When a family pet wants to be an outdoor dog - Dr. Marty Becker


When a family pet wants to be an outdoor dog

Wednesday, Mar 21st, 2018 | By Dr. Marty Becker

The pack

Our dog Quill’N is special.

Of course every one of our pets is, so that’s no surprise. But pretty much everything about her is special. She came to us with our beloved Quin’C, who we adopted knowing he had cancer. She was in the adoption program with him, and didn’t like any other dogs but him… he seemed to give her confidence. So when the staff told us that, well… how could we leave her behind?

But Quin’C lived a very short time, and when he was gone, Quill’N was lost. We tried to give her the love and comfort she had received from him, but it didn’t seem to reach her. She made friends with our other dogs, but didn’t always appreciate them. She gets along well with our barn cats, and while I think the horses find her annoying now and then, is good with them as well.

What she doesn’t like is being in the house.

Quill’N was an outdoor dog who lived her whole life on a chain. We wanted so badly to introduce her to the joys of sofas, lying in front of the fireplace, and snuggling in the morning. She wanted nothing to do with it.

She’s overjoyed to see us in the morning, and accompany us on our ranch chores. She’s eager to smell the morning air, roll in the grass, and nip in and out among the trees. She loves to watch, stalk, and chase after wild rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, and grouse — none of which she’s every caught. But bring her in the house, and she’s a wreck, panting and pacing and looking for a way out.

It’s been hard for us to admit it, but despite our best efforts, Quill’N wants to be an outdoor dog. Not a lonely, deprived, chained-out, bored outdoor dog, but our outdoor dog — with a heated kennel in the winter, lots of love and affection, a safe place to spend the night, and tons of exercise all day long.

This wasn’t our plan, but we’re committed to honoring who Quill’N is and what she’s clearly shown us she wants. We are even talking about looking for another dog with the same needs, who may not fit into a house dog lifestyle but would be overjoyed to join Quill’N in the great outdoors here at Almost Heaven Ranch.

I admit some trepidation at sharing this information, but hope you’ll respect that we are trying to treat Quill’N as she’s shown us she wants to be treated, and not how we think she should be. Please know we love her no less than the pets who live in our house, and we will never relegate her to an existence without love and enrichment.

We’ll also continue giving her opportunities to spend time in the house, on her terms. Maybe one day she’ll realize it’s a haven and not a prison. But until then, this is for sure: She is part of our family, and we’ll never, ever give up on her!