I met Chevy almost 5 years ago while I attended college in Minnesota. The guy I dated at the time had a dog, Tipper, who was born on a farm in rural southern Minnesota. We visited one day, hoping to get a photo op for Tipper and her momma, and were sadly informed that the mother had passed away. But, they said, she had a litter right before she passed, would you like to see the puppies? And that's how I walked away with Chevy Chase.
I had a really relaxed lifestyle back then, I was in college, had a yard, a big apartment, and plenty of free time. Rat terriers are really smart, and I trained Chevy to do a ton of cool tricks. He was a good little pup. Potty training was a little difficult, but he got the hang of it after awhile.
As I got older and moved around to NYC and San Francisco, having a dog became more and more difficult. It's a HUGE responsibility and don't let anyone tell you owning a dog is easy. It's not. If you have a well behaved dog it is easiER, but say goodbye to your social life if you live in a big city and plan on having a high energy dog.
Owning a dog in San Francisco became very cumbersome for me and my husband. It became more apparent that Chevy was not living the best doggy life he could be. My husband and I both travel for work, and the nature of my work has me going out a lot to networking events after normal work hours. Chevy Chase has separation anxiety, (description here) which basically means he becomes very anxious when not around someone, particularly me. He needs a lot of attention and like most dogs, is happiest with a set routine. Our lives became anything but routine, and Chevy started to become more and more anxious around the house.
Chevy Chase is also a rat terrier. Here's a wikipedia link to those of you unfamiliar with the breed. Basically, he was bred to kill things, rats specifically. Take a dog that was bred to do a job and stick him in a small city condo and you are bound to have problems. Border Collies are notoriously neurotic if not given enough mental or physical stimulation. Chevy was under exercised and over bored most of the time. I'm not an outdoorsy person, and would rarely make the time to take him hiking or to a park. Some days we wouldn't even be able to take him on a good walk.
So the hunt for a new family began. I love Chevy like I'd love another human, and have consistently been amazed at the emotional bond we formed as a dog and a human. That little dog just gets me. He knows when I'm upset, and when I want him to be quiet, and knows when I'm pumped up and want to play. He's a brilliant dog, and has surprised me with his cognitive problem solving ability day over day. Needless to say, the thought of giving him away was difficult. But ultimately necessary.
I posted an adoption ad with Grateful Dogs rescue and the offers came in pretty quickly! Chevy is a well behaved and good natured dog who gets along with cats, so there was a lot of interest. I was determined to find the perfect home for him, so I actually turned several people down.
I found a family recently who lives in Oakland that was a perfect fit. The "dad" is an artist and works from home, having time to spend with Chevy and his new sweet pitbull sister, Paisley. They have a big yard where they grow a lot of their own food and even have a chicken coop! Most importantly they have the time and lifestyle that fits much better with a rat terrier's needs. They were looking for a 4 year old male rat terrier specifically, and the "mom" even went to the same college as my husband. The connections were too many to write off as coincidence, and thus I relinquished my ownership to the canine love of my life.
I'm sad. I miss the little guy. But I know I did the right thing, and I also know from the many picture updates I've received that he is happier than he has ever been. Here he is with his new sister Paisley cuddling up.
The experience of owning a dog has taught me more than I can contain to one post. Chevy taught me patience, discipline, responsibility, and brought me countless hours of entertainment and company. He's going to bring those lessons on to his new family, and have a ton of fun doing it. I'm happy for the 4.5 years I got to spend with the happiest little dog, and I hope that if I get another dog someday he or she is as smart and happy as Chevy Chase. --LA