Thursday, August 9, 2012


I want to avoid this sounding or looking like a eulogy of some kind, so I'll start by saying this: Peekay, our Australian Shepherd, is not dead or gone or anything close to that sort of thing. He is alive and wonderfully cute, healthy, and sheddy.

That being said, with Jon, Ennis, Fry, and myself moving down to Orange last week, we were short one member of our family in the form of Peekay da Dog. We chose to have Peekay stay behind with my parents... who are now, officially, his parents too. This is a discussion we had one hundred times since leaving Seattle and one that we have not taken lightly. The reason I'm sharing this with you here is because you would undoubtedly notice the absence of our third, furry child in subsequent picture-posts about me hanging out with our animals, since that's pretty much how I spend my time.

The fact is, Peekay is a part of our family and that will never change. If it were impossible for my parents to take him with enthusiastic and open arms, he would be coming with us, no question; he would never be "given up" under any circumstances, and I'm trying to not think of this decision as equating to that. This is one of those situations that I feel every life-long pet owner will likely face sooner or later. It's not a matter of asking, "Do we really want this animal living with us?" but rather: "Is living with us really what's going to make this animal happy and healthy?"

The answer to that, for us, in Peekay's case, was simple: No. He would absolutely be happier and healthier staying in Livermore with my parents and their dog, Maggie, my parent's mini-Aussie.

So the decision has many parts, starting with an obvious one: our new apartment only allows two animals. This could have been worked around; we've kept a cat hidden in our apartment before. Jon wasn't thrilled about having a stowaway again, but we accepted that it'd be fine in order to keep us all together.

Then, a few months ago, there was an unexpected development in the form of a sudden and quite confusing hatred between Peekay and our cat, Fry... and, weirdly, it's a hatred that is only present about half the time. (The other 50% of their lives were relatively amicable, though certainly not loving.) We're not sure who started what, but it's obvious that Peekay lives in fear of Fry on an almost constant basis. Fry loves everyone, including Ennis and Maggie, but every once in a while he chases Peekay down, swatting and clawing and spitting at him, and, unfortunately, on more than one occasion, Peekay has fought back.

We don't place blame on either one of them (OK, I'm lying: it's Fry's fault), but the fact is, Peekay is scared and that makes me very sad. Since it is not an "every time they see each other" kind of thing, it was really hard to diagnose; we couldn't figure out how to train the fear out of Peekay, and we certainly didn't harbor any illusions that Fry's bitchy attitude could be removed. (Please. He's a cat.)

In the end, our decision is what it is. It was about the realization that with my parents, Peekay would get the full attention he deserved rather than constantly competing with two additional affection-hungry animals. They can provide him the space necessary for a larger dog who loves to run and jump and lounge in the garden outside. Plus, he and Maggie get along swimmingly, and I'm certain that he will thrive without Ennis' high-anxiety barking fits.

A calm and quiet environment will do wonders for him, and I know it's a better fit in the long term.

Now that we're down here, though, I'm realizing it's going to be much harder than I thought. It also seems to be harder on Ennis than I anticipated. He's had a constant doggie companion for two and a half years. He loves Fry (they're best friends), but Peekay is his brother. Maybe it's just me transferring my feelings onto Ennis, but there you have it.

I miss Peekay. I miss him a whole hellova lot. Last night was the first time ever, actually, where I realized that Ennis just couldn't give me the kind of love and affection that Peekay could, and I wished Peekay were the one sitting with me instead of Ennis. Anyone who knows me and my relationship with him will tell you that this is surprising, since my little brown boober is the most important non-human creature of my entire life. But there is just this constant desire in Peekay to be near others—anyone, really—so when you're in need of some unadulterated and unconditional love, there just isn't another dog that can deliver that like Peekay does.


With the hopes of not ending this like the Debbie Effing Downer that I apparently am, here are two crummy-but-cute camera snapshots of Peekay, one with a brain slug on his head and one where he's yawning/singing for a metal band:

And lastly, here is the first picture we ever took of our three furry kids together:


  1. Oh, darling. What a hard thing to do, but how right you are in what you say as far as why the decision had to be made as such. Peekay gets to have even more fambly love and you know he would give you the butt-waggliest kisses to remind you he loves you, too. Oh, our furry babies.

  2. Awww, Peekay! He's the most darling sweetheart, and he'll be so happy with a bigger yard, bigger house, and Maggie to play with. It's really tough to consider what is best for your pets instead of relying on human selfishness. Sometimes animals don't get along, and it's important not to force it. And hey, who knows?? Things may settle down someday, and he could be brought back into the fold. Plus, it's not like he won't crash occasionally for weekend visits. ;)

    Oh, and that first picture makes me want to punch him. He's so goofy! What a snuggle-bug. <3