Friday, January 27, 2012

Goodbye Princess!

Yesterday was a sad day for me.  We decided that we needed to send our princess Sota to a new home. 

Sota joined our family 7 1/2 years ago.  Hubs and my mom chipped in and purchased her for me for my birthday in '04.  Hubs reason was because he loved me so much and knew how badly I wanted a little Cockapoo.  It was 6 months after we got married and I had been talking about getting a Cockapoo for a few months.  My moms reasoning behind the help of purchasing her was because she didn't want me to get pregnant while still in college.  (Hubs and I got married the summer before our senior year).  For whatever reason they decided to get her for me I was THRILLED!  She was the love of my life!  That's what I told people.  My poor husband of only 6 months had already been pushed to the side... because of a dog.  

This is Sota when we first got her.  She was so tiny she could fit in Hubs hand and still have room to wiggle.  

This is Sota after we moved to NJ from VA.  She loved going out on the boat and swimming in the late.  

Sota was always very easy.  She never gave me a run for my money.  She listened so well.  She loved kids and could be left alone at home ALL day long happily.  We didn't have to walk her, she was happy with just taking a quick run around the yard during her potty times.  I rarely had to let her out.  I could get away with 3 times a day, (2 if I was at work).  EASY!!

We worked with Sota a lot before having the boys.  We would always have friends with kids over we would allow our next door neighbor who was little come and play with her.  She loved kids.  We were so excited to have kids of our own.  We couldn't wait for them to love each other.  We pictured Sota climbing in the crib and snuggling with them (she loves to snuggle).  We had talked about how we would have to be careful to not leave the door of the nursery open incase she would actually try to do that.  I had always 'bothered' her while she was eating to make sure she wouldn't bit someone if they came near her during feeding.  (I was bit by a dog when I was young.  She was the sweetest thing...I didn't know not to touch a dog while they were eating...)

When I got pregnant I was thrilled.  Sota would lay on my belly and just nuzzle.  I hoped she 'understood' what was going on.  During the pregnancy we started to slowly change what she was 'allowed' and 'not allowed' to do.  No more sleeping on our bed (she didn't fit anymore), no more laying on the couch (again she didn't fit with me there... I was huge).  

This is the day I was induced with the boys.  I couldn't even bend over to pet her anymore.  

We were thrilled to bring the boys home from the hospital to meet her.  We were given helpful hints by other friends that brought babes home to their dog.  Hubs went home during my hospital stay just to see her.  We wanted to make sure we didn't push her to the side.  The first night he went home he brought the boys hats home with him.  The boys wore their hats in the hospital the whole time.  We knew that the hats would smell just like them.  The next time he went home he brought home two of the hospital blankets.  He allowed Sota to sniff them lick them, etc.  

When we brought the boys home we decided to leash Sota.  She gets very very excited and we didn't want her to JUMP on the boys.  She did such a great job meeting the boys.  

This is one of the first days home with M and G.  She loved them.  She would come up and snuggle their little bodies.

She was very interested in the boys.  She was pretty timid around them.  She would basically just walk around them.  She would lick bare feet, but never really seemed bothered by them.  

 Sota & G

G, Sota, M

We would say that Sota's favorite time of the year is winter.  She was born the end of November so maybe that's why.  She loves to rut and roll in the snow.  It takes forever to get her to come inside.  

These pictures were from last winter. 

As the boys got older and began moving around on their own Sota began to change.  If one of the boys reached out for her she would 'snap'.  Her snap USE to be a quiet bark then lick (never actually teeth).  Sota has 2 types of tick disease and slight arthritis in her hips.  As she has gotten older she has become very aware of this area.  If the boys touched her there she would not be happy.  Of course when the boys first started touching her it wasn't very gentle.  They were babes and didn't understand pet.  They grabbed.  Hubs saw how much the boys wanted to play with Sota and how much Sota was beginning to not like the boys.  This is what I had/have the hardest time with.  Hubs decided last February that he needed to get a big dog.  A dog that the boys could 'wrestle'.  A dog that would allow them to touch him.  A dog that they could accidentally (or purposely) fall on.  I was 100% against this decision.  I honestly didn't want ANY dog.  Not even Sota anymore.  It was a lot to take care of.  Working full time, new mom of twins, being a wife, and taking care of the dog.  Of course Hubs didn't see it that way and came home with this....


Sota didn't seem to mind, but I'm sure she felt pushed aside even more!

As the boys got even older I had to gate the dogs out of our living space.  The boys have the living room and dining room.  The dogs have the hallway and kitchen.  I could handle the two boys, Sota, and the big dog Jersey all in our little living space.  Talk about clutter!

The boys LOVE their dogs.  They love to go to the gate and reach through to touch them.  Jersey loves to lick them through the gate.  Sota loves to bite them through the gate.  Her soft lick snap turned into a snap that would sometimes draw little drops of blood.  G rarely tried to touch her.  M LOVES her.  M didn't mind at all.  He would get bitten say NO BITE and then start touching her again.  She began to constantly bare her teeth at the boys.

A friend told us of a friend that she has that was looking for a grown dog.  They have 3 older kids (middle school age).  We thought that this would be a perfect family for her.  SHE LOVES KIDS... just not ours.

Two weekends ago that family came over to meet Sota.  Hubs said that if they said they wanted her we should send her off right then and there.  I wasn't ready to do that.  Hubs just got back from Haiti the day before.  I needed some normalcy again.  I told the family I would call them during the week.

I put off calling them until the end of the weekend.  I'm so glad I did because we got one last snow day to play with her.

During our last week I decided to allow Sota in the living space with us a bunch more than normal.  She did so good with the boys.  The boys did so well with her.  As the boys figured out to use their hands they stopped grabbing her fur and began to pet her.  They learned quickly what areas to not touch and learned that they couldn't even accidentally fall on her.  For the most part the would give her a hug, kiss, pet and then leave her alone.

I began to second guess myself.  They were doing so well together.

Yesterday the family was scheduled to pick her up around 4:00.  I allowed her in the living space all day.  I wanted to get some final pictures of her with the boys.

 M really became attached to her the last week and a half.  He calls her name and always looks to make sure she is close.

 G continued to stay at a distance.

 You can notice in this picture that she has had enough.  She is beginning to bare her teeth and growl at M.  She actually bit him right after this.  It was the worst bite yet.  She didn't let go of his hand until I grabbed the back of her neck and her face with my other hand.  M cried for about 2 seconds and then began to love on her again.

 Of course I don't want my children to get bit, but I was happy that this happened.  I felt like OK I am making the right decision.  It's still not going to be easy but I can't have a dog that bites my children.

 M has been asking for her since he woke up from his nap yesterday.  It's heartbreaking.  He yells  SooooTTTAaaaa.  Sota COME!  Come HERE!

We keep telling him that she went bye bye home, that she went to live with another family.  I'm sure it won't last much longer.

Well Sota, I love you and I will surely miss you!  I know you are with a family that will take good care of you and you will most likely be much happier there.  


  1. Tears come to my eyes. I love you all!

  2. I'm so sorry you had to give her up. Reading this was so touching, and it sounded so much like you weren't just doing what was good for the boys, but you were doing good for Sota. She will love her new family, and I'm sure she did not like to have to "warn" the boys as often as she did.

    Poor M...:(

  3. I often read your blog (linking through Gretchen's) and enjoy see the pics of you and J and the boys so much. Just had to leave you a note here--I'm sorry about the heartache you are feeling with the decision about the dog. They just make a place for themselves in our hearts, don't they? Dog lovers know! Greetings to Jon as well--his photos from Haiti tell quite a story. It always seems so overwhelming to see the needs, but it's always clear that those who go to help experience some blessed satisfaction in doing what they could while they were there. Sharon in Oregon now