Monday, July 15, 2024

The Tail of Gigi The Canine

Gigi the canine

A query I’ve been getting quite a bit recently: “What occurred to your canine???” I get this query by way of e-mail, by way of weblog feedback, on Instagram, Fb and in individual. It’s taken me awhile to place collectively my response as a result of it’s a painful one. However right this moment, I’m able to share.

The Tail of Genevieve (aka Gigi) the Hound

Gigi confirmed up emaciated and lined in scratches in our pals’ yard in late September. They (and we) tried to find her proprietor, however she got here with no tags and nobody responded to our commercials along with her picture. We took her to the vet to scan her for a microchip and he or she didn’t have one. Our principle is that she was a bear searching canine who bought misplaced from her pack and couldn’t discover her manner again to them. Our pals stored her at their residence for just a few days after which deliberate to take her to a shelter as they have already got a canine and may’t hold a second. We had an opportunity to fulfill Gigi and spend time along with her and we knew we couldn’t let her go to a shelter. So, we introduced her residence! She joined our household on October 3, 2022.

Our pals named her Gigi (for good woman) and all of us cherished her–the children particularly. She was an ideal canine who cherished mountaineering, didn’t bark and (largely) adopted instructions. Nevertheless: she couldn’t be left residence alone. In any respect.

The Can not-Be-Left-Alone Saga

We crate skilled Gigi (as we’d achieved with our earlier canine) and he or she cherished her crate. She’d elect to go in there whereas we had been residence, would fortunately nap within the crate, slept in there each night time and utilized it to keep away from our kids’s fixed consideration. We assumed this crate coaching would additionally work after we left the home, because it had with our earlier canine. It didn’t.

Poor Gigi had a panic assault each time we left the home, regardless of how lengthy we had been gone.

1) We figured there should be a behavioral treatment so we sought out a canine coach who gave us a routine to comply with.

She cherished to hike!

Amongst different issues, this entailed leaving the home for temporary durations (~30 seconds to begin) and returning to reward her if she was quiet. Nevertheless, we had been by no means in a position to work as much as an absence of longer than 5 minutes earlier than Gigi started to panic.

We labored with the coach in individual and he or she was flummoxed by Gigi’s panic response to our absence since she was such a peaceful, well-adjusted canine round individuals.

2) Then, we figured there should be a technological answer.

We put in a digital camera in order that we may observe her conduct within the crate and report again to the canine coach. This didn’t assist. So, the coach advised a camera-treat-dispenser combo thingy, which does precisely what it seems like: you observe the canine by way of the digital camera and remotely dispense a deal with into the crate if the canine is being calm. This didn’t assist.

3) Lastly, we assumed there’d be a medical answer.

And so started the numerous, many vet visits. We’d already achieved the entire behavioral modifications/coaching the vet beneficial and so, they prescribed a light anti-anxiety treatment. That didn’t work. The vet subsequent prescribed a light sedative. Additionally ineffective. Subsequent up was a light tranquilizer. And on and on… all to no impact.

Right here’s the total record of methods we tried (that I can bear in mind):

Finally, none of this labored and we couldn’t go away her residence alone for any time period. Ever. If we did, Gigi would have a panic assault and poop and pee within the crate and tempo endlessly in circles. This occurred each single time we left the home for longer than 5 minutes.

I washed each canine and crate extra occasions than I can rely.

We realized that, as an energetic household with little youngsters, it’s not tenable for one grownup to all the time keep residence with the canine. It’s additionally not potential for us to take a canine with us in every single place we go. Recognizing that we couldn’t stay this fashion–with one grownup all the time staying residence OR the information that we’d return residence to a panicked, poop-covered canine–we needed to give Gigi up.

Giving Gigi Up

Snuggled in Kidwoods’ lap

After 4 months of making an attempt to assist Gigi be taught to remain residence alone, we acknowledged that we merely couldn’t hold her. We had been heartbroken, however didn’t see another choice. I positioned a foster-based rescue group that had an area for Gigi and, after an preliminary go to, they accepted her. What they found is that she does superb alone in a home IF there are different canine current. They confirmed that she can not ever be left alone, however that so long as she has a pack–both human or canine–she’s superb.

The rescue group–and we–share the idea that Gigi was initially a bear searching canine, which suggests she doubtless all the time lived with numerous different canine. They report that Gigi is now adopted and doing simply superb in her new household with many different canine. It’s painful to jot down about this as a result of we cherished Gigi and wished to maintain her.

Nevertheless, I additionally needed to settle for the truth that making a household dynamic the place both: 1) one mum or dad all the time stays residence and doesn’t attend occasions with the household; OR 2) the household returns residence to an hour+ of labor to wash the canine, calm the canine and wash the crate, is just not cheap or tenable.

Throughout our time with Gigi, we didn’t go to church as a household, we didn’t go to high school occasions as a household, we hardly ever skied as a household…. and the record goes on. We needed to settle for that this isn’t the best way we need to increase our youngsters and, it was placing numerous stress and strain on us mother and father, which the children observed and had been internalizing.

What I Realized

Gigi within the snow

I discovered quite a bit throughout this temporary and tumultuous Gigi expertise. Mainly, I spotted that we rushed into canine possession. We didn’t totally contemplate the ramifications and we let our hearts get forward of our heads. I nonetheless want we had a canine, however I’m additionally at peace with our lack of canine as a result of proper now, our youngsters are my precedence. It didn’t really feel like the correct trade-off to all the time go away a mum or dad at residence to babysit the canine.

It has taken me fairly awhile to jot down about this as a result of I really feel like a failure of a canine mum or dad.

I’m comforted by the information that when Gigi got here to us, she was malnourished and had been residing tough within the woods for who is aware of how lengthy. We gave her a lot of meals, love and a heat mattress. And we bought her spayed, all of her pictures, and adopted into one other loving household (with different canine!). After I remind myself of that perspective, I don’t really feel so unhealthy. However when the children point out how a lot they miss Gigi, I really feel slightly stab in my coronary heart.

The Prices

I want we may’ve made it work with Gigi and, I’ll inform you, we spent over $2,000 making an attempt to make it so. $2,373.25 to be actual. I tallied up our Gigi prices, simply out of curiosity and right here’s what I got here up with:

Merchandise Quantity Notes
Spaying + foster and adoption prices $600.00 We determined to pay the foster group who took Gigi for his or her prices associated to fostering, adopting and spaying.
First vet go to, vaccinations, checks, de-worming, microchipping $497.78 Since she’d been within the woods alone for an indeterminate period of time, she wanted in depth vaccinations, testing and medicines to de-worm, and so on.
Vet go to and medicines $227.60
Vet go to and medicines $186.60
Meals, beds, treats, toys $183.98
Canine coach $150.00 Classes with the canine coach
Meals $101.67
Meals, treats and toys for Christmas $101.27
Digicam & distant deal with dispenser $99.99 The mixture digital camera and distant deal with dispenser, which we utilized in an try to reward her when she was calm within the crate (affiliate hyperlink).
Canine snow booties $37.40
2 XL canine Kongs $35.93 Two of those extra-large kongs in an try to hold her calm whereas residence alone in her crate (affiliate hyperlink).
Christmas stocking for Gigi $35.00
Excessive-visibility orange vest for mountaineering $33.25
Digicam to look at crate $28.78 We bought this digital camera to look at her crate earlier than we purchased the digital camera/deal with dispenser combo factor (affiliate hyperlink).
Remedy $25.00
Remedy $16.00
City Canine License $13.00
TOTAL: $2,373.25

I’m grateful we had the monetary capability to sink this a lot cash into making an attempt to maintain Gigi and I don’t remorse spending it as a result of it was in service of our determined try to have a candy household canine. However, it’s an eye-opener to the potential surprising prices of pet possession.

Our first canine, Gracie, with a child Kidwoods

Our earlier canine–Gracie the greyhound–was low cost by comparability. She price us ~$930 yearly versus the $2,373 we spent on Gigi throughout her 4 months with us. Pets are quite a bit like youngsters in that respect: you already know they’re going to price you, however you by no means know precisely how a lot it’ll be.

This isn’t a cautionary story to by no means undertake a pet, however fairly, an illumination of the potential prices of welcoming an animal into your life. I believe pets ship an outsized return on funding by way of love, companionship and normal cute antics, however its salient to do not forget that they’re an expense. A big one in some instances.

Will You Get One other Canine?

Not proper now. Actually, we’re nonetheless fairly heartbroken over Gigi and never able to go down the canine street once more. All 4 of us love canine (properly, Littlewoods stays considerably on the fence), however it simply doesn’t really feel sensible for our energetic life-style. Now that our youngsters are older (ages 5 and seven) and the pandemic is in remission, we are able to really go locations as a household! Pre-pandemic, our youngsters had been infants, then Covid took over, so now it lastly appears like we are able to do household excursions. We go on day-trips to museums, parks, seashores and extra. We’ve gone snowboarding for a full day as a household and brought the children out to eating places as a deal with. We are able to spend as a lot time exterior in our woods as we would like with out timing our entrances and exits to the home to make sure the canine is okay.

Proper now, I’m savoring this stage of life the place our youngsters nonetheless WANT to hang around with us and discover every thing we do FASCINATING. I need to feed their curiosity and expose them to arts, tradition, meals! I need the liberty–monetary and in any other case–to do this to the fullest. In gentle of this articulation of our priorities and values, we’ve determined to carry off on pets for the foreseeable future.

Canine-sitting = The Excellent Half-Time Pet Answer

Two very useful helpers

To assuage the dog-sized gap in our hearts, we dog-sit for our pals’ canine after they exit of city! Most of our pals have canine, so that is good. The youngsters ADORE when a canine comes to remain and it’s a beautiful few days of getting a canine. Then the canine goes residence. That is nice by me! I joke that I’m a canine aunt: I get the canine for a bit, spoil it actual unhealthy, then ship it residence. Additionally, I don’t need to pay for the canine. That is actually figuring out for me…. ;).


I don’t have a neat little bow to placed on this story. I simply supply a mirrored image on the truth that typically issues don’t go to plan. Generally you spend a ton of time and cash on a canine who can’t stick with your loved ones. Generally you break your youngsters’ hearts. This complete expertise is a reminder to me that I’m not in management. I’m embarrassed and ashamed that we couldn’t work out a approach to hold Gigi, however I’m additionally at peace with our choice as a result of I do know it was the most effective for our household.

Fast Facet word on the Latest Vermont Floods

We’re okay! Thanks to everybody who reached out to examine on us and supply help! You all are very variety. I’ll put a full replace in my subsequent Month-to-month Expense Report, however the brief model is that, whereas our city was hit onerous, our home stayed mercifully dry. Our quarter-mile lengthy driveway, nonetheless, was largely eaten by the torrential rain… once more, we’re superb, however speak about one other surprising expense! Extra quickly.

By no means Miss A Story

Signal as much as get new Frugalwoods tales in your e-mail inbox.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles