The break-up I went thru last year was emotionally devastating. Having had been in what I thought was a secure, wonderful lifetime of a relationship, and realizing at some point that the healthiest thing for me would be to get out, was a kin to going from the comfort of a toasty warm home on a cold day to willingly stepping out into a -32 degree day. With 6”inches of snow. Naked. While someone hosed you down. And then blew an industrial strength fan on you.
When I was able to gather my bearings and head out of the proverbial cold, I found I desperately needed something to warm my heart. It cried like a newborn baby, hungry for love or comfort of some sort. Any sort.
I soon found tequila didn’t work, (as it doesn’t work with babies either, sadly. I joke, I keed!) although it was a fun if not hazy and unmemorable (literally) couple of weeks. Fun as is in funhouse. On hallucinegenics. My point, alcohol won’t solve the problem. My kids refused to move back home and get fattened up and spoiled, regardless of how wonderful the idea sounded. Friends simply reminded me of what I was missing, so I came to the conclusion that an animal would have to do the trick.
Not the trick. The trick.
The obvious choice seemed to get a cat or dog.
Cat’s, while I have grown up with them, and even owned a few, just didn’t seem like what I needed. After all, when suffering from the aftermath of rejection it seemed highly likely an animal that consistently rejects you on their terms, and acts like it’s doing you a favor, might just make me suicidal. That narrowed down the choice to a dog. Honestly speaking I had just gone thru a horrible hell of owning a rescue puggle that gave the term Crazy Dog new meaning, and I wasn’t sure if I was willing to give a toss of the dice towards that venue.
Life seemed to be telling me that a Dog was what I needed. A couple almost fell in my lap, one of them almost literally. I window shopped online at different sites and considered this one or that one, but my commitment meter was a little stiff and frankly quite frightened.
A friend suggested I make a pros and cons list of what having a dog would mean to me. I got out my lined paper, and just like in school I folded it in half and sat and thought and made the list. Then she said to add a score of importance to each one and see what weighed more.
The Cons outweighed the Pros. I was crushed. So I cheated and rearranged the scores, and VOILA! Magically the Pros now outweighed the cons. Hey if you can’t cheat on your own made up test and scoring system, what’s the point.
I immediately headed to the local shelter, looking for an older dog, feeling magnanimous about my decision. The shelter was thrilled I was willing to consider an old dog, and seemingly brought me out every broken, decrepit dog they had. I think one of them might have even been dead, as they poked and prodded it with a stick, arguing with me that it was still living. It was the dead parrot skit from Monty Python all over again.
Maybe old wasn’t what I needed after all. As I perused cage after cage a tiny leprechaun in a dog suit who was bouncing all over the place caught my eye. Why I could enter that dog in the Dog Olympics for highest jumper, I immediately thought to myself, wondering if indeed there was a Dog Olympics. OK, so I didn’t really think that, but trust me if there were a Dog Olympics, he would totally win in the Featherweight High Jumper event.
I stopped and looked again and noticed how tiny he was, and he was a bit older, so technically I would be adopting a senior-ish dog … The volunteer who was trying to sell me on a neighbor of his down the road, begrudgingly came back and opened this little guys cage. We went outside, where I would love to say he won me with his charming personality. No, he won me with his softness, and the ability to allow me to tuck him under my chin and nestle him. And the jumping. I love a good jumper.
I found my very needed baby.
The rest of my story on his adoption can be found on a post I wrote earlier: https://singlefiledating.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/dating-and-the-dog/
He fit the need perfectly. I won’t say I never woke up thinking about The One, but my extra time was so enveloped in spending it with The Dog that little by little thoughts of him were lessened. The Dog didn’t reject me. The Dog loved me unconditionally. The Dog let me pick out his clothes. Life wasn’t good, but it was getting better.
With all good stories, darkness always comes over the kingdom. Remember the crazy Puggle I mentioned early? Well she left crazy germs in the house, or a crazy glandular scent rubbed on the walls, because soon my sweet little leprechaun was showing signs of infection.
His happiness when I came home from work, was starting to look more like an insane frenzy. His house training abilities that he miraculously came pre-programmed with, went on the kibitz. Small little accidents, turned into him marking every form of rug found in my home. I ignored the warning signs of Separation Anxiety Disorder. NOT MY BABY, as I clenched him closer and closer.
But sadly, it was becoming more and more evident. The silence at home, the hours while I worked was paying its toll on him. Kenneling made it worse. Crazier and crazier, going from sullen to hyper to withdrawn. In a Dog’s World crazy smells like urine, and soon my house did too.
When I made the decision to end my relationship last year, it was difficult. But not being a slow band-aide puller-offer, I ripped it off swiftly, and yelped long and loud in pain. I knew it had to be done. I knew what we had was festering and going nowhere, and no amount of closing my eyes would change that.
I knew I had to do the same with The Dog. I had to find him a new home and it had to happen soon. Like Now. Crazy was settling in and I didn’t want a defective dog to go to a home where their patience would be limited and his life would end in a circle of shelters. I found the cutest pictures I had of him, invested the help of a friend and within two days I had a nibble on the bait. She came by last night to pick him up for a trial run. Perfect family, with a daddy and two older children.
In an hour she had fallen in love and said she would be by the next day to pick up his things. She sent me a text showing me how happy he was. A pang of jealousy went thru me, because he hadn’t seemed that happy in days with me. But compassion triumphed jealousy and I texted her how happy I was for her. For them. FOR HIM.
Then I wept. And wept. My little jumping leprechaun had done his job though and now it was my turn to free him in return. He was there for me when I needed it most. He helped heal the broken heart with his fuzzy love. He warmed my bed when it felt the coldest and loneliest. He showed me I could still love, and be loved. In return I found him the perfect home.
If I could shake his little paw and tell him job well done, I would.