If we didn't love our dog so much, this trip wouldn't be so difficult on our emotions and finding her a wonderful dog sitter while we are gone! If we didn't have the dog, it's very likely that we would make a clean break and sell our house or put it up for rent.
We went back and forth with options for maintaining our household and dog in our absence, and we kept going back to finding somebody who loves dogs, who would be willing to live in our house and watch our dog in return for free rent. Hmmmm. That's a "tough" decision for anyone, really. Free rent plus being a temporary dog owner without the permanent responsibilities? Sign me up.
Another good reason to break the ice about our trip to everyone we know, is to ask for leads on potential house/dog sitters. In a short amount of time, we actually had several viable leads from reliable sources. We were very hopeful that we didn't have to go through a house/pet sitter service and begin interviewing strangers who would suddenly become entrenched in our very personal lives.
Ultimately, however; our first hopeful choice was a friend of ours who already watches our dog when we are out-of-town and is familiar with our house. Our wish was to not pressure our friend into doing something she didn't really want to do. So, we waited patiently and established other leads, just in case. It's great news for all of us that she has committed to staying at our house for the entire time. We couldn't be happier with the decision and a huge weight has been lifted of our worrying shoulders.
Now, we can move onto other worries...such as making a decision on health insurance and so forth.