry you miss Frida. It’s so heartbreaking. There are no words, really.

Reply

Montecristo Travels (Sonja) October 4, 2012 at 9:42 am

We travel with dog … it was a choice we made 2 years back. We chose the tiny size for that reason. In cabin flying is better for Monte. He’s also my service dog. For me – leaving him behind. Is. Not. An. Option. so … we work around that. So far it has been great. I don’t really talk about him as a service dog – I write my blog for those who wish to travel with their small pet. In the end having him with us has been an extraordinary bonus. My heart breaks when I read these – but you did good by them. Found them a good home. That is all that matters now.

Reply

Kim October 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Leaving the dogs was terrible. Still is, when I think about it. But they are so happy with their grandparents. They are being spoiled like crazy. We skype with them and they have no idea what is going on, but they look happy. We are blessed that my in-laws were kind enough to take the dogs in. We honestly would not be doing this without them.

Reply

Ross - Travel Scratchers October 6, 2012 at 11:36 am

We did the same thing with our dog! Found her a few months before leaving for our trip – we immediately fell in love with her, and fortunately my parents agreed to watch her until we return from our adventure (which just started 2 weeks ago!). I’m sure your dogs are happily being spoiled by their “grandparents” as is ours.

I really like your writing and blog – maybe we’ll run into you somewhere :)

Reply

Kim October 7, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Congrats on the beginning of your adventure!! Our dogs are being ridiculously spoiled by their grandparents. I’m sure that when we return they won’t want anything to do with us!

Reply

Cynthia December 18, 2012 at 3:30 am

Awww, here I thought I was the only one counting days before I leave on a trip and after I take off on a trip because I miss my dog so much. I am lucky, like you, to have family so willing to take care of my baby. I am trying not to get too anxious before my trip (it’s only 13 days but it feels like eternity) and I have already told myself that when I get back home, my doggie and I will take a nap together like always! x Thank you for your story, it gives me alot of strenth as I embark on a mini trip for christmas!

Reply

Koren December 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Would you have left them if someone you knew wouldn’t have taken them?

Reply

Ashley May 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I am going through this very thing right now. In August we will be moving to China for a whole year and the thought of leaving our baby (dog) for that long is heart wrenching! I am hoping that it will get easier as time goes by but I find myself thinking things like – will he remember us when we come back? Will he be sad and think that we abandoned him because of something he did wrong? Will something happen to him while we are away? And, of course, I feel like nobody can care for him like I can. I see that a lot of people are also dealing with this, so, how do all of you cope?

Reply

Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:03 am

Ashley, I feel for you. We get to see our babies in a month and I am so excited! I will definitely make sure to write about how the react to the whole thing- if they remember us, if they are mad at us, etc. I know our situation is unique but I feel really good about the whole thing. I know our dogs are being taken good care of and I know they are happy. It is really, REALLY hard though.

Reply

Naomi May 6, 2013 at 6:36 am

I thought my dog would cope when I went away in 2008/09 and although she was spoilt rotten she actually got depressed and missed me terribly. I was devastated when I got back to see how distressed she was, and it took her a long time to recover. I had to stop hosting couchsurfers because she’d think I was leaving again (strangers in the house with baggage = house sitter, she’s a smart dog!!). I’m now in the situation of taking maximally 2-3 month trips until she passes on because I can’t do that to her again. She turns 15 on Sunday – talk about making my life hell!! I never expected her to live this long, and it has affected my travel plans, but in the end, once I leave my job I’ll never be going back, so maybe I should thank her for still being alive and forcing me to save for longer!
I guess you’re lucky in having 2 dogs, because they keep each other company. My girl enjoys staying with the neighbours when I go away because they are part of her pack so she misses me less.
Even though they’re being spoilt rotten by the grandparents they’ll definitely want you back. Nothing like the unconditional love of a pooch.

Reply

Kim May 24, 2013 at 6:15 am

Ah, that is terrible your poor (old!) pup. I think that having two does help because they have each other. As far as I can tell they have coped wonderfully. It was actually a worse transition for them to move from our house (when we sold it) to an apartment. Then we moved them again ten months later to the in-laws house where they had a lot of room and were happy. Argh, it is hard, isn’t it?

Reply

Annie @ Oranje Explorers July 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm

This post made me feel very sad, although my golden retriever Abby passed away before I left traveling I can certainly imagine how difficult it was for you. Even if they were going to be happy as anything, it must have been very hard on you. I think I saw that you were back home now, if you leave again have you ever considered bringing the dogs with you? We have been traveling now for 3 years and I couldn’t bare to not have a pup any longer so we adopted a King Charles Cavalier and now we are traveling as a pack! :)

Reply

Kim July 24, 2013 at 9:20 am

Hello! Yes, we are back home again and have been reunited with our pups (it has been wonderful). No, unfortunately on our next leg we won’t be able to bring the dogs. They are very old and cannot fly. Plus, they are very big dogs! So that makes it harder. But if they are still around after our SE Asia leg they will be coming with us after that.

Reply

Amber August 31, 2013 at 8:30 am

Thank you so much for writing this, I do not feel so crazy with my guilt and ever present grief.
My husband and I are in San Fran for the americas cup. We knew we were coming a year ago and I began the process of organising our beloved cat Pookie to come with us for the 5 months. I had an export company that was helping with getting her to the us and then back to New Zealand.
To my utter horror and devastation, I found out that despite me double checking, she was not given the essential rabies jab she needed to get home to nz.
We have to go back to nz at the end of sept….and we have to leave her behind for 6 months.
I was inconsolable, a complete mess. With luck on our side a very old sailing friend of mine has come forward to offer her a home and love with her kitty muss muss, who needs a pal.
The perfect solution, but I still feel ridden with guilt and so sad every day when I know we are running out of time until I have to take her to San Diego and say goodbye for those dreaded 6 months.
But she will be ok, she will have an interesting time and she will be on her way back to us in nz soon.
But it still hurts so bad, how do you get over this?

Reply

Kim September 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Oh, I’m sorry Amber :( You know, I just got over it by telling myself that I was mostly sad for ME and that the dogs were happy, loved and well-cared for (and that they didn’t miss me in the same way that I missed them). It sucked for me, but knowing they were happy and spoiled made it okay.

Reply

Emma September 30, 2013 at 6:05 am

I am preparing to travel to america as an aupair in a few months but i can’t bare to leave my cat and 2 rats, especially knowing that theres an extremely high chance that my rats will pass away while i’m gone, and when my dad travels, there will be no one to look after my cat :(
it’s seriously making me so depressed :( i feel like a caged bird so ready to explore the world and not be tied down but i also feel responsible for these little lives i promised i would care for, forever.
i don’t know what to do :( ?!

Reply

Alice October 17, 2013 at 5:40 am

I’ve just been searching the internet to find out if anybody else feels this way about travelling and came across this! Your words are both comforting and heartbreaking!

I’ve been counting down the days to go travelling since January and after finally booking my flight I’m questioning everything I’m doing! Without my dog I would never be who I am now, she really dragged me out of some bad times and without her I would never have the strength to go. I know the experience will be incredible and life changing, but right now all I want to do is cuddle my dog and never leave her. I know they live day to day, and my mum has promised to love and care for her as much as I would so she will be happy. It’s just sad to know I won’t be there with her for such a long time :( if she could talk she would probably tell me to go, have fun and leave her plenty of new toys!

Reply

Grace January 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm

I completely understand deeply. I’m laying here crying right now because I leave tomorrow and won’t see my Riley for 7 days and I don’t know how to do it. She would want you to be happy. I hope everything went smoothly and your experience ended up being positive. I’m so glad I found this tonight. We love our doggies so much.

Reply

heather December 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I actually googled this topic because I’m going through this at the moment. I have been planning to quit my job in summer and move to Thailand for a year to teach English and do some volunteer work with animals. Recently I was laid off so I thought, “I guess I’m going a little sooner than expected!” It’s a lot to put together but all the pieces were there and I have it all figured out – what to do with the car, who will take the cat and who will take the dog, etc… All I have to do is sign up for the course and buy the ticket. Every day this week I tell myself I’m going to sign up for the course today… But I can’t do it. I can’t leave my pets! I’m single and have been living with only these two for a couple of years now. This past year I moved to a new city so I really haven’t had anybody else around. They are everything to me. The dog will actually be happier with my parents, I think, as she’ll have a huge property to run around on, another dog to play with, long walks with my dad and more attention. With me she’s home alone with the boring old cat all day while I work, though we do jog every morning. The cat is getting old and he is my snuggle buddy. We’ve been together for ten years and I hate to think he could go while I’m gone.

So that’s it. This is my dilemma. Everything is all ready for me to go, and I have no idea what in the hell I would do if I stayed in the US (my field is just no longer an option as I’ve been laid off 3x in the past 3 years with company-wide RIFs). I don’t know what I will do. I really don’t!

Thanks for writing about this topic and allowing me to anonymously spill my sadness.

Reply

Kim December 6, 2013 at 12:19 am

Oh Heather, I understand. I really do! I experienced the same fears. I cried so much about it! But I can say now that much of that worrying was in vain. Our dogs (who are old but still alive!) are happy with Brian’s parents. When we came back to visit they took right to us again but we have left once more and they are settled into their old routine.

I know this sounds terrible, but actually it’s a blessing, that once you’re out traveling you won’t think about it so much. You’ll miss them but the feeling won’t be as intense.

Reply

Grace January 4, 2014 at 10:06 pm

I’m so glad I found this. I got my dog a month before I was assaulted in the line of duty and was hurt really bad. My dog has been right by my side ever since. I’m leaving for LA for 7 days and being away from him is gonna kill us both. We were apart once for 4 days and Dad said he wouldn’t even eat. I couldn’t sleep and neither could my dog. I leave tomorrow and I’m laying here in tears looking at him and praying God will make him happy with Papaw while I’m gone and bring me back safely to him. I don’t know how to be away from him. I just don’t know how. My Dad can’t skype or anything like that either. He’s older and he won’t learn. I wish I had someone to talk to about this, I feel so alone. I couldn’t imagine putting him on the bottom of a plane all terrified and then being in our hotel room all day while I’m at meetings for 7 days and where we are staying they won’t even let him stay. So I couldn’t take him at all. I’m just broken. I don’t know how to handle this. Sorry for rambling it’s just that not many people would understand this and nowadays friends won’t talk on the phone, they just text. I just needed to talk to someone who would understand and I know y’all will. Thank you and again I’m sorry for rambling.

Reply

Kim January 5, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Hi Grace, my heart really goes out to you. What we found was that after a few days our dogs adjusted quite well. We were away for a whole year and they fell into the routine of their new life. When we finally made it back they were excited to see us, but mostly uninterested! When we used to leave for vacation for a week or so the dogs wouldn’t eat for a few days- so I think that is normal at least. You know that your dog is being loved and well cared for and you’ll be home quickly to love her again. Good luck.

Reply

jane January 7, 2014 at 10:55 am

I start to cry when I read the line that your dog has exactly same name as my dog…I understand all of your feeling since I did similar thing before I left for traveling.

Reply

Kim January 8, 2014 at 5:44 pm

It is/was hard but I’m happy to report that the dogs are still very happy living with grandma and grandpa. Happy ending!

Reply

tracey January 31, 2014 at 2:15 pm

i need advice. my husband has got a job in new zealand. we have two adopted grehounds which i love with all my heart and soul. at first there was no doubt they would cone with us. however the ither day it dawned on me my eldest grey is 11. she hates going in the car for ten minutes and gets mega stressed. it means a 5 hour car journey to heathrow a 30 day stay in kennels and then a flight and a board for 10 days at new zealand. can i put her thro it? aftet a heart to heart with my very dear friend she offered to look after them. i cant split them up. so if tammi stays pluto stays too. she has a grey of her own and they are playmates. its breaking my heart at the thought of leaving them behind in the uk. am i being selfish. i adore them.

Reply

Kim February 1, 2014 at 6:42 am

Hi Tracey, I feel you. Ultimate the decision is yours but I suppose if it was me I would choose to do the thing that is easier on the dogs. You are very blessed that you have a friend who will watch your beloved dogs and who also has a dog that your dogs love. I know it is a hard decision but you are luckier than most. We left our dogs and let me tell you it was incredibly hard but the dogs are SO HAPPY. Their new life is perfect for them and that is all that matters to me, even though it is hard to watch them choose my husband’s parents (who they are living with) over us now.

Reply

tracey February 1, 2014 at 9:43 am

hi kim thank you. my friend is amazing and i will miss her also. we are going to give it a trial run before i decide what to do….if they settle with my friend and she is happy too i think my decision wull be made. if my babies or my friend are unhappy then i will take a chance they greys will come to nz.

Reply

Kim February 1, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Hi Tracey, good luck with everything. I’m sure it will work out and your dogs will be very happy and well loved.

Reply

tracey February 2, 2014 at 1:17 pm

hi kim il let u know what happens. thank you.

Brittany March 16, 2014 at 6:18 pm

I’m in love with my pup, but have been fortunate that she stays 3-4 months out the year already with other people (because of my work schedule). It really does take a village to raise a pet!
Brittany recently posted..Portrait of Outhouse Life (disclaimer: nudity)

Reply

Kim March 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm

We are so lucky (and grateful) to have my in-laws who take such wonderful care of our babies while we are traveling.

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 8 trackbacks }