A native Iowa Citian who returned to raise my family here, I find myself *far* more opinionated when it comes to everything from the restaurants to the city council. Here is my $.02.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Athena Brown

On a cold November night in 1999, a little Bassett hound came into our lives. We would like to think we rescued her from a stinky life on a pig farm outside Rice Lake, WI. She was 7 weeks old and cuter than any animal should ever be allowed to be. Matt gave her the name Athena.

For the next year she was "little sister" to our dog Poet. Then she was an only child. Five years passed of Saturday's at the dog park, afternoons at the dog bakery, dog day care during the week and plenty of tummy rubs in between. We spent lazy nights on the couch with Athena snuggled in the crook of our knees. We took hikes just long enough to wear her out, sometimes with our misjudgment ending in us carrying her the last leg of the trip. Life was full of Greenies and sunny spots.

Enter human child #1. Athena adjusted well with changes and almost two years passed. They were best of friends. Snuggling in bed in the mornings and chasing butterflies together in the summer. Enter human child #2. Uh-oh.

Attempts to help Athena acclimate to our new family situation fell short. We spent a few months worth of car payments at the vet only to find out that our little diva didn't like us. She loved us, fiercely, but she didn't like us any more. We had done an about face on routines. Ignored her pleas for attention to deal with her human counterparts. Plain and simple; we were last week's stale poo.

We knew it and difficult as it was, we knew we couldn't change it. Anyone who has ever spent more than 6 years raising an animal, knows what a painful decision it was to decide to find a new family for Athena to adopt as her own. We decided out of state would be best so we wouldn't be tempted to steal her back in a weak moment. Putting out an APB with some dog loving friends did the trick. Within hours we had four families lined up. After a brutally honest email, we had one. They were our favorite from the beginning. A mom, dad, 16 year old daughter, one dog named Codi, one fat cat named Max, a fenced in back yard and lots of sunny spots. After 18 emails back and forth it was decided, Athena Brown was becoming Athena Brown-Voight of Long Lake, MN.

A week later, we packed the car and her life and headed to MN. We broke ourselves in slowly to the thought of letting her go. We visited old friends and drank too much wine for three days before meeting her new family.

The Voights exceeded our expectations. Gentle spirits, a wonderful home and lots of love in their hearts to give Athena the life she deserves. We spent a couple hours answering their questions and convincing ourselves we had made the right decision. We drove away with broken hearts and only memories of how her scruff feels when you massage it with your hands. The sound of her arooooing along to a song. The smell of her fur on a rainy day. We cried. We cried when we got home and Cooper searched the house for her, calling her name.

Goodbye to our first born. We will love you and miss you more than you can ever imagine. We wish you a life full of lazy days in sunny spots, perpetual tummy rubs and the knowledge that we loved you enough to know that you needed more than we could provide. We hope to see you again. We will always love you.

Your first family


Blogger epotts said...

Thank you for the cry ... We commend you on doing what was best, as well as right, for your family and the sweet hound. We will miss the darling Athena (aka Atina) and are happy to hear that she is with such a wonderful family in the land of "sunny spots". We will miss her welcome howl, sweet sagging face, and puppy dog eyes when we visit Iowa. September 9th will always be special at our house. Love, The P's

Monday, March 13, 2006 1:39:00 PM

Anonymous Garrett's Mama said...

You are very kind to think of her quality of life. She will always hold you and your loving family in her gentle heart.

Monday, March 13, 2006 6:25:00 PM


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