Monday, January 18, 2010

Dog Love

Duke and Satchmo.  Boxer mixes.  Brothers.  Adopted them when they were 10 years old.  Duke made it to 12.  Satchmo to 13.  Both died of cancer.  One of the vets told us that Boxers tend to be "tumor factories."  They had severe separation anxiety.  Duke was extremely dog aggressive (not with Satchmo.)  They were a huge pain in the ass.  But I loved those dogs.  They gave me so much joy.  I still get teary-eyed when I think about sitting with Satchmo when the vet put him down.

Haven't had a dog since.  It's been almost 7 years.  Didn't deliberately decide not to get another dog.  Just moved and couldn't have them and then acquired a cat.  Decided recently to get another dog.  Thought to myself, "I know they make me happy.  What am I waiting for?"

They do make me happy.  Always have.  I was the kid who would bring the stray dogs home and beg to keep them even though I knew we never could.  It is a simple, buoyant heart-happiness.  Gives me joy like nothing else in the world.

Met a bonded pair of dogs at the Human Society.  A Golden Retriever and a Chihuahua.  They tried to separate them because it is always easier to adopt single dogs.  But the Golden can't live without her little friend.  They didn't make my heart sing, but their story touched me.  Lived in the cement backyard of a family for all four years of their life.  Both have health problems that were left untreated, including callouses that form after years and years of a dog never having a soft place to sit or lie down.  Both will have treatable, but not curable, health conditions for the rest of their lives.

The woman at the shelter seemed to say that if we decide to get them, we have to take them right away.  Even though it would be better if we could take them home on a Friday and spend a couple of days bonding with them before we have to leave them alone during the work day.  If we had to take them, we could work that out, but it wouldn't be ideal.  But there's nothing ideal about them sitting around the shelter, right?  Even though it is the Humane Society and they have their own doggie condo, with furniture, dog beds and TV.  But the woman was pushy.  It somehow bent me the wrong way.  I left there feeling sad and doubting if this was the right thing to do at all.

And now I've spun into all sorts of doubts and uncertainties.  Am I really ready for this commitment?  Should I only get one dog instead, even though the landlord said it was okay to get two and wouldn't it be great to rescue two dogs?  Should I wait for that love that shoots you through the heart?  And I just feel bad and guilty about the whole thing.  Maybe I really don't want to have a dog that needs eye drops 4-10 times a day.  And I've just wasted everyone's time.  I feel bad for these dogs, but do I really want to take them into my home because I feel bad?

It is a sad, dreary day.  Clouds covering everything.  I hate when something small pushes you in a bad direction and all of the gloomy things you think about yourself come creeping out.  I have been through this enough to recognize what it is.  Just on the downswing in the mood playground and the up will come again.  So I know it is not simply about the dogs.  I just won't make any decisions while I'm feeling this way.  And I'll do what I can to get that swing headed back up again.

Photo by Angie from Sawara, Chiba-ken, Japan
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.
Yea, I know.  The logic of this is messed up.  Dogs make me happy.  But I'm feeling bad so I won't get the dogs.  It's not logical.  It just is.


Bethany said...

oh shucks, my stomach just sank reading this. I was hoping you'd feed better today and they would let you wait till Friday and it would feel like the right thing to do. Either that or you'd just take them tonight and have two happy dogs to fuss with on your birthday.

I'm worse than you, attached to them already.
But no, you shouldn't adopt them just because you feel bad. That's how I ended up with my own shelter here in my home, really.

Even if you don't get these two dogs, I think two is a great idea for you. Well, for the dogs really, since you are not home for most of the day. They will keep each other company. Pairs are harder to find homes for. And if you can swing it financially, why not? Two are better than one for sure.

I hope you're feeling better, no matter what you decided.

Love you.

Ms. Moon said...

I think you will know when it's the right dog or dogs for you. You will KNOW.

swallowtail said...

aww, little grasshopper. at this point you have made a wise decision, knowing that coming from love is the best for you, and for the dogs. remember that a decision is simply a decision, and wise ones are flexible. the lady at the shelter was not the right one for you, and tomorrow someone else will be there, AND you may ask for someone else. your dog(s) are finding their way to you, seriously.

soon, your spirits rise, and ease settles with you.
blessings. xoxo

Anonymous said...

We had two dogs too - a big one and a little one - and within the last few years they both passed on. They were full of love and challenge. I completely related to everything you just said. You are wise to not make a decision under duress, wise to acknowledge your feelings, and wise to remember the swing. You'll know what feels right for you.

PS: If it's your birthday, like Bethany said, Happy Birthday!! Enjoy and celebrate you!