This is Brandy's page!

Brandy in the back with her new "puppy", Dulcie.

", WHERE was that bird you told me about???"

Brandy resented having to keep up when she came along on our adventures and resented
being left out of the fun if she stayed home- SOMETHING had to change. This wasn't a
matter of physical ability, it was just her STRONG opinion that at 3 years old she could
retire to the couch! Unfortunately, my husband and I don't spend many evenings and
weekends around the house- we're generally out adventuring if the weather cooperates.

We had really trained her, she was amazing with kids, and she was AWESOME on birds.
Brandy went to a great new home February 2001. I'm looking forward to hearing
what her new owners think of her this fall!

While I know she'll have it much easier at her new owner's place, I still miss her. Below is a
tribute I sent to some friends and familiy right after I placed her. The pain described is as
good a reason I know for picking the dog you're going to share the next 10+ years with carefully.
We provided a home and training when she desparately needed it, but our desicion was made
with the heart instead of looking down the road. I'm glad we did it, but it meant some
tears in the long run...

I gave my dog away yesterday. I gave her to a good home, certainly better than we could provide in the long run. A place where she will never have to be in a hurry again, where she can become part of a magical childhood memory, where holding down the carpet and cleaning up the kitchen floor under a toddler's chair is the biggest chore of the day.

I know all this is good, and I'm still crying.

I drove to Pullman and met the couple that expressed an interest in Brandy. No, they didn't expect Lassie. Yes, they knew about keeping a lid on the diaper hamper. Yes, they wanted a lazy, kid- proof, trained dog. They would even like to take her hunting occasionally as with labs they had growing up. While they had wanted a female adult lab, the search had stretched on for several months because they just couldn't find one good enough with small children.

Brandy sat patiently in the kitchen while their 19 month old son fondled her ear, then fell asleep in the corner on her blanket.

I told them everything- good, bad, ugly, even the weird things. "She's quirky!" I wailed after I said everything else I could think of. Surely if there was a chink in their resolve, I needed to know about it now.

He laughed. "Aren't they all?"

I sputtered, garbling out some kind of agreement. He had a point. We had prayed that we would find the perfect family- telling each other that if it didn't exist, Brandy would stay with us forever- and here they were standing in front of me. So I started the car, vowing that I wouldn't cry until I had left.

The sob that rose in my chest was so unexpectedly huge. I held it back just enough to get in and out of the gas station for the 200 mile drive home, then broke down again. All I could do was keep saying, "I love you, Brandy!" as the tears rolled and rolled...

This first pain was raw, but the second ache was so much deeper.

I arrived home, and the reality thudded home that Brandy wouldn't greet me. That I would never again head into the woods with a black dog tagging at my heels and a gun on my shoulder to find grouse and new adventures. That I wouldn't be able to bury my fingers in her coarse, deep fur and whisper secrets while she gazed at me with her soulful brown eyes. That she wouldn't come quietly looking for me in the living room, and groan in ecstasy as I rubbed her rear end.

They emailed saying Brandy looked out the living room window for a while, but seemed in a better mood once they fed her.

Yes, she will love them, and she will certainly enjoy being a house pet much more than a working dog. Their little boy and their baby to come will grow up with her, and she will be the dog they dream of, talk about, and reminisce over as they get old. They will take her pheasant hunting in the golden fields of autumn, and her unerring instinct will find many birds for the table. In the evening she will come quietly looking for them in the living room, and groan in ecstasy while they rub her rear end.

They're perfect.

I still feel like a traitor.

I'm still crying.