But sadly it is not with us… Spoiler though, this story has a very happy ending.
So here is the thing. We love Bolt.
He is the perfect dog 99% of the time, but we knew going into taking him that he had behavioural problems. He is on prozac (well, fluoxetine, which is prozac), that his vet recommended and prescribed.
I always thought that his first owners ruined him because they didn’t train him, and did who knows what else to him (before he went to the rescue and Dawn and Mark got him and fixed him as much as they could), but now I wonder if there is something in his brain…a mental illness or a chemical imbalance. Like he’s not quite wired correctly. The bottom line is, he has anxiety and some fear aggression issues and living in a condo is not the best place for him.
I mentioned this before. He has a problem sometimes with other dogs (mainly dogs that are bigger than him) and some strangers (mainly loud men). But the bigger problem is that his triggers are unpredictable. Some you get to know, but some are a surprise, so every situation he is in you wonder how he’s going to react. Is he going to perceive that situation as a threat and lash out at someone? Or will he be calm? Because he usually is calm, but sometimes he’s not, and you just don’t know which it will be. At my Bestie Lisa’s parents for the weekend, for example, he was fine. Camping with Ian and Dorothy, he was fine.
In an elevator with a screaming little girl who is very clearly afraid of him? Not fine.
Living in a condo with a dog with anxiety is an issue because of the strange people and the other dogs that you inevitably run into. Bolt will have certain days where he is more anxious than usual, and when he’s with us and other people he is used to, he’s totally fine. We could do anything to him and he would like it.
(unless you wake him up when he’s sleeping and try to get him to move, he does not like that)
But with strangers…he can react without thinking. It is best to avoid strangers on those days, when he is more anxious. But living in a condo and avoiding strangers is impossible. Every time we took him outside for a walk we would run into someone or something that could potentially make him anxious (again, unpredictable, you don’t know what sort of situation he will react to). Evan brought Bolt back in from a particularly eventful walk once and was all “Can this building throw ANY MORE weird situations at Bolt?!”
For us we felt like we were walking on egg shells every time we got into a crowded elevator with him, or walked into the enclosed lobby with other dogs. And for Bolt, it was not the best environment for him because again, it increases his anxiety and makes him uncomfortable.
We felt a little uncomfortable leaving him with people also, which is unavoidable for us. When we went to the Bahamas my friend Hannah stayed here and watched him, but we worried. He was fine, but we don’t 100% trust him with strangers (not Hannah, he liked her, but when she took him outside).
If we were planning on moving in a year we would just get through it until we moved somewhere with a yard, because I tell you we truly, genuinely love him. He isn’t a bad dog! But I don’t know when we will be moving, and now doesn’t feel like the right time. It could be a few years from now. For Bolt to stay here, where every day was unpredictable for him, it was mostly unfair to him. He needs to live somewhere with a yard, where he feels safe and secure, with an owner who loves him, and where he is not running into all the strangers strangers and their dogs LITERALLY every time he goes anywhere.
Evan and I made the final decision on this in mid-August, so we started contacting rescues to see if we could find him a home. None of the rescues were overly helpful, but their mandate is to save dogs that are in immediate trouble/danger and Bolt wasn’t. We said we would keep Bolt until we found a good home for him, however long that took. So I understand where they were coming from.
We heard nothing back, and when we got back from the Bahamas we wavered on our decision and thought maybe we would keep him because we couldn’t let him go to just anyone… And also that little coconut has weaselled his way into our hearts.
But then last week happened. One of the rescues added Bolt to Petfinder as a courtesy post and they included my phone number in his description. Early last week a man named Tony contacted me asking about him and he was very, very interested. He said he had the same breed of dog, an American Eskimo, for 17 years and she had just passed away a few months ago. So he knows about all the quirks with that breed. He was thinking about getting another dog but he said he wasn’t sure it was the right time…until he saw Bolt’s little face on that website. He said when he saw Bolt it felt like fate.
So he came over that evening and spent about an hour and a half with us, getting to know us and Bolt. It seemed too good to be true. Tony is in his early 40s, has a house with a big yard, and he and Bolt just seemed like a match made in heaven. I could tell by the way he talked about his other dog that he genuinely really loved her and that Bolt would be spoiled. He showed us pictures of her and had tears in his eyes. He works from home and is going to dote on Bolt, I can just tell. Bolt will be his world. That is another thing, Evan and I both work 9-5 and I know Bolt was okay with this but it wasn’t ideal.
We were very upfront with Tony about Bolt’s anxiety and issues, and he said he could deal and that he thought it would be better if Bolt was with him than someone else.
So Tony took Bolt home with him that night. Evan and I weren’t quite ready, it was so fast! But he drove an hour and a half to see Bolt so it would have been silly to make him come back. Letting Bolt go with him was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Evan and I walked them downstairs to say goodbye and when they drove away we could see Bolt’s little face peeking back at us through the car window… and we both lost it, we just hugged each other and cried in the parking lot. In the rain.
But it is for the best. For everyone. Tony has been sending us nearly daily photos and videos, starting the night he got Bolt.
All Bolt wants is an owner that loves him, to chase squirrels in a back yard, and to be snuggled! That’s all he wants! It would appear he is getting it.
Tony said we can FaceTime with Bolt any time we want and can even come and visit him (which we are planning to do on an upcoming weekend).
I feel bad, guilty almost, that we couldn’t make it work out, and it is sad and we will miss him… But I know that this is best. For us, for Tony, but especially best for Bolt, and I think that is what makes the decision just a bit more bearable.
I will leave you with some more of my favourite pictures of Bolt from when we had him…
Fingers (and paws) crossed that it continues to work out with Tony! But he said he is prepared to deal with anything so it’s looking pretty good.