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Eats/Exercise + Dog Update

It finally feels like October over here! We are enjoying some lovely crisp mornings and cooler temps and I don’t hate it. :)

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This week would be reeeeeally nice running weather, but since I can’t run right now I’m enjoying the sunrise views while driving to studio workouts with Chelsea instead. :) The above shot was in Georgetown on Tuesday morning when we were on our way to Definitions studio (via ClassPass as always – that’s my affiliate link for $40 off). I love Georgetown in the early mornings – it’s so peaceful and quiet, unlike later in the day.

We met up with our third workout musketeer, Kathleen, at the studio, and had a great workout as always! Here’s a reenactment of a couple of the moves we did, taken after class!

definitions dc workout

The move Kathleen and I are doing involved hopping over and placing the blocks on the pile on the other side – when you get low on one side, you switch and start moving the blocks the other way. It’s fun – feels productive and organized in a weird way. ;) And the side to side jumping (unlike up and down jumping) felt fine, so I didn’t need to modify which was nice!

Post-workout and post-shower Kathleen and I grabbed spinach and feta quiches and lattes at Baked and Wired next door before heading on to our respective offices. Their quiches aren’t my fave in the area (pregnancy has made me quite the quiche connoisseur – my #1 is the veggie quiche from Buzz Bakery in Ballston), but it was still good!


baked and wired quiche

I’m cancelling my co-working space membership at the end of the month so I only have a couple more weeks of working downtown – I’ll really miss it (I’ve been going to the same one in Dupont Circle for almost 3 years now!), but it didn’t make sense to pay for all of November when the baby could come early. And after that I’ll just have to play it by ear! It may make sense to do a co-working space closer to home… we’ll see. I’ll definitely have to figure out something though because I know I don’t do well working from home alone all day (this extrovert gets lonely and bummed out without people interaction/being out and about in the world), even though it would certainly be more convenient (and free).

Sidenote – I hope it doesn’t get cold enough that I actually need to button/zip up my jackets, because obviously right now that’s not an option! ;) ALSO – I hadn’t worn or even tried on this sweater before (it’s a hand me down maternity one) and when I put it on at the gym yesterday after the workout I realized it’s a little bit see-through and I was wearing a black bra. Fail. Live and learn! The pants are also maternity – ones I got at Old Navy very early on in the pregnancy when buttoning up pants was already really uncomfortable!

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And now, I wanted to share a dog update, because I know you guys have very kindly been following our journey with them lately. If you missed the back story, check out the “mood” section in my 32 week pregnancy update and my 34 week pregnancy update before reading on, or you’re probably going to be a bit confused.

Our sweet friends came back from their 2 week board and train program on Monday night. <3 As much as the peace and quiet at the house was nice over the past couple weeks (Zara especially enjoyed it), it was so nice to see their little faces again – we really missed them.

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Look at them being so good staying “on place.” :)

For those who are local looking for something similar, we used the DC Dog Wizard for the board and train program and highly recommend him – he was awesome. He actually ended up keeping the dogs 3 extra nights for free to do a little more with them (we were supposed to get them back on Friday night) – it made me feel better that even he said these two in particular are a hard pair when together because they really feed off each other out on the walks in terms of bad behaviors.

So – in terms of the walks, they are MUCH better and actually heel to our left! Ashe is no longer dragging behind and wrapping you up in the leash as she wanders all over the place/is nervous, and Freyja is no longer tugging ahead/ripping your arm off. Scott, the Dog Wizard, spent hours with us on Monday night walking all around with them so we could practice the new skills, and it was definitely a TON easier. There were a few times when I was trying to walk them solo when things still got a little crazy passing another dog, but we also had a lot of instances where we were able to calmly pass other dogs with no flipping out (Freyja has leash aggression, and Ashe copies her if they are together – she doesn’t do it on her own). Matt and I were also both really impressed by their ability to go to “place” and actually stay there – that never happened before!

ashe and freyja

So, we feel a lot more confident out walking them now, and it’s much easier than it used to be, although I’m still not sure I’d feel 100% comfortable walking them totally on my own (and especially once I have a baby strapped to me) because if I lose focus for a minute and they do get out of hand, they are really strong and I can’t always control them once things have escalated, which makes me nervous. It’s also a lot to manage trying to keep both of them in line at the same time – the Dog Wizard uses a light vibration collar when training dogs, which they both responded really well to and don’t seem to have any negative associations with (we were really hesitant about this, but we tried the “treat only” approach for 4 months with all the other trainers and it worked for basic obedience tricks but not when out on walks/highly distracted or agitated). But to use the collar with both of them at once, we have to toggle back and forth between the dogs using a remote and it’s a lot, especially if things are starting to escalate because there’s another dog coming.

In a lot of ways, this training has made it harder to make our decision about whether to re-home Ashe, as I thought it might. She’s definitely better on the walks, and we had a Postmates delivery guy bring food on Monday night and we were able to get her to relatively calmly stay “on place” in the house (although the guy didn’t actually come inside), and Matt and I are both really tempted to try to make this work. But at the same time, Ashe’s territorial behavior in the house is still an issue because we won’t always be here to manage the situation, you know? I mean, I think it would still be really stressful and require a TON of constant monitoring to have people over to make sure she never got the opportunity to be aggressive. (We were supposed to have a friend stay here this week, but he ended up deciding on a hotel, so we won’t have that test run opportunity after all – probably for the best, though…) But what happens when we aren’t home? We’re going to need to have babysitters at some point with the baby. And I know my mom will be coming over to watch the baby some without us here, and she won’t feel comfortable with Ashe here too. And like I said before, what about if we need to leave for the hospital during the night? No one else can come to our house and let Ashe out/take her to dog daycare. And what if we want to get a nanny because we can’t get into any daycares? There’s no way we can ask a nanny to walk both dogs AND our baby at once – and it would make me nervous to have her alone with with them, too. Ugh.

We’ve been talking to the (amazing) rescue organization, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, who we got Ashe from in Asheville. As I mentioned, we realized to our dismay that per our adoption contract if we don’t keep her we have to return her to them vs. finding her another home directly (I’m sure they do this because it’s better for them to manage the situation, but it still makes me sad that she won’t be settled in a new home immediately). This was also a problem because Asheville is 8 hours away, and we have a baby due in a month (but obviously she could come early). At first, the rescue organization said they could likely find a volunteer that would meet us halfway to pick her up, which was amazing enough – but they contacted us last weekend and said they actually have someone willing to drive ALL the way to our house to pick her up and bring her back for us. They are truly incredible – I’m so grateful to them for working with us, and it makes me feel a lot better that they are willing to do so much for one dog, you know? Obviously that means she will be well cared for during her time with them if they are willing to go to such lengths to get her back.

So, as of right now the plan is that the volunteer is able to pick her up from us on Sunday morning, and if we want to change our mind we need to let them know by tomorrow. Even just typing this is making me cry, as you can imagine. And I’m working from home right now so when I do cry, Ashe hears me and comes in to comfort me, which makes me cry even harder. You guys – I’m such a mess. I hate the idea of our sweet pup driving away from us so much, and Sunday feels so soon, and I hate that she will be so far away that we may never get to see her again. But we are really running out of time over here and Matt and I are both just so torn on what to do – it’s so tempting to say, no, don’t take her, let’s try to figure this out. And we would absolutely do that if we didn’t have the baby coming so soon. But realistically and more rationally we also know that our attention is about to be very divided, and all it takes is 5 seconds of us not managing the Ashe situation for someone to get hurt. And with the baby on the way there are going to be so many people in and out and situations that will be really stressful and hard to manage like the stuff I talked about above. But it’s so, so hard because she’s such a sweet, loving pup, and so wonderful in so many ways. We really love Freyja, and I know we will get more and more attached to her over the years, but right now she still feels a bit like my brother’s dog (which makes sense, since she was his for many years – we adopted her from him permanently when he headed off to grad school), and Ashe really feels like “ours.” I mean, I fell in love with her the minute I saw her in Asheville back in the spring, and I’ve only gotten more and more attached to her ever since.

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I’ve been trying to make myself feel better by reminding myself how far Ashe has come since we got her back in May thanks to all the training we have done and the love and attention we have given her. When we first got her, she was so fearful and anxious on walks we couldn’t even go half a block with her many days because she was so scared and would lag behind us, especially if only one of us was walking her vs. both of us. She also wasn’t house trained, didn’t know any basic obedience commands, etc. I know that nothing we have done for or with her has been a waste because we have given her so many new skills and training that will only help her in her new home, and we also gave her a lot of love and fun adventures, too.

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I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and maybe we were meant to get Ashe this far, and to give her a really great foundation that someone else without a new baby and a big life change on the way can continue to build on. And who knows – if we never got Ashe, we would have known basically nothing about dogs when we got Freyja later in the summer, and we probably would have let her totally steamroll us and not done any training or obedience stuff with her because we would have been so clueless. We certainly wouldn’t have sent just Freyja alone to the board and train, that’s for sure, and that training was incredible for improving her leash skills and making walking with her a lot more enjoyable.

So, I guess all this rambling is just me trying to say, I guess things happen for a reason, and as of now even though we are really torn we are sticking with the plan for Ashe to leave us on Sunday morning. I have a feeling I’m going to spend most of the next few days and the weekend crying, but I think in the long run it’s the best decision for both us and for Ashe, and I know she will be happy without us. It’s just really sad in the meantime and so hard to not second guess it. I’m going to miss her sweet face and those soft big ears so, so much. <3

Hi guys… edited to add that I am going to turn off any further comments on this post. I understand and respect that some of you do not agree with our decision, and it is your right to have a different opinion. Trust me, everything you are saying is all stuff I’ve already said to myself. 

Comments

  1. 1

    Sending lots of hugs your way as you say good-bye to Ashe! I know it’s hard right now, but you’ll enjoy not having that additional stress when you’re dealing with a newborn and visitors to your place.

  2. 2

    As someone who adopted a difficult dog, your posts about the dog seem extremely out of touch. It seems like you didn’t think this through at all and now are playing sad. On top of this, you guys are not even driving Ashe back yourselves. Rescues typically make it pretty clear you have to return the dog to them. If you haven’t already, may I suggest you offer to pay for Ashe’s care while she is at the rescue and on top of a contribution for the volunteer’s 16 hours of driving time.

    • 3

      I know that you will find my comment to be upsetting, but my thoughts are with that poor little dog. We recently adopted a puppy in November after losing our beloved dog of 11 years. Our new puppy came to us as a stray from the streets in California. He needed a home but he also came with his little quirks and issues. But we have worked through them with him and tried to provide him with as much understanding and patience as possible. I know this is hind sight, but maybe getting a puppy (and taking on your brother’s) and having a baby was a little too much to take on. This saying always sticks in my mind when people adopt puppies “a puppy is for life not just for Christmas”.
      I am sorry if you find my comments to be upsetting, but too many people don’t put enough thought into an animals life when they adopt and then change their mind and return the animal. I think of how that poor animal feels being returned to the shelter, wondering what it did wrong?

      • 4

        You’re right – it was too much to take on, although we didn’t know that Ashe would have territorial aggression, and that’s been the main issue. But still, you’re right that we should have thought things through more, and trust me, I feel like complete shit that we are not honoring our commitment to adopt her permanently.

    • 5

      Wow. Nasty much? While it is a sucky situation, they are doing what they think is best for them and Ashe. Ashe is aggressive towards anyone who isn’t her “pack” when they enter the house. There is no way they can have an aggressive dog in their house with a baby and all of the people they will have coming in and out. Obviously they wouldn’t have adopted Ashe if they had known about these issues in advance. Why make her feel worse about it than she already does? And she’s due in a month, she could go into labor at any time! I wouldn’t want my husband being 8 hours away from me either that close to my due date!

      • 6

        I’ve read all the posts about the dog and close to no responsibilities has been taken for creating this situation. They adopted two dogs at once with a baby on the way while apparently failing to read the contract they signed. I know what it is like to have a rescue that is aggressive – I have actually worked with DC Dog Wizard as well. Had they thought this out a bit more, I would have more sympathies, but they didn’t and now want someone else (a volunteer) to help clean up by driving 16 hours. It is ridiculous how over the top this post is.

        • 7

          Get off your high horse. If there were some indication Ashe had these issues, I’m sure they would have “thought about it more”. How do you suggest they return Ashe to the rescue? Maybe stop and ask yourself where your overwhelming need to chastise an emotionally distraught pregnant woman facing an incredibly painful situation stems from. Good for you for being such a beacon of righteousness, but you’re failing at being a decent human being with your stunning lack of empathy.

          • 8

            But Anne JUST said that when they first met/got Ashe, she was out of control and had had no training. This was not a surprise, it was thoughtlessness and carelessness on her part.

            • 9

              Not being trained in obedience and showing signs of aggression are not the same thing.

            • 10

              She was not out of control, she was just a puppy that hadn’t been trained in obedience. When I met her in the Asheville coffee shop, she came right up to me and snuggled me – very weird now that I know how fearful she is of strangers. We didn’t see any indication that she would be aggressive/territorial later on.

        • 11

          Sam, you seem to be really hung up on the whole driving portion of this. Anne did say that the rescue offered to work with them given their unique situation. I volunteer at a shelter and this is the sort of thing we would try to organize to help out and ensure that the dog came back to us. Every situation is different, and I think it is amazing that the rescue is willing to help them out!

          Though, Anne, I’m sure you’ve thought of this but a donation or something to recognize the time and effort the volunteer is spending sure would be a nice gesture if you can afford it :)

          • 12

            Thank you Jen. And yes, we have absolutely already offered to pay for all costs the volunteer has, and to pay for their time, too. We also are going to give a large donation to the rescue, and are going to pay for any expenses Ashe has while she is there.

            • 13

              I don’t think you could even offer anything more. Good luck on Sunday, it’ll suck, but you will survive!

    • 14

      Way to kick someone when they are down. I actually lived with an aggressive dog (my old roommate’s), who sounds very similar to Ashe. There were 4 of who worked incredibly hard to train him from the time he was a puppy- we were consistent, we hired dog trainers, we put in the work. Before this, I always thought people with “bad dogs” were just bad owners- this totally changed my perspective. Just like people, dogs have personalities, issues that run deep. This dog was great with us, his “pack” but can definitely not be trusted with strangers. He makes it impossible for my friend to have company the dog doesn’t know. Anne, you sound like you have a very realistic perspective of what life with this dog will be like- it will be a constant struggle that at best you may be able to manage with a ton of effort, at worst will lead to a scary and dangerous situation that will break your heart. There is no shame, especially with all your changes you’ll be dealing with, in choosing the path you have. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. It’s ok to be sad about it, but remember the dog will get over it long before you do. You’re doing what’s best for yourself and your family. Sending positive vibes.

      • 15

        I’ve had to put an aggressive dog down before after I was attacked and I was already his second owner (and I still love him to pieces) – so yes, I understand that it isn’t always the owner. BUT, I am falling to see where she has taken responsibility – let’s get a rescue, plus another dog while we are having a baby? And, now we can’t take the dog back (oops, did we sign a contract that said we would?). Come on, being pregnant is not an excuse.

      • 16

        Thank you Amy. <3

    • 17

      It’s not that we were upset about having to bring her back to Asheville logistically or because it was an inconvenience to us – it’s that we hoped we could find her a happy home directly. If we were not in a timeline where the baby could come any day, we would take her back ourselves. We feel terrible having a volunteer come all this way and have already offered to pay for any expenses they have in addition to for their time. And we are making a large donation to the rescue org, too, and paying for any of Ashe’s expenses while she is there. I know that this is the least we can do.

    • 18

      I agree 100%. I think poor Ashe will be more upset than you know that is being taken away from what she has gotten used to. The decision to get her should have been thought through a little more, considering you have a baby on the way and were taking on another dog and you don’t like to stay home much. I’m not bashing you, but I think what we’re looking for here is maybe an “I was WRONG” post instead of playing the victim and claiming this is a case of “everything happens for a reason.”

  3. 19
    Roadrunner says:

    This clearly is s very difficult and emotional; however, you appear to have made the right decision, however tough it is…. You really had no alternative and did everything possible to avoid having to give up Ashe. So, I send strength and fortitude!

  4. 20

    We ended up having to give away our dog (to my in-laws) when our children were infants because he just couldn’t handle the commotion of the babies. He was becoming territorial and growling at them and even though we loved him we knew it was best for him and our family if he lived somewhere else. We still feel guilty about this 8 years later but today he’s totally happy and spoiled in his new home. I’m sure Ashe will end up in a wonderful, loving new home – and her odds of finding that are so much greater thanks to all the attention and training from you and Matt.

  5. 22

    Thinking of you as you make this tough decision! I do think you know what is best and before your baby comes will be easier in many ways. I also wanted to share that I am due the day after thanksgiving so we are just about the same along and we are having a small issue with our son at day care and I am a complete emotional mess. I know being pregnant is making it much worse! Make sure you try to breathe and remember that when you are crying. You are making an important decision for your family and doing the right thing, but hormones SUCK!

    • 23

      Pregnancy emotions are tough… everything is more intense. Hang in there, and congratulations on your impending new arrival as well. :)

  6. 24

    Hang in there mama. We went through a different, but similar in how tough it was, situation with one of our dogs we’d had for almost 10 years this summer and it was the hardest thing i’ve ever done. I cried for a week straight. I don’t have any advice…just reminding you it’s ok to cry :) xo

  7. 26

    It’s so hard to let go of animals. We dogsitted my aunt’s dog for 3 months and got pretty attached. But from what I’ve seen, dogs are pretty happy with who ever feeds and loves them. Ashe will be great wherever she goes. Also, your sentence “There’s no way we can ask a nanny to walk both dogs AND our baby at once – and it would make me nervous to have her alone with with them, too. Ugh” made me laugh because the way you worded it made it seem like the nanny was going to walk your baby. :)

  8. 28

    I pretty much cried for you while reading this! I’m sure this has been such a hard decision. Dogs are often our “first babies” after all. However, you have to do what’s best for your family and Ashe and it sounds like you’ve made the best decision as hard as it may be. Sending you positive thoughts this weekend.

  9. 30

    I’m tearing up just reading this! It sounds like you and Matt are doing the right thing for your family by re-homing her, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult. Praying for you ❤️

  10. 32

    What a tough decision you are having to go through (I can only imagine the heartache as I have a pup of my own) and I know you are not doing this lightly. Perhaps think of it as you fostered Ashe. You gave her a wonderful life, helped with her training for future owners and now the rescue organization, which sounds amazing, knows what Ashe’s issues are. They can make sure they find a home that will be able to further work with her. You were able to help her in so many ways. I am sending you many hugs.

    Separate note – what a fun way to get in a workout with those side to side stackings. I can see how that would be therapeutic to organize them.

  11. 34
    Elizabeth F. says:

    I teared up reading this, and I know it must be such a hard decision for you and Matt to make. But, as so many have said above, you have to make the decision that’s best for your family (and for Ashe in the long run), and it sounds like that’s what you’re doing. Sending positive thoughts your way.

  12. 36

    Oh I am so so sorry! This breaks my heart, but you really are doing what is best for not only you both and your daughter but ultimately Ashe. She won’t understand at first, but your sacrifice could be in her best interest. As you stated, she will hopefully be given a home to someone or a couple who aren’t about to bring home a sweet new baby. She could then develop and mature without the worry of aggression and such. It’s a painful decision but one that I know you all did not take lightly. You are great people, know that. Many people just surrender their animals, but use fur-baby lovers know better. She’ll be a healthy, happy puppy. Hang in there!

  13. 38

    What a tough decision but you have to put your little one first. As much as our pets become one of the family, children come first for sure. You have given Ashe such a good home and that will only benefit her as she transitions to a new home. I agree with you that everything happens for a reason whether we understand it or not. Stay strong!

  14. 40

    Gosh, Anne. I’m crying reading this myself. I just can’t even imagine. It’s obvious this is SUCH a hard decision. Prayers for all of you that you have the strength to get through this and make the best of it. I know you are a great dog Mom and will be an even better human baby Mom. Mom’s have to make REALLY hard decisions at times for the betterment of the family. <3

  15. 41

    Things don’t ‘happen for a reason.’ Things happen, sometimes we can give them reason, sometimes we cannot. I know this is one of those phrases that gets thrown out there a lot, but please consider how hurtful it can be. Even if you are not saying it directly to a person, what if someone just lost their spouse? Child? Parent? Pet? Were diagnosed with a chronic illness? It can be very hurtful to hear this even not directly. Just food for thought.

    • 42

      It was not my intention for that comment to be hurtful – I’m so sorry that it was. I’ll think about this in the future before using that phrase again.

  16. 43

    Awe, love. Reading this is bringing a tear to my eye. I can’t even fathom the thoughts that are running through your head. The pregnancy hormones, and having to make such a difficult decision has got to be draining.
    I have been faced with a situation very similar. I had a dog who was my life for 6+ years prior to having my first child. When my daughter was about 10-11 months old, she was starting to crawl around and become more “interactive” My dog was starting to become more territorial, and had started nipping, which she had never done before. She had tried to nip several times after that over the next year. I, at that point, had had another child. My oldest was right around 2. Well needless to say, the dog ended up getting worse, and bit my 2 year old right in the face. Got a nice hole in her lip. At that point I had no choice but to re-home her. It was never going to get better. Dogs can be trained, and you can THINK they are going to be better, but if it’s there already, then it can, and likely will, always come back. The aggression I mean.

    I 100% know that you put so much thought and effort into this, but take it from me, if Ashe ended up biting your child, you would never ever be able to get over the guilt, and feeling of what if. or Why. Why didn’t we re-home her prior to this. This could have been avoided if…. You understand what I’m getting at.

    It sounds like you are working with a great company in terms of making Ashe’s transition back to NC as easy and painless as possible. There is another couple, or individual out there who can care for her as you and Matt have done since you got her.

    As for the nay-sayers, don’t listen to them. For someone to judge and say you didn’t think of the situation, and dogs are for life, clearly have never been faced with a situation as delicate as this one. You have to do what is right for you, Matt and most importantly your baby.

    You had absolutely no way of knowing this would happen, and you’ve done every thing in your power to try and make it work. PUsh the negative Nancy’s to the back burner.

    Stay strong, Sunday will suck, but you will get through it.

    Hugs

    • 44

      Thank you Briana. <3 I'm so sorry to hear that you had a similar situation that ended with your child getting hurt. My child or someone else's child getting hurt by Ashe is my biggest fear, and has been a big factor in this decision as we know we will certainly have kids in and out of the house in the future.

  17. 45

    Long time blog reader but I don’t comment much. I want to say you and Matt should be extremely PROUD of yourselves for making this decision. Raising a dog, is a lot of work and one who is aggressive that much more so. I dog sit for a friend with an aggressive dog and the rules/regulations and fear my friend has is a lot. I’m ok with the dog but I have to be careful and I can’t walk him. It’s this constant fine balance of ensuring no one gets hurts. You two are making an extremely difficult choice, but seeing firsthand, the stress of having an aggressive dog you are making the right one.

  18. 47
    Elizabeth Quill says:

    My doggie was returned to the shelter as a young dog and waited in the shelter for me to come along for another 7-8 months. Unfortunately I don’t think she was in as loving as a home as you’ve provided but she is the LIGHT of my life. I was able to train her and help her through her anxiety prior to having any kids (7 years with my sweet little lady and counting) and so I think Ashe may have the potential for a happy ending after all :) Also – I think there’s something about your anxiety that will fuel Ashe’s anxiety so probably better to go to a family with less going on.

  19. 49

    I totally feel for you!!! My husband and I had to give up a dog we adopted, too. She was great with me, but when my husband came home (he was in military training at the time so I had her for a bit on my own), she bit him. It was the scariest night of my life, she would jump up and bark any time he so much as moved. I was still so conflicted and sad to give her back, even though I knew we could not live like that. You’re doing the right thing- it will already be a big transition with the baby, it’s not worth it to have the extra stress of the dog. She will find a good home!

  20. 51

    I don’t think I’ve been as engaged in a topic on your blog in the like 6 years I’ve been reading it as I am in this one! I’ve been anxiously following along and hoping everything works out.

    And I have such mixed feelings on the topic. I *LOVE* dogs. I have four at home and I volunteer at a shelter (both supporting dog training and general shelter support activities). I do not believe in “returning a dog” – when you adopt a dog, you are making a commitment, just like you are when you choose to have a child or marry someone. However, I learned last year that it is not always cut and dry.

    So, generally speaking, I don’t believe in returning a dog. But, sometimes you have to. And sometimes that is the absolute best thing for you and your family.It would be unfair to keep Ashe but have to keep her in a crate all the time to protect your guests, or keep her boarded or keep her outside. She deserves better than that. And it’s clear that you and your husband understand that.

    Back in December, my husband and I adopted a dog from the local pound that was severely neglected and despite hiring special trainers, changing our entire lifestyle and doing every single thing the trainers recommended, the dog was extremely food and toy aggressive and ended up attacking one of our other dogs. My husband and I ended up with puncture wounds all over our hands trying to pry our little beagle out of the dog’s mouth. We had no choice but to bring her back and I was devastated that we couldn’t be the family to help her. I did put together a ton of materials for the shelter when I brought her back though (photos, content for facebook posts, a writeup about her personality, etc.) – perhaps you could do something like that for Ashe!?

    Anyway, this is a really, really long way to say, I understand, I know it’s hard. You have to do what’s right for Ashe and your entire family. And there was no way to know what sort of behavioral trials would appear in her once she was settled into your home. It’s clear from your posts that not only do you love her so much, but you gave it a really big try before deciding to bring her to the shelter. Best of luck with Ashe and the new baby on the way!

    • 52

      Thank you Jen. <3 That's a great idea re: writing up some materials for the shelter to help find her a new home. Thank you for that! I definitely want to do everything I can to make sure she is happy and ends up somewhere that's a better fit. <3

  21. 53

    Anne – hang in there and try not to let the negative voices out there sneak into your head and heart. I worked at a shelter and, while it is never anyone’s first choice, it is sometimes necessary for an animal to come back to the shelter. It is more responsible to return Ashe and give her the best opportunity to be re-homed as a young dog with a family that can work with her rather than having her get aggressive with and potentially bite someone. Any dog with those kinds of behaviors are not living their happiest life either. Hugs to you. Hang in there – you’re doing what is best for Ashe and that is not wrong!

  22. 55

    I have been really disappointed watching this sitauation with the dogs play out. It is harsh to hear, but it was very irresponsible to take on these two dogs when you knew your home situation was changing. If you know you can’t cope with potential issues, don’t adopt. Animals are not toys and it breaks my heart to think of what you are putting this animal through because of your own impulsivity. It’s important to know yourself and maybe you are not someone meant to be a pet owner. I won’t be reading here anymore. Even now you seem more focused on your own sadness about this and want justification and reassurance that you are making the right decision.

    • 56

      I’d say it’s fairly obvious her sadness is focused on missing this dog she has bonded with and her worry about the dog being scared and her future being uncertain and if she will be adopted. I feel very strongly about responsible pet ownership and adoption and the evidence here shows a lot of effort was put into training to make this work. What’s also irresponsible is if they were to keep a dog who could be a danger to someone. Because that is also unfair to the dog. Your comment is rude and unhelpful and also misguided.

  23. 57

    I’m trying to find the right words, and suffice to say: I’m glad I”ll be seeing you (and Ashe) real soon. I can’t even begin to imagine having to make this decision; my heart hurts so much for you guys, but you’re doing the best you can with what you have. That’s all we can ever do. <3

    On a lighter note: the jacket comment made me LOL because, for real. Imma need it to stay around 60 and my bump to stay comfortably within the sweatshirt I do have that happens to still fit. ;) Also, remember that one time we talked about sharing an office? Just saying…

    • 58

      Just say the word and we can be office buddies. :) And thank you for your kind comment – I’m so glad Ashe and Banana will get one more puppy play date <3

  24. 59

    Anne, I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with all of the hard dog decisions while pregnant. We bought a German Shepherd puppy when I was pregnant and then found out a month later he had a heart condition and he probably wouldn’t live for 6 months. We had to make the tough decision to return him to the breeder. Dealing with pregnancy hormones during all of that was AWFUL. But now that I’m on the other side, I can honestly say that once I had met my sweet baby, none of it even felt like a big deal anymore because my love for her was sooo much greater. Thinking about you!

    • 60

      Oh gosh, I’m so sorry Jean. <3

    • 61

      @Jean – “none of it even felt like a big deal anymore”… Wow! We just lost our little dog last November due to a heart condition. We went through two years of taking care of him after his heart murmur was detected and making sure he got proper medical care. In the last few weeks of his life, we witnessed him having collapsing in pain not being able to breathe – let me tell you, it was a big F-ING deal. Your lack of compassion comment is shocking to say the least!

  25. 62

    As someone older and with more life experience I just wanted to share that while I know the decision is a difficult one the likelihood that a dog will be re-homed with documented issues is sadly low. I too have a territorial/aggressive dog that we adopted from a rescue and fully understand your concerns and when my granddaughter was about to be born I had severe anxiety about it and considered returning him to the rescue but couldn’t do it..knowing his chances of a forever home would be minimal. I made a commitment to that dog at adoption to provide him the best life possible…he is part of our family and we love him. Yes, he has improved with age and yes, I do take pre-cautions but that is wise with any animal around a child no matter how safe you think they are. I am not sharing this to make you feel bad…just an honest opinion of what the future may hold for Ashe. I wish you all the best…

  26. 63

    That is such a tough situation with Ashe. It is so hard to make those decisions or now what the best/right decision is (or if there even really is one). I believe as well that things happen for a reason though and it will all work out. Hugs to you!

  27. 64

    Hi Anne – I have never left a comment before on your site, but I just wanted to say I look forward to reading your blog every day and I am so sorry to hear about the challenges you’ve had with your dogs. I adopted a dog from a shelter who was aggressive around other people, and even after 1.5 years of training she still has her moments. I love her to pieces, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to trust her 100%. You are doing the right thing and I’m sure she will find a new owner that loves her just as much as you do. All the best.

  28. 65

    I used to foster dogs for a local rescue and can honestly say you are making the right decision. It is very clear that you did all you could and actually did more than most people would in the same situation. We had dogs returned for similar reasons and everyone understood that sometimes the adoptions just don’t work out. I think Ashe will be easily re-homed as we had dogs in similar situations and there was no problem with them being adopted again.

  29. 66

    Be gentle to yourselves. Follow your instincts, which are usually right.
    The dog will be fine. And you can give yourself peace of mind. The greatest gift.
    Congratulations on your baby!! She’s a lucky, little girl. ❤️

  30. 67

    I am so sad for you and your husband in all of this. I think you’ve made the right decision. A dog with aggressive tendencies is not safe to have around a child and I think you’ve made the responsible choice in putting your daughter first. Welcome to parenthood :)

  31. 68

    This is Anne’s mom. I have to add to this dialogue and say that this is not a theoretical situation. I grew up in a family with dogs and am very comfortable with them. Obviously I have been to the house many times but Ashe has grown more territorial each time. Recently I went to let the dogs out when Anne was not there and it was obvious that if I went into the house beyond the kitchen I was going to get bitten by Ashe, who was in serious aggressive mode. I had to retreat without letting them out. No one in this family wants to risk Ashe causing a serious injury to anyone, and we fully supported both their extensive efforts to train her, and now the very difficult decision to re-home her. To those who question their decision, please know that has been an agonizing one for them.

    • 69

      Thanks for your input, Anne’s Mom. It sounds like a heartbreaking decision; sometimes we don’t know about a dog’s behavior before they settle in with us and it sounds like this was dangerous. Sorry that you’ve had to deal with the comments of some who are judging from afar. No one I know has gone into adopting a little furry one with the thought that they will just return him/her if things get rough. Sometimes things don’t work out in spite of our efforts and wishes. I wish you all the best and joy with the baby!

  32. 70
    Kirsten B says:

    You’re doing the right thing Anne. Please don’t beat yourself up too much! I would do the same thing in your shoes.

  33. 71

    I love you roomie :) I know how hard this is and you’re learning the biggest lesson in motherhood. You have to tune out sometimes and focus on your family. You do you and nothing else matters.

  34. 72

    Oh my gosh, I was reading through these comments, and some of them just broke my heart with how callous they are. Anne I think whatever you decide is the right decision. Yes it will be difficult for both you and Ashe, but ultimately, it will all work out for the best. This organization is so fantastic, and Ashe is going to have a wonderful life. Maybe one day you’ll even be reunited.
    Please don’t listen to anyone saying you F-ed up by adopting her. Yes you guys took on a lot, but I know full well that when you meet a creature that you just CONNECT with, you know you will try to do whatever it takes to make it work with them. And sometimes shit happens, and that’s just not enough. But don’t blame yourself. Sending lots of love, and I hope these next few days are filled with lots of moments of joy and cuddles with Ashe.

  35. 73

    It was clear – to everyone – that you were taking too much on, and who pays the price now? (I have to note that first your brother gave up his dog – plenty of grad students have dogs – and now you are giving up yours.) Many rescue ask if you will consider your pet part of your family. It’s clear that you don’t.

  36. 74

    Try to comfort yourself in the fact that you are making the safe and responsible choice for you, your baby and also for your dog. It’s never easy doing the right thing, but too many people keep a pet who isn’t a right fit and it can end very badly. Ashe looks like a beautiful sweet pup and it sounds as if this rescue organization truly cares and ashe’s experiences with your family will allow them to better understand a home placement that truly benefits her best. Best of luck and try to go easy on yourself. It certainly isn’t your fault, if anything you went above and beyond to rectify things. Different situation -but I have a cat who was twice returned to a shelter for scratching / hissing and hiding. She needed a quiet home without children and she has since bonded with my cats, and totally come out of her shell. She is so content and happy. So I feel optimistic Ashe will have a happy long life. Best of luck 😊

  37. 75

    Just wanted to send lots of love your way at this difficult time. I think you’ve done everything you can and you’re making the right decision.

    We’ve had our Beagle from 8 weeks old, always socialised her and had her around lots of people (I take her to work every day) and she still gets protective of my home and workplace. Our Baehaviourist confirmed it’s just her personality type, and even with a lot of training and time and patience, it’s been really hard to change it. She has calmed down a bit now – she’ll be two in January – but still goes crazy if people knock at the door or appear unannounced. I’m already dreading Halloween.

    Our first baby is due in March and I am really hoping things go well and our dog welcomes the baby in to our pack. But, if for some reason this doesn’t happen, I am prepared to make the right decision for my family, and the dog, however heartbreaking that may be.

  38. 76

    Reading this makes me cry, I couldn’t do it. I can’t imagine it. Can you have a friend come over to test it out this week how she’s doing w a stranger in your home? Also my sister used this awesome harness that wouldn’t let her big dog pull (after watching a TV informercial “do you walk your dog, or does your dog walk you?” And she was all “yes, yes! My dog walks me!”). Would the shelter let you have her a couple more weeks since it’s still so recent from her training so you can try out more?

    Hugs.

  39. 77

    Ah, I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you, Anne. Thinking of my puppy here has me in tears. Really praying for you guys and hoping for some peace in the decision – it definitely is not an easy one! But whatever you feel is best for your family is the right decision.

  40. 78

    What an incredibly tough situation! But you are doing what’s best for her and your family. It takes a lot of courage to share this struggle online as people can be cruel and quick to judge. Thank you for your honesty and transparency. You did everything you could do to improve the situation, your love for Ashe is evident. You have carefully considered all of your options and tried your best and it isn’t working. That’s okay! The agency she’s going home to sounds very loving too and Ashe has benefited from yours and Matt’s love, warmth and nurture. The obedience classes will help her apply the skills needed to get along better and find a new home. The time, money and care you have given her will not be wasted. The agency can use this information regarding her personality to help find her a suitable home. Hugs to you!

  41. 79

    Oh so typical. Sounds like a broken record. Happy, young couple adopt dog who is their “first baby”. Along comes the human baby and the dog is tossed out with the trash. It’s all so sad. Do you really think the dog’s aggression/territorial behavior is going to get better now that she’s being given to strangers AGAIN? Ugh…infuriating!

  42. 80

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I am a dog person, and feel tremendously privileged to share my life with the wonderful creatures – they are the loves of my life and my happy place. Our lives are different than yours in many ways, similar in others. I am fortunate to have never ended up in a situation like yours and make an effort in my life to not judge anyone whose shoes I have not walked in. I don’t think I could make the decision you have made, but again, I am not in your shoes. You seem to have exhausted all reasonable possibilities, with no concern for cost, and are making a sound, responsible decision. No one is perfect, and we all make decisions that in hindsight were mistakes, which can end up impacting other people in unintended ways. When we know better, we do better. I admire you for standing up and doing a difficult thing for you and for Ashe in this impossible situation, and for owning the decision. You have also gone out of your way to make sure the next steps for Ashe are safe ones with good people who have her best interest in mind. You are a good person, don’t forget it!

  43. 81

    Anne, so sorry about your dilemma. But I think yall have gone above and beyond trying to make it work, and it honestly sounds like too much of a risk to keep Ashe especially in lieu of the baby coming. I really feel for you. But like you said, he has had a great life with yall, and thanks to yall he is better trained for someone to adopt who does not have kids or other pets. Ashe will be ok. He needs a special type of home with undivided attention, and that is not you at this point in yall’s life. I will be praying for you during the next few days when you have to let Ashe go.

  44. 82

    <333333333333333333 I'm so sorry about Ashe. My mom has a dog who was (IS – but not so bad now) territorial in the house and anxious around people, and just from that experience I am sure you are making the right, heart-breaking decision. Things can happen in an instant. Someone can be snapped at or bleeding or need stitches before you even realize what happened. I'm sure she will find a great new home, especially with this training you've provided.