Monday, June 18, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: The Vow

We've always faced the reality:  sometimes relationships don't work out.  People get divorced.  People break up.  People rebuild their lives separately.

Dogs don't.  Dogs don't understand the "it's not you, it's me" thing.  They don't understand that you loved them, but now you've got a new job and you just don't have time for them anymore.  They don't understand that you just can't deal with the responsibility of dog ownership, or your new partner is allergic, and that they have to go.

Dogs are a "till death do we part" animal, and adopting one means a lifetime commitment.  (Incidentally, this is why so many shelters have a "trial period" during which you can decide this isn't the dog for you or this isn't the right time for you, and you bring the dog back before the dog gets too attached.  Good policy, and one I'd highly recommend you keep your eye out for if you are looking to adopt.  Sometimes, it's just not a good fit.)

This is especially important to remember with adult dogs with disabilities, be it an amputation, blindness, deafness, whatever.  Preliminary studies show that disabled dogs are even more attached to their handlers than other dogs.

Prada and my cat Cinco are my girls.  I am their guardian, and they are my responsibility and pleasure.  They are my family, and that means doing right by them even when that is challenging to me.  If someone comes into my life who is not prepared to accept what is to me, a simple fact of life, that does limit the role that person can play.  I mean, My Sister the Lawyer is pretty irritating sometimes, but if some asked me to give her up becuase they didn't like her, guess which person I'd choose?  It's no different with my pets.

So yes, I clean up my share of potty accidents and puke and hairballs.  I spend a couple of hours a week grooming.  I haul my butt out of bed at oh-dark-thirty to take the dog out.  I sometimes decline invitations because I have to go home and take care of those who are depending on me.  Sometimes, it's a real drag.

But in return, I get truly unconditional love and devotion, and it's so, so worth it.

(Update:  I understand I've hurt some people's feelings with this post.  Let me be clear:  I totally get that sometimes, things just don't work the way they should.  Sometimes, priorities conflict and you just have to do the best you can.  And sometimes, there are no good solutions.  I'm not qualified to judge these situations.  Unless your situation was your limited time to part-ay.  Then I'm totally judging you.)

(True:  Remember Mike the Deer-Puncher?  When we were in high school, he was fortunate enough to find Maggie, a very special dog who was really bigger than a lap dog ought to be, accompanied Mike on two cross-country moves and most of his hijinks, and had a bond with him that made you feel lucky just to witness.  We'll miss you, lovely lady!)


  1. Uh oh. You know that I want to remain in your good graces, right? So that means DON'T read my blog post for today, k? Please?!? Because you will hate me and it will break my heart.

    1. Oh, Jo, I could never hate you. Sounds to me like you've had some tough decisions to make and are doing the best you can, and trying to make sure everyone has a good home. Don't beat yourself up on my account!

      I've known a number of people who have gotten a puppy and then decided the responsibility of caring for it was interfering with their party time. That I have a problem with. Trying to do what's right for your family like you are is always admirable. I think you're a very strong lady to be holding up with everything you've been dealing with lately.