Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stress Reducer

This following tale is not one I'm proud of but one I need to get off my chest.

It reflects poorly on me but it was a really important step in continuing my life.

Every since my child could talk he wanted a dog. Pleaded for a Scottie dog. His Dad doesn't like pets and said no......Until one day we were coming out of the shopping mall to leave a little cute girl with a cardboard box of dogs begged us to take one of her cute puppies home because her Dad told her she couldn't come home until they were gone. The dog grew in three months to a giant Rottweiler/German Sheppard mix as best as the vet could tell. It knocked us down and tore up trees roots and all and my husband gave it away to the lawn service guys who loved that dog. They have a ranch outside of town and wanted a big ol guard dog. Happy ending for all.

Years went by and my son continued to beg. He wanted a real dog. He said real dogs are like Scottie dogs, small and you can hug them. He begs and pleads and his Dad practically turns purple each time he asks he just wont hear of it. Then friends of ours say that they found a dog, an adorable sweet dog wandering in front of their home and its trained and sweet but they already have dogs and their big dogs don't like the little dog and they have to keep them all separated and the husband says to take the found dog to the pound. On the final day of the dogs life she begs me to go get it. I beg my husband and he says finally with huge sighs that I may go to the pound and get that dog and ONLY that one dog. I go to save the dog and it turns out that our friends husband relents and she already has picked it back up.
But OF COURSE they show me the other dogs all locked up and I swear to you by all that is true that they look at you with these huge "save me" eyes and you HAVE to take one home if not two or twenty. I bent down to pet them and this little black dog leaps right into my arms and rubs her nose on my cheek like kisses. We bring her home, and she proceeds to turn into a Tasmanian devil and rips our drapes to shreds, tears up the couch, ruins the carpet with determined defecating with vengeance. We brought her to the vet and the vet says the dog must have been abandoned and it has issues. You think??. The vet advises that we get one or two more little dogs to help this one live in a "pack" and she would be calm and relax and not want to "get back" at humans for the past. My husband about freaked out and demanded we find a new home. I did. I gave it to a family who had two little dogs and were looking for a third. They loved her and it was a good match. Happy ending for all.

Years go by and soon my son is begging again. This time I really want another dog too, I just really missed the last one and I had loved that little black dog even if she was a devil in cute doggies clothing. So I chime in. This time surprisingly my husband is not as adamant but he is weary worn in his listening. He says the only dog he would even consider is a white dog. A Maltese. We went to every rescue we could to search. We scoured the newspaper and penny saver ads. We became hunters. My husband went out of town for a couple of weeks (this is 5 years ago) and we see an ad in the paper for the PERFECT dog! A new puppy this lady had to get rid of as her dog had puppies and she couldn't keep them and had one left.

We fell in love with this little ball of white fur. It was really young and cute and we carried it in our arms. I spent hours training the dog, and took it to puppy class even. He was a really quick learner. But he had hip and knee problems and then allergies. Pretty soon I was taking the dog to the vet every three months for shots and medicine and pain pills. Then we spent two years trying different dog foods to try to modify its diet because it was allergic to everything, even rubbing on our clothes would make him break out and we discovered he was allergic to fabric softener. Because of this he was a miserable dog. He was grouchy and didn't like kids. Didn't like other dogs, didn't like to be petted anywhere except on the top of his head and his belly scratched. Anywhere else and he'd likely bite you. He bit me hard once when I was putting medicine on him and after that I was leery of him. Its never a good thing to hate your own dog but that is exactly what I did. I hated that dog and all the fussing it took to care for him. My son never liked the dog to begin with and my husband felt that we betrayed him by getting a dog while he was out of town. He said that just because he said he would consider that kind of dog didn't mean we could have one without him being there to approve.

So for 5 years I insisted that we care for this mess of a dog with its poo balls, and diarrhea and runny eyes and biting teeth and red oozing skin because it was a responsibility and I just couldn't bear to again give another dog away like we were failures. So we kept it. Kept paying the vet to give him allergy shots (2$ a day) and special food and special salve and we got it to where with much care we managed to keep him going without all the sores and misery, then I got cancer and they told me the one unifying thing in breast cancer studies is the amount of stress the women are under.

With a heavy heart I determined that one of my greater stresses of life was this dog. I finally conceded that its not necessary to torture myself or this family any longer with the misery it is to keep this dog.Its been a year in trying to find the perfect home for him but finally a family looking for a little dog called and we met them and we told them all about the food and how they would have to care for him and they really didn't mind. We gave them a 25lb bag of his special food, his special bed, his salve, and all his toys and things and bid him well. I told them that if it didn't turn out to be what they wanted that they would have to be responsible to pass him on or bring him to a shelter. Breaks my heart to admit that. I am the rescuer not the relinquish er.

Our family life has improved 1000% without the dog. The amount of relief is palpable. Every day is like a joy to wake up and not have to deal with that grouch. As a huge pet lover it was really sad to have to realize how much I resented him.How much my husband hated having that dog and how much happier we would be once he was gone.

I feel like I've let the pet lovers down. We havent really told anyone, just whomever comes over and asks what happened to our dog. So there, now you know another reason I'm enjoying life now. But its with a bit of guilt.

And the lesson learned? Third time is NOT always the charm.

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