I had looked for homes for my dogs on and off for three years, seeing this coming. Although I never thought “this” would include living in my car. I figured I’d end up in a low-rent studio, hopefully one that would take dogs. Short of finding my dogs a good home with someone I could trust to deal with their various eccentricities compassionately and yet firmly, as I do, I would not let them go. I refused and refuse to take my dogs to an animal shelter.
I believe that adopting a pet means making a commitment to care for it for its life. Not until it becomes inconvenient. Not until you can no longer afford it. Not until you want to move somewhere that does not take pets. For life.
A mammalian animal is a sentient being who makes emotional attachments as strong as those of humans. I refused to cause Dwyn and Carlos trauma. God knows I have survived enough trauma in my lifetime without inflicting it on others. I will not put them through the grief of being abandoned and shunted to a cage among other freaked out animals in shelters.
Dwyn came from a rescue organization. Carlos had had two homes before mine. They trust me. I will not betray that trust.
Besides, my pets are my family. That is different than saying my pets are family. I have no human family who care about me, share their life passages, or inquire about my well-being. My pets are all I have. Between December of 2009 and April of 2011 we lost another canine companion, Thor, and the cat who had moved out from upstate New York with me, Peek-A-Boo. I could not deal with losing more; nor did I want to make my surviving pets Dwyn and Carlos do so.
As for how my dogs are doing, they love this new lifestyle. They get to run and explore new smells much more than before. Instead of guarding me on a fenced-in three acre property in a very safe neighborhood, Carlos and Dwyn have the real job of protecting me in the wilds of southern Arizona — and dogs need jobs. Yes, they spend a fair amount of time in my car, but always either in air conditioning and with water, or with open windows and water, and with leashed walk breaks as needed. When we get “home” (and sometimes in the morning if it’s not yet too hot), they get to chase my car up and down the four-wheel-drive road and then wander around waiting for more excitement.
My dogs are handling car living better than I am.