Although he's not quite as attached to Bryce in his older age, he lets that boy crawl all over him, tug on his lips, and pull his tail. I never once worried about him snapping at my kids. He is so sweet-natured.
The problem was us. Bauer is a Black Lab/Springer Spaniel mix. Black Lab + Springer Spaniel = Lots of Energy. A dog like that needs to get out for walks every day. He needs to be able to run and play. Bauer didn't get that with us. He is big and strong and difficult for me to walk. Walking him with a stroller was pretty much out of the question. With Mike and me working opposite schedules for the past year and half, there was even less time for Bauer. Without proper exercise and attention, Bauer's anxiety caused him to bark constantly and drive me (and all the neighbors, I'm sure...) insane. He started doing some naughty things he hadn't done since he was a puppy.
As Mike's work travel schedule intensified, so did my frustration with Bauer. He deserves better than to be ignored and yelled at. He deserves to be appreciated, and for me he was just one more mouth to feed and one more thing demanding my attention. My patience these days is thin, and unfortunately, our sweet dog got the worst of me.
My wonderful sister, Molly, and her husband Brett have been thinking about getting a dog anyway, and volunteered to take Bauer. They don't have any kids yet, have a nice fenced-in back yard, and genuinely WANT a dog. They can't wait to get him in shape so he can go running with them. Running!
I know it's going to take a while for poor Bauer to adjust to his new home, but I really think it will be better for him. I am feeling really sad today, because not only did I fail as a pet owner, I caused my husband and sons the pain of losing a pet. If it were up to Mike, Bauer would still be ours. It was 100% my decision, but Mike supported it because he wants me to be happy. I appreciate that so much, but today is still a hard day.
I never would have given him away to someone I didn't know, and I truly believe Bauer will be happier with Molly and Brett in Omaha than he was here. We will also be able to see him anytime we go down to visit. Here's hoping he adjusts okay. We'll miss you, Bauer boy!