Summer camp


Today is a very sad day, one I’ve been dreading for a long time. I’m saying goodbye to Toad, and sending her to Kansas City to stay with my mom for a bit.

I’m calling it “summer camp” because to think of it as anything else breaks my heart. I know that it’s for good reason – I’m out of town every single weekend for the rest of the summer, not to mention an 8-day work trip in August, and while I have a few good dog sitters, I don’t have THAT many good dog sitters. I know that Toad being with my mom will be the best thing for her – she’ll have consistency and air conditioning and people to rub her belly. I know that Labor Day will be here before I know it, and I’ll be driving out to Kansas City to bring her home.

Still, I’m having trouble stomping down that accusatory voice telling me I’m abandoning her in the name of convenience.

She’s been mine for two years – two very complicated, constantly changing, fragile years for this little dog – and I’ve taken the responsibility really seriously, maybe even to a fault. I pay really close attention to Toad. I watch her to make sure she isn’t in pain. I take her with me everywhere I can because she hates to be alone. And now I’m just… sending her away?

But given that there’s no good reason for me to be concerned about her living at my mom’s house (i.e. the lap of luxury), it makes me think that my anxiety over the whole thing is actually related to something else. It’s probably more selfish.

I’m just going to miss her.

She’s been my near-constant companion, a listening ear, the one who wakes me up in the morning because she’s hungry and then won’t eat her food unless I put cheese on it. She sits on the front porch without a leash and doesn’t run away. When I talk, she looks attentively at my face, even though her brain is very small.

And on nights like last night, when the rain came pouring down and flooded my kitchen once again, and I was standing in the backyard drenched to the bone, frantically trying to figure out how to stop the water from pouring in, and having no luck, came back inside in waterlogged sneakers, threw towels all over the floor, caught what I could in bowls and pans, and thought about posting about it on Facebook just because I need someone to see me – there was Toad. Watching my every move. Witnessing my life. Reminding me that I’m not alone.

She has a fresh shave, and a little bag packed with her few things: her dog dishes, Zuke’s treats, heartworm pills, and the leash she never needs. She’s ready.

If only I could say the same for me.



  1. Michael Rhyne on July 12, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    Long-distance hug…

  2. Andrea on July 12, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    Brought tear to my eyes. Our dogs can be so comforting – my sweet Molly is THE REASON I survived Matt’s deployment without a nervous breakdown. It’s such a real & inexplicable connection.You will make it throiugh the next few weeks & when you go to get your girl, she’s gonna be so happy to see you!

  3. Delaney on July 12, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    Tiny brain = big heart. She’s going to have SUCH a spoiled-rotten time with your Mom!

  4. Peg Achterman on July 12, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Awh – you’ll make it. I feel the same about Skye. She had three weeks of doggie-camp with friends (who have teenagers) while I was away on trips. I missed her so much.
    I’m a bit worried about your roof though – or something else leaking? Time to call someone on that.

  5. Greta on July 12, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Oh Toad…! <3


  6. The Zadge on July 12, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    You are welcome over here ANYTIME to get your dog fix from my two hounds!

  7. […] than two weeks after taking her to Kansas City, my mom called to let me know that Toad had taken an abrupt turn for the worst. She was in a lot of […]

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