lessons from a dog

We are fostering a dog right now. This is our 3rd attempt to introduce a dog into our family and each time it’s been a heart-wrenching experience. The first time we didn’t really fail as much as the poor dog got very sick and we ended up relinquishing him back to the Human Society because we couldn’t pay for the medical care he needed.

The second time was adopting a puppy on a whim with two rather small children. Stupid.

This time we were very methodical, researched, visited the dogs at the shelter many times and picked one out to foster to adopt. It’s been another roller coaster of emotions. And it’s been hard.

This dog is perfect in so many ways. She is older, but still has some puppy in her. She is insanely tolerant of my smothering children. She is crate trained and sleeps all night without any peep. She is obedient and stays downstairs when we go up. And the only thing so far she is tried to eat that wasn’t hers was the corner of a book (who can blame her…books are great!)

But, she is freaked out about other dogs and people that walk by our house. It makes it almost impossible (and a bit scary) to go on a walk with her and forget her being outside when the surrounding neighbors dogs are out.

For me, this has been so difficult. I didn’t grow up with animals at all and as much as I think I’ve wanted a dog, I’m realizing I don’t think I did. It’s been a journey through being honest with yourself, but also learning how to balance my desires with the desires of my husband and children.

How does one do that? Where does personal sacrifice for the happiness of others play into this? I don’t know. We are still on the fence with this sweet dog and it’s hard. There is a part of me that wants so badly to make this work…for the sake of the rest of my family. But there is another part of me that wants to walk her back to the shelter today. I’m walking a fine line between self-sacrifice and honesty.

I’ve struggled with the fact that I don’t like change. I think I do, but I don’t. I like my neat and “easy” life and adding this member to our family has rocked my boat and I don’t like boats.  I like routine and this has upset my routine.

So here’s to the dog that has rocked my boat. The jury is still out as to where the boat is going.

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