After graduating college, I moved in with friends from high school and my then boyfriend. My roommate had a little three-legged Dachshund/Yorkie mix named Peeta. I loved that dog but he was fearful and reactive and I invested a lot of time working with him. After a summer of working Legally Blonde and hanging out with our chihuahua for the show plus hanging out with my boss's lab mix and friend's American Staffordshire Terrier, I decided I wanted a dog of my own. My cat, Fae, didn't care for other cats, but she always has loved dogs, so it was a good fit.
I did months worth of research looking into breeds I liked, but I wanted to go with a rescue because that's what my family had always done. After several inquiries, I brought Peeta to go meet a 7 month old Italian Greyhound/Chihuahua mix named Corey. Shockingly, Peeta instantly hit it off with the pup and after my boyfriend met him, I brought Corey home and renamed him Argos. I've always been a big reader and I named him after Odysseus' greyhound.
Argos had been surrendered by his owner.
He'd been a Christmas present the owner didn't want and he'd been kept as an outside dog until he was finally surrendered. He knew absolutely nothing, many 8 week old puppies know more than Argos did at 7 months. He didn't know how to do stairs or play with toys; he'd never had his nails trimmed. I had to housebreak him from scratch. To make matters worse, he'd been neutered and had his rear dewclaws removed the day before I brought him home and his stitches tore out that day (all he had been doing was walking around a little. The stitches had torn through the skin). He had side effects from the anesthesia (he's always been chemically sensitive) and he had a case of giardia he couldn't shake.
There were a lot of vet trips in my future while he got healthy. Despite doing my best at research, the rescue I got Argos from shut down half a year later due to negligence, which in retrospect seemed inevitable. Argos quickly bonded with me and we took so many outings to try to get him comfortable with the world. He became a confident, stand-up dog who loved to play ball and tug and would do anything for a piece of cheese. He wasn't the nervous, reactive dog that I'd brought home a few months before. I started to see the real Argos and then three months later my boyfriend and I broke up and I moved back in with my parents. They were gracious enough to take us both in, so Argos learned about new people and cats and my sister. And my family started to fall in love with this cuddly, goofy, bouncy little dog who earned himself the nickname Pogo for his tendency to jump next to you until you finally caught him.
A few months later, I moved into a place of my own and found that he was sorely missing other people and having a dog companion. After over half a year of looking for a suitable companion, I brought home Ash. The two hit it off very quickly and Argos' happy go-lucky ways were a good influence on Ash. We did a lot of hiking and adventuring to fenced areas. Unfortunately, I had a lot of bad luck that year and mental health was a struggle. Couple
that with chronic sinus infections that needed surgery and the dogs didn't always get out as much as they should have. But Argos was always down for snuggling on the couch.
After surgery, things improved and I started heavily researching Azawakh (which, as we know, has brought me to where I am today). I did a lot of dog sitting and some fostering and Argos was always so accommodating and kind. There was very little of the anxious dog I first brought home left, though I still do see it come out occasionally in new situations, it's largely why we don't trial. When I started bringing the
Azawakh home it was quite literally Argos who taught them all the ropes: how to wait on a bed, how to fetch, how to sit, how to cuddle. Argos will do anything for food and though we don't trial, he has the same foundations in sports that my Azawakh do. Very often I would teach something to Argos so he could then demo it for the Azawakh. He's passed his Canine Good Citizen test and I feel confident he could pass his CGCA and CGCU if I was ever so inclined. He even started training for flyball during the COVID pandemic to keep us both busy.
But COVID has changed everything, not just me, but for my family too. Being trapped at home hasn't been good for anyone's mental health and while the dogs and I adventured and hiked, my sister hasn't had that outlet. So I started letting her borrow Argos. Typically she would watch him for a long weekend while I went coursing and she would often keep him several days after the trial too. It was hard to ignore the benefit that Argos had on my sister's life. So my husband and I quietly started discussing the benefits of giving him to my sister.
Eventually, she started to look for a dog of
her own. We talked about breeders. We talked about rescues. We talked about the breeds that would or wouldn't fit. Ultimately she just wanted a dog like Argos and it's so hard to explain why you're not going to just end up with a dog like Argos, explain how many hours of training I put into him. It's hard to explain how lucky I got to have a solid, jolly little dog and yet he still has epilepsy and difficulties with chemicals. And I didn't want her to end up in a situation where she didn't end up lucky. Where, despite her research, the dog ended up aggressive or incredibly, unshakably anxious. I've worked with those dogs. I've worked with those dogs daily and it is so hard on their owners.
So I finally decided that giving Argos to my sister would truly be what is best for him. I don't doubt he loves me and Whitman and the other dogs. I love him dearly. But the fact remains that he is not the dog who trials with me. If he comes to trials, it's just to hang out. We go on walks and do training sessions one on one, but it's not nearly the amount of time my sister can devote to him. When I started training, I suddenly understood why some dogs just aren't the right fit in their current home. I had been vehemently anti-rehoming until then. But after seeing herding breeds that had been nipping children rehomed to a farm start to utterly thrive over and over again, I couldn't deny that the rehoming had been best for everyone involved.
Still though, I struggled to understand breeders who would find homes for their retired show dogs. I knew the arguments, the logic, but it just felt so much like throwing them away after all their hard work. I had been determined to keep my two pet, rescue dogs. Even now, I know that they love me and I love them and my home is a good home for them. But the fact remains. There is a better home for Argos. One that will undeniably give him all the attention and time that he deserves. And I can't deny him that because I don't want to let him go. It's not that I'm not a good fit for him anymore, but I'm not the best fit he could have. And I want the best for him. So I get it now. I get the breeders who want to retire their beloved dog so they can be someone's shining star. So that dog can be pivotal in someone else's life instead of just being supporting cast. It doesn't ever quite click, until you go through it yourself.
I'll still get to see him. We'll hike together. I'll watch him when my sister is out of town. I might even see if I can borrow him for a trip or two. But on Thursday he begins the next chapter of his life.