An ex-dog owner gets an earful—and some sympathy.

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May 3 2006 7:44 PM

Pet Peeved

An ex-dog owner gets an earful—and some sympathy.

Emily Bazelon's personal saga explaining why she gave away Shadow the family dog generated perhaps the most vituperative, moralizing outburst from fraysters to date, with Kylee proclaiming herself "appalled by Slate narrative" and 8K9Kids giving Bazelon "an education on commitment."

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A few scattered voices helped to counterbalance the venom. Axlette agrees that giving up Shadow was the right choice under the circumstances. kmm3 offers these words of support:

After reading some of the awful messages you received condemning you for finding a new home for your dog, I felt compelled to write my two cents worth and let you know you are not a bad person or a bad mother.

Read more about her personal experience with pet adoption here.

To judge from the "14 pages of responses to your latest family trauma," bright_virago thanks Bazelon for inspiring readers to recognize that, in the contract between humans and pets, sometimes

it's time for us to part. We no longer have it in us to be their caretakers. Someone else might, and would give them more attention than we do, and we are praying that we can find that place for them. It's not abandonment, it's adoption. Will someone please tell me why pet adoption is such an awful thing?

For SallyRyan, too, Emily's story has helped her reconcile a similar decision:

We have a small backyard and a very hyper dog. As much as we tried (and boy did we try) we could not keep her contained in our yard. She became a nuisance in our neighborhood and caused problems with other dogs. Our neighbors kept her during the day when she got out and both my husband and I were at work. We couldn't afford a doggy daycare and to be honest it became frustrating that we couldn't even let her out in the morning to go to bathroom without an escape. We gave her to a family on Saturday (with massive tears flowing) that had a HUGE backyard and ten foot fences (lets see her climb that!) and other dogs to play with. Her new people just called to say that she seems happy although sad that she is not with us at night. I think over time all of us will heal and my husband and I learned a lesson the size of the yard will determine what bread of dog!

doglovah calls Bazelon's attackers a judgmental group:

I've worked closely with rescue groups, and all three of my dogs are rescues, and I believe that every one has been overwhelmed by something in their life, and Emily's happened to be the dog. She did the most responsible thing that she could other than keep him, which was to give him to good home. And why is keeping him the best thing for the dog? He obviously feels like he has a place now, as Ed has given him training, and established his role in the pack. If she had not taken the dog 7 years ago, who knows where Shadow would have ended up? She saved him when he was two, and gave him a better home when he was nine. Most dogs don't get chances like that.