Downsizing the Dog

by: Mark

It pains me to write this.

At the start of any great adventure you picture yourself summiting the mountain, completing your quest, or hiking to the edge and looking over. You picture yourself with the people you love, and the things you care about.

I pictured us with Sullivan.

Sullivan is our dog. I’m sure dog owners will agree– our dogs are not JUST dogs. They truly are our best friends. They’re the ones who love us no matter what, and support whatever we’re doing. They visit us when we’re happy, sad, on the toilet, trying to work, cooking dinner, or just sleeping. They love you when you screw up and feel like a total idiot, and all they want in return is to sit next to you, an occasional belly rub, permission to smell things, and maybe to steal that leftover steak you so foolishly left on the counter.

That’s Sullivan.

The trouble is, we live in less than 275 sq feet now. We have the world’s largest front and back yard, but there is no fence to keep Sullivan from getting into trouble away from home.

Our first couple months in the RV was the best it was ever gonna get for Sullivan. The RV wasn’t quite done yet, but we were essentially homeless with out it. So the three of us and Sullivan moved in and parked in our sister and brother-in-law’s backyard while we finished renovations.

Back when we lived in a three bedroom house, with a great big back yard, we would open the back door and Sullivan would traverse the entire backyard in 3 or 4 gazelle like bounds. It was as if we were jumping from one trampoline to the next across the yard. When we moved from that house into a one bedroom apartment, we had to leash walk him 2-3 times a day. We lived near a dog park and made good use of it. When we moved to Galveston, we promised the landlord that we wouldn’t allow Sullivan to do his doggie business in the yard because there were already 3 dogs living there. I stuck to my word on that and continued walking him down to the beach and back 2-3 times a day. There was a poor excuse for a dog park on the island; we drove there once and didn’t even bother getting out of the car.

It hasn’t been until those 2 months in Austin, parked in our sister’s backyard, that we were able to open the door and let Sullivan run out untethered. For the first time, in almost 3 years, he bounded across the yard, like a gazelle.

Seeing him that way was wonderful, and hard knowing that, once we hit the road, he would be bound to a leash once again when not cooped up in 200 something sq ft with 3 other people.

Our sweet sister and her new husband have been wanting a dog since before they got married. They loved and enjoyed Sully whenever they visited, and he loved them right back. The decision was painful, but clear. Every great destination is reached by short, sometimes painful, steps. This was one of ours, but as difficult as it was, we know it is what’s best for Sullivan.

The picture of the dream has changed, but what’s left in the frame is that much sweeter.


Hi, I’m Mark. I was born and raised in Texas. I like cheeseburgers, great design and getting my hands dirty. I have a soul patch; everyone hates it.

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