After nearly a decade of practicing law, I embarked on a journey to become a writer, causing a 180-degree shift in my life. I had to juggle being a mom to two little humans and a canine, a wife, a lawyer, a daughter, a friend, and now, a writer.
Having no clone to delegate to and not being an octopus myself, something had to give. I’m good at multi-tasking, but I’m no superhero. And, I don’t have a nanny. My husband and my body were telling me to slow down. So, I sat down and looked at the sobering reality of my existence:
1. I’m a wife. That will never change, unless I kicked my hubby to the curb, and he’s not going anywhere.
2. My kids are the loves of my life and I want them to have both a happy mom and childhood. And, I want to enjoy motherhood.
3. If I didn’t write, I would fail to nourish my soul.
4. Practicing law is my vocation, one that I’m good at and helps pay the bills.
These were my non-negotiables. However, something had to give–and that was our dog.
Our family’s problems with the dog began to surface almost four years ago when I was pregnant with our first child. Our dog developed a strong aversion to me–or rather, my pregnancy hormones–and kept away from me during the entire pregnancy. No matter what I did to engage him, shower him with love and attention, and draw him near, he kept himself at bay. Then, my pregnancy took a turn for the precarious at the same time he got very sick with a bacterial infection, so I literally had to stay away from him in order to protect myself and the growing baby inside of me. It broke my heart.
Once the baby was born, my husband and I did our best to integrate our child into the dog’s life. We brought him a hospital blanket with her scent on it, and then brought him out of the house for them to meet in the front yard. While he never bit her or hurt her, he never warmed to our daughter in spite of our best efforts. Sadly, post-partum, our dog also never warmed to me again. My husband became his sole provider, taking on all dog-related care duties, which shifted an additional burden onto his shoulders.
Soon, apart from two brief walks he took with my husband each day, the dog stopped interacting with us. He hid under a table, a chair, a bed–he was depressed. As time wore on, what little time and energy we had left at the end of our long workdays was spent with our new baby.
Then came our second child, along with my second career. The dog still got fed and let out to relieve himself, but his existence had been reduced to a shadow in our lives. To boot, our now 11-month-old baby developed asthma after a grave battle with pneumonia at 3.5 months old, and was put on puffers to help him breath. Although he was hypoallergenic, the environment our dog brought into our house was not.
With two babes, our dog’s morning walk was eliminated. Instead, we let him out in the yard by himself, feeling good about the fenced-in freedom we gave him, satisfied that at least he was getting exercise. We watched him frolicking around, having fun darting in and out of the bushes, until one day, he darted out and didn’t dart back in.
We didn’t understand where he went since our yard was fully fenced-in. Eventually we realized that he navigated his way through a dangerous, thorny bush/rocks/sharp branches-filled narrow gap between our house and the fence. We couldn’t believe he’d go out that way without risking a major injury. Yet he did, unscathed. Each time, our dog came home care of a passerby, a neighbor, and even a driver, who spotted him running and stopped his car to grab him.
In spite of our keeping a close eye on him, he did this again several times. This was beyond nerve-racking for us. We were horribly worried for both his mental health and physical security. After the fifth time he ran away, we realized that he was as unhappy as we were. Reluctantly, my husband and I agreed that finding him a new home made the most sense, and doing so quickly before his departure could leave a hole in our toddler’s heart would be best. We put up an advertisement, found a great family, and sent him on a weeklong “vacation” to his potential newfound adoptive parents’ home.
The week was bliss for both him and our family. We felt relieved. There was no more warden-like oversight of him in the yard. No more resentment over walking him when I needed my husband’s help with the kids. No more frustration over the house being a mess within moments of it being cleaned because he tracked in grass, mud, and other dirt. No more feeling guilty for not having the time and energy to spend with him. Our baby didn’t notice anything being amiss, and our toddler didn’t seem to mind the dog being gone.
In the end, our dog was the primary beneficiary of the experience. He got so much love and attention from the couple that have since adopted him that he didn’t want to come home to us. In fact, on the day that he was picked up by them for the final move, he pulled them to their car. He was ready to leave us.
As emotionally hard as it was for my husband and I, finding our pup a new family was the most selfless thing we could do. We were very loving and doting animal parents for seven and a half years. No one could doubt the sincerity of our love for him. He is now a very happy canine living with a new family who shower him with the love and affection he deserves.