Meet Tank, the big giant blond lab we picked up this weekend. Tank has been a member of our extended family for 3 years – since he was a puppy – and he’s stayed with us from time to time. But now he is with us permanent. That is fun for us, but sad for my brother’s family, who loved him very much.
Lest you think Tank is a reject, let me assure you he’s not. He is one of the most loved dogs you will ever meet, even if loving him meant finding someplace better suited to him.
He’s the most joyful, happy dog you will ever meet. He loves children and other dogs and all people. He’s obedient and except for his habit of inhaling his food so fast you can’t even see it move, he’s just the best.
So, why did he have to come to us? He’s big, just as his name implies. And the house and yard where my brother and his family live is small. And there are no dog parks nearby. And it just got to the point where it was obvious that it wasn’t good for Tank or his people to keep him cooped up all the time, but there wasn’t any other way to do it in their household.
We have 5.5 arces of fenced open fields for Tank to run and play, and a much larger house (too large) for him to move around in, wag his tail without hitting anyone or anything, and really, our property just fits him better.
The Chocolate beauty is Dera, Tank’s long-time pal, who stayed in North Dakota. She’s older, slower, smaller, calmer, and much better suited to small property. Besides, she is so bonded with my brother that to take her away at 8 years old would be cruel to both of them. Makes me tear up to even think about it because her bond with my brother is so special.
But what I’d love to know is what Dera was thinking when Tank was in our car doing this:
Because Tank and Dera have always ridden in the back of my brother’s car together with all the windows up, laying down calmly. I’m sure she looked out the window and thought “Tank! Stick your head back in the window, or it’s going to get blown off by the wind!”
Meanwhile Tank was thinking – “There goes my family in my car with my Dera and my kids, and I’m stuck back here in this car. But wait, this wind thing is kinda cool, I might get used to this! Sitting up front, letting my ears blow in the wind. Hummm, this might be the life.”
When we finally parted company for more than just a short drive, there were tears all around. J was so excited to have Tank, but it broke his heart to see my brother and sister-in-law crying. Being the empathetic person that he is, J cried and cried for close to 30 miles as he thought of how hard it must be to give your dog away.
Once the tears dried up we heard (and continue to hear) a lot from J about how very glad he is to have a dog of his own (he can think that, but we know he’s a family dog) and how great Tank is. And yes, J and Tank cuddled like that the entire 6.5 hour ride home.
Now that the tears are behind us, Tank loves being outside. He goes in and out and in and out and in and out . . . you get the idea. We think he’s not sure what to do being outside without people because he’s never lived someplace where he could go outside without a leash or supervisor – it may take him some time to adjust to his new-found freedom.
Tank and Leo were super glad to see each other when we arrived home on Saturday night – both tails wagging and sniffing each other kindly. They are working out how to be with one another very well.
Tank ran around the field with each of us as we did our running and jogging laps yesterday morning before church – I think he went about 3 miles all totaled. He sleeps in J’s room very comfortably – through the night without a peep. He doesn’t try to run away at the gate when people come in or go out. He gets an egg yolk in the morning to keep his coat shimmering and beautiful. He sleeps on the floor in the living room while we watch t.v. or talk, and is happy to just hang out with us.
So, Stacy, Daniel, Danielle and Charlie (and Dera too), thank you for letting us bring Tank into our household. We know you miss him, and he will always be an extended family dog between our two families.
Now, grandpa, grandma, and the others in our extended family, we know you are jealously waiting for your turn, but to put it bluntly, tough luck. You don’t get a turn. We’re keeping him forever – besides, it is much closer for visits between ND and MT than from CA or MI – you guys live too far away to get a turn. We hope you’ll understand and not let your jealousy get in the way of our relationships.