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 Jonathan, Ennis, Fry, and myself moving down to Orange last week, we were noticeably short one member of our family in the form of Peekay da Dog…
After many discussions and a difficult decision, we chose to have Peekay stay behind with my parents… who are now, officially, his parents. It’s not something we came to lightly. The reason I’m sharing this with you here is because you would undoubtedly notice the absence of our third, furry child.
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.
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. Jonathan 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 confusing and somewhat violent hatred between Peekay and our cat, Fry. 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.
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 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 lot. 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 on a sad note, here are two crummy-but-cute phone camera snapshots of Peekay, one with a brain slug on his head and one where he’s yawning/singing for a metal band: