Saturday, August 8, 2009

The dog that was not meant to be

Trotter, our precious dog, from 2001 to 2009

Those that follow this blog know that my series, Angels I Don’t See (AIDS), is only up to late January of 2009. As I have written before, the heart of the story has yet to be published. Much of what has occurred between January and now is truly astonishing and had I not lived it myself I would be hesitant to believe it.

One of those events was losing our precious and beloved little girl, our dog Trotter. She was the center of our universe and without getting into too many details here (that is a part of AIDS that will come later in the series) I was devastated and the day she was put down I was in such an emotional hell, the likes of which I have never experienced.

I decided at the time that getting another dog was unfair to the dog and to me. Ric was so sick and so incapable of doing even the simplest of tasks, so another dog, with all the unknown variables, was out of the question. Also, I was still grieving Trotter and the idea that another could replace her was inconceivable.

But as time went on, and Ric’s condition improved, I began toying with the idea. I felt it would be not only good for Ric, but therapeutic as well. Having a dog in the house would give Ric something to focus on besides the television and he could assist in training the dog and the dog would give Ric a companion in the rare times when he was left alone.

So earlier this week we went to a shelter looking for a Boston Terrier. Unfortunately, due to growing popularity of the breed we were unsuccessful. But as we went into the dog area of the shelter we saw a dog that piqued our interest. He was a Jack Russell Terrier, seemed sweet and, being the impulsive people we are we decided that, after taking him out of his crate and for a walk, we would adopt him.

There were many problems with this. The first was that the shelter was unsure if the dog was “dog aggressive”. While this should have given me pause when I heard it since we have so many dogs that live in our building, I thought we could train out the aggression, if such aggression even existed, of the dog. Inter alia, after researching JRTs on the internet I quickly realized that training a full grown JRT is extremely difficult, that they are lovable but stubborn and that they require rigorous exercise of running and playing outdoors.

Being Ric’s full time caregiver ( I do have help that comes in five days a week for a total of 27 hours, but I am still his full time caregiver) and given Ric’s dementia, I knew in my heart of hearts that the dog was not the right fit. But, much like a full grown JRT, I was stubborn and moved forward with plans to get our new dog, signing the adoption papers and paying the adoption fee.

Financially we did not have the money for the adoption fees and what would be a subsequent visit to vet and licensing of the dog, as required per the adoption papers. We also did not have the money for all the things we bought for our new dog and the things we had yet to buy that he needed.

Finally, after an email I received from our property manager that was curt and in many ways unnecessary, I determined that the only fair thing to do for the dog and for us was to cancel the adoption. Though the property manager’s email was unwarranted on many fronts, she did make some good points and, not being one to throw out the baby with the bathwater, I went to the shelter yesterday afternoon and stopped the adoption. I did so with a clean conscious since I knew that the shelter does not euthanize the dogs. I then returned home and gathered up all the things I bought for our new dog and, with Ric in tow, returned all the items.

Though these past few months has been a vale of tears, and though Ric cried the entire time we were driving to return the items, I knew that what I did was right for us and for the dog.

As my mother said, something better will come of this. Our heart, after all, was set on a Boston Terrier, and perhaps we will find one or even another breed that has a temperament better suited to Ric’s needs.

So now we return to searching for our new dog once again, one that perhaps we can adopt when we are financially on better footing and one that allows us all, including our property manager, to feel comfortable with our choice.

In the end, the adoption and subsequent cancellation, was my fault. I did not think it through. I so wanted a dog back in our lives that I was blinded by the realities that such a decision requires.

If any know of a small adult dog that has a good temperament around not only humans and little humans but also around other dogs and does not bark incessantly in the tri-state area (New York, Connecticut and New Jersey), let me know. Also we have a car and can travel to pick it up in Pennsylvania or Delaware or even Virginia.

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