So remember that time Jenny told me I shouldn’t get a dog?
She was totally right.
However, against my better judgment, we did it anyway.
A few weeks ago, we brought a dog home from a shelter. Have you ever tried adopting a dog from a shelter? I am fairly certain we could have brought a kid home from Rwanda with less scrutiny. Anyway, after we convinced them we weren’t Michael Vick wannabes, we brought home a dog whose name (at the time) was Yonkers. He had been adopted from the shelter as a puppy and was in a home for five years, but his owners
got smart had kids and couldn’t care for him anymore, so he wound up back at the shelter. So anyway, this was the only dog we had come across that we all felt remotely comfortable with (and by “remotely,” I mean not 100% opposed. And by “we,” I mean me.), in no small part because he was not a puppy. I am not a complete idiot – I drew the line at bringing anything into our house that wasn’t sleeping through the night and potty-trained. Because really – that ship has sailed.
The shelter’s policy is that interested parties bring a dog home for a week-long “home visit” before making the adoption final. (See also: Rwandan child.) I held out the slightest bit of hope that a week would be long enough for all of us to realize that we didn’t need a dog.
I was wrong.
I realized it. The rest of my family, not so much.
But let me back up. The night Andy brought him home from the shelter, it was a Friday and the kids and I were in my bed watching television. Andy and the dog got home, and the dog’s first course of action was to tear through the house and jump up on our bed. I was not amused. Then he proceeded to bark the entire night. Kate, the girl who flips out when she can hear crickets chirping when she’s trying to sleep, was hysterical. She wanted the dog to be gone, and I quote – “Mommy was right. We aren’t ready for a dog.” I was gleefully chanting “I told you so!” in my head and picturing returning the purchase the next day.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last – the next morning she was in love with the damn thing.
I, however, was not.
Since Andy and the dog had gotten home late the night before, Andy had put the dog’s crate (which was gianormous, btw) in the kitchen. I came out to make the kids breakfast and the kitchen table had been moved to the side to make room for the crate, there were dog treats on the counter and leashes and toys strewn across the floor. I felt like the dog had taken over our entire home. Our house suddenly felt three times smaller, and the dog suddenly seemed three times bigger than I remembered. Later, Andy found me in the shower, sobbing. I just felt like our lives had been turned upside down – and I had liked our lives quite well just as they were.
Mid-morning, I took Kate to a birthday party for like 7 hours. It was so long I wanted to shoot myself. But being there felt like a better alternative than being at home with the dog – I was utterly convinced I would never want to be at our house again, especially alone. That thought was devastating to me.
After the party, I took Kate to the mall to kill some more time. When we did eventually get home, I discovered that Andy had spent the whole time getting our house back to normal. He moved the crate and all the paraphernalia to the basement and cleaned the entire house. It felt like home again and it was such a relief to me. He is a nice guy.
So anyway, after the initial shock wore off, things got better… but the conclusion I came to was that I just didn’t like having a dog in our house. It wasn’t about that dog in particular – all and all he’s a pretty good dog, and Andy and Kate had absolutely kept up their end of the bargain in terms of caring for him. It just felt like an intrusion.
To me, anyway. Everyone else – including Sam, who had been completely afraid of dogs a week before – loved having him around.
So, our week came to a close and we had to make a decision. It was not easy. I agonized over it, but after a long conversation with my dad, I decided that I would take one for the team.
We are now dog owners.
While I am still not overjoyed about this change in our life, I am trying to come around. I have decided that at this point, it’s in no one’s best interest for me to be angry and resentful. The dog is here to stay, and I need to make the best out of it. That’s what’s best for all of us.
So, readers, meet Siggy.
On the bright side, at least I’ll have something to blog about.