Tenzing Norgay is a Wolf-Hybrid I raised for 7 months. He was 8 weeks old when I adopted him from a breeder in Yreka California. Unfortunately, I made the decision to re-home him on May 9 2010, Mothers Day. I had a verbal agreement with his new family that if for any reason, ‘things’ didn’t work out they would contact me immediately and I would come pick him up. They assured me they would provide him with a ‘forever home‘ and not to worry.
Well, ‘things’ didn’t work out . . . ‘things’ became rather complicated. I made a mistake, an error in judgement which I’d like the opportunity to rectify and why this Blog exists.
In April of 2010 I was planning to move from my home in Shady Cove, Oregon to Portland, Oregon. I thought it would be best for Tenzing if I found him a new home in a rural environment with ample outdoor space to romp and roam. Maybe with another dog as a playmate and a family that would appreciate his very special and loving spirit. I emailed some photos of him to a dear friend in Portland and she helped spread the word.
In May of 2010, I received a phone call from a woman who told me she lived in Washington, raised Goldendoodles and placed dogs in ‘forever homes’. She said she understood the emotional difficulties in re-homing a dog and knew a woman who might want Tenzing but if this woman didn’t, she was certain her parents would. She told me her parents lived close to Livingston Mountain with two dogs, a Lab and a German Shepherd mix. They had a few acres of forested land with a fenced area for the dogs and were looking for another dog because the German Shepherd mix was very old, too old to play with the 2-year-old Lab. Her father, drove a semi-truck and was away from home quite often. Her mother is a nurse and really enjoyed having the dog’s around for company. It sounded like paradise.
MISTAKE #1: I assumed the woman who contacted me was acquainted with my friend in Portland, wrong.
It was a coworker that knew or was related to the woman who contacted me, my friend had no association with her. This coworker had passed along the photos of Tenzing to this woman who then asked the coworker to get my contact information from my friend.
MISTAKE #2: I doubted myself.
Against my better judgment I trusted this woman’s advice that “it would be best for everyone especially Tenzing” to meet her and her parents at the an Off-Leash Dog Park in Vancouver, Washington. She explained in all of her experiences in re-homing dogs it would be best for Tenzing to meet his new canine companions in neutral territory which would also allow us to see how well they’d get along. I could get to know her and her parents and if it seemed like a good fit the adoption could take place there. She told me it works best if while the dogs are playing and distracted the person giving up their dog (that would be me) simply walks away leaving their dog with the new family.
As I write this I feel like a complete idiot for thinking this was anything more than abandonment. Perhaps it was the 300 mile drive from my home in southern Oregon, the thought of loosing my best friend or the veritable cornucopia of other stress in my life at the time. Maybe it was the guilt of knowing I was failing Tenzing, that’s probably closer to the truth but the bottom line is I made a mistake, a huge mistake and it appears Tenzing may have suffered because of my mistake.
Part of the verbal adoption agreement was that I would be able to visit Tenzing within one month to make sure he had acclimated to his new home. My plan was to be living in Portland within the month so checking in on him would be an easy 1 hour drive at most. Plans don’t always come to fruition . . . I didn’t move to Portland, but I did call this woman about 2 weeks after the adoption to let her know I would be in Portland at the end of the month for 10 days and I wanted to make arrangements to visit Tenzing.
MISTAKE #3: I didn’t get the address or phone number of her parents – Tenzings new home – and I didn’t have a formal pet adoption contract, in writing.
She said she’d call her parents and get back to me. I asked for their phone number and she said she’d better check with them first. That’s when I knew something was wrong, very wrong. She called me within a few minutes and explained her mother said she was afraid this was going to happen and it would be unhealthy for Tenzing to see me, he needed to accept his new family. The remainder of the conversation was rather unpleasant and I realized in that moment, I had no recourse . . . what had I done?
I continued to send emails and phone messages to this woman simply requesting she let me know how Tenzing was doing. I asked her to send me an email with a current photo of him and I tried to explain I wasn’t trying to take him away from her parents, all I wanted was to know he was well cared for, safe and loved. She didn’t return my calls or respond to my emails.
On Tuesday the 28th of December 2010, I decided to post a Lost and Found ad on Craigslist in the area where this woman’s parents lived and I emailed the sheriffs office in this area. Following their advice I phoned the Animal Control Agency for the area and spoke with a very helpful woman (Thank You) and discovered Hybrid-Wolf dogs are subject to regulation in the county and illegal within the city limits.
Once again I emailed this woman and left another phone message regarding the new information I had about Hybrid-Wolf regulations where her mother lives. Low and behold the next day I received an email from her in which she informed me Tenzing is no longer with her mother. She didn’t give me any information as to where he is or who he’s with or how he’s doing. She did inform me She’d forwarded my number (to whom I have no idea) and my attempts at communicating with her are borderline stalking and she’d blocked my email and phone number.
My response, How dare you! I trusted you! We made an agreement that if Tenzings forever home was not with your mother you or your mother would contact me first. Why you choose not to honor your word is beyond me and something you’ll live have to with, every morning when you look in the mirror. I will find him and make sure he’s being cared for, loved and safe. Please don’t treat anyone like this ever again.
Where is Tenzing Norgay? Have you seen him?