We have a bit of a dog issue. The bulk of the problem, it seems, is that we have one. Or at least this particular one.
Atticus joined our family in summer of 2007. Old school readers of any day a beautiful change may remember his predecessor, Deacon, otherwise known as The Best Dog Ever. Deacon joined our family in summer of 2005, and we lost him to lymphoma in fall of 2006. Deacon was mellow and affectionate and extremely well-behaved. I still tear up when I think about him. We've missed him more than ever since Juliette's birth, because he would have been so good with her. It positively boggles my mind that we have had Atticus longer than we had Deacon, because to be completely honest, he still sort of seems like an interloper... a replacement. That sounds downright awful, and I feel guilty for thinking it. But the fact of the matter is this: Atticus ain't no Deacon. He does have his moments of sweetness, but he is also stubborn and hyper and seemingly untrainable. I've watched enough Dog Whisperer to know that it's probably our fault. Although he still gets two walks a day, he doesn't get nearly as much attention as he did before the one he deems an interloper came along. Now that Juliette is on the floor, Atticus spends most of his time in the backyard alternately sulking, barking, and howling. He isn't outright bad with Juliette; he hasn't shown any aggression (and has in fact never once in the entire time we've owned him shown any aggression). He just steals her toys and gets in her face and leaves his abominable stink behind. At one point we thought we'd try to get him medical attention for his condition (warning: that link is not for the fainthearted), but the possibly-effective-possibly-not elective surgery is $800, so that's off the table. I've always been adverse to the whole idea of giving a pet up unless it has actually hurt someone, but the option of saying goodbye to Atticus has been tentatively laid on the proverbial table.
And that makes me feel really, really badly.