The Darn Dog


After this debacle with Baxter the Dog, I am tempted to retreat back into my public face that I show on Facebook or online. Nothing but fluffy clouds and unicorns, here! Oooh, look! Rainbows!

But I suppose the whole point of this blog (and sharing it with select close friends) is to be Real. Unfortunately, Reality (with a capital “R,” mind you) is fraught with close-ups of my personal fuckups in spectacular fashion. Of course, I could’ve chosen not to share any of it on the blog (or even to my friends in real life), but again, that isn’t the purpose of this space.

One of my dearest friends sent me an email about the dog. She rightfully rebuked me about my cavalier attitude towards adopting an animal (an animal that does have feelings and fears and desires other than my mercurial whims). I am so glad that we are good enough friends that she can tell me even hard to hear things that are true. Doesn’t feel awesome, but it’s nice to know that my friends aren’t keeping things inside and then one day, out of the blue, don’t want to be friends anymore. That would be even more painful than this temporary discomfort.

However, no one likes to hear the truth about themselves (unless, of course, it is that they are awesome. Which I am. But that was not the topic today!) and I was in a bit of a funk all day. How unusual for me to be introspective and not like what I see! (Heh, one could argue that is because I am rarely introspective enough to delve deeply. *sigh*)

So, I feel a bit incoherent and my thoughts have been jumping all over the place so instead of trying to tie them together into a cohesive unit, I will employ that handiest of all writing tools: the list. Thus, paying no heed to order or importance, I present to you, my admiring public, my thoughts.

  1. I’m always a bit shocked and stunned at how swiftly my insecurity can resurface. All day long, I worried that my dear friend (the one who emailed me) was ignoring my reply because she was angry at me and was disgusted with me as a person and would no longer want to be friends. Then, this transferred onto another friend of mine that I was texting and I thought, “Oh no! Perhaps this friend agrees with my other friend! Maybe they’re both being kind to my face but secretly, they think I’m a horrible human being.”
  2. This is, of course, incredibly silly because there are a variety of reasons for a delayed response – not all of them leading to the path of No Longer Friends.
  3. And even if my friends secretly did think I was a horrible human being, why would they still be friends with me? That seems a bit stupid on their part for tolerating such a bad influence upon their lives.
  4. Furthermore, I have to constantly tell myself that what other people think of me is none of my business. After all, would I really want other people to be privy to my deepest thoughts and opinions about others?
  5. And truly, one major contributing factor to my immediate conclusion that my friends could secretly harbor bad thoughts about me is because I know myself! I can be the pettiest person in the world and if my friends were half as petty as I am inside, I’d be in deep trouble indeed.
  6. The thought of people knowing that I can be this nasty, horrible person is terrifying. I want to go back to a shiny, happy facade. You know, that perfect person you want to punch in the face for all their perfectliness.
  7. I am petrified that once found out for who I really am, no one in their right mind would love me or want me.
  8. This is not a public fishing of compliments and for people to immediately start commenting and extolling my vast and impressive virtues. (Um, I’m waiting, people.)
  9. I am deeply ashamed of giving up Baxter. When confronting myself about it, I immediately want to blame DH and all sundry. If only he were more supportive! If only he believed in me and said that if I gave myself enough time with the dog, I would’ve gotten used to it and changed my behavior. If only the dog obedience trainer had called me back sooner and I enrolled in a class so Baxter could stop jumping on the table already! If only my parents hadn’t raised me to be so contemptible of pets! If only Baxter didn’t act so much like a dog!
  10. There are other If Only’s. If only I had waited another week. Or even given myself a month to get used to the dog, I could’ve made a go of it. If only I hadn’t called the rescue right away and if only they weren’t so kind and understanding (although, perhaps secretly judging me). If only I weren’t such a coward and so abjectly selfish. If only I had a better character.
  11. But then, I wonder, at what point would I have called it a day? Who’s to say that I would’ve eventually loved Baxter? I liked the dog alright, but I resented him quite a bit for wanting so much attention and affection. (Ironically, even though that’s why I like dogs so much in the first place!) I truly thought I would like the dog more than I did. (Side note: how incredibly more devastating is this for women who have PPD and feel that way about their own children?) But how long should I have waited? Another week? Another month? Years? By then, the poor dog would be even more bonded and how could that be a good thing?I just couldn’t think that I would spend the rest of this dog’s life resenting it or dreading coming home or leaving food out or whatever. I couldn’t imagine feeling guilty for the next 10-15 years because I couldn’t love the dog enough. It’s my own damn house, people!
  12. Then I think to myself, do I lack some basic character? After all, people do things all the time – not because they want to but because they should. I’m sure not all people who I think are amazingly good-hearted are truly all warm and fuzzy inside. For example, people who do foster children or adopt older children. Those kids might not be the most well-adjusted (I mean, would you if you were abandoned or if your parents, who you love, couldn’t take care of you because of addiction or prison or death?) and might not be the shiniest or happiest of kids. I’m sure the foster/adoptive parents don’t feel love all the time for these kids. They either do it out of a deep calling or a sense of duty or love in action (not feeling) and grit their teeth and barrel through. Sometimes for weeks, months, years even. You know, some extreme form of “Fake it ’til you make it.”

    Or what about people who work with the homeless, the addicts, the extreme poor, and the hopeless? If even Mother Theresa had days (shoot, YEARS) of feeling as if she were alone and without God but still faithfully pushing through because it was the right thing to do, couldn’t I have sacrificed my comfort for a little doggy who just wanted some belly rubs?

  13. In the end, I think I did the right thing for Baxter. He will end up with a family who will love him and give him the attention he wants and deserves (and take the time to train him). But I still wonder (and suspect, I always will) if my life and character could’ve changed for the better in immeasurably awesome ways had I just persevered a little bit.

Because I’m an ass. I broke down and returned Baxter tonight. He was a very good dog with kids and I will miss him a bit. I kept expecting him to jump on me when I got home.

However.

I will NOT miss having to put all the food away in the house on the counter top or in a cabinet or whatever. I will NOT miss having to worry about him tearing up the house or barfing or diarrheaing all over my carpet.

I know that makes me a mean person. But I don’t care. I thought I could be a person who loves dogs. Turns out, I love other people’s dogs (and not my own). It pains me to see that I am not this idealized version of myself. But I suppose it’s good to know your own limitations.

For the record, I didn’t mind taking Baxter out on walks, letting him out every few hours to pee, picking up his poop, or even brushing him, feeding him, etc. I minded the food-stealing and attention seeking. I couldn’t stand feeling guilty all the time because he looked so sad that I favored my own son more. I can not feel guilty in my own damn house because of a DOG.

So. I will never ever ever get a dog again. (Not to mention, any other living creature that is not spawned from my loins.) You all have my permission to mock me with these two (geez, I’m a slow learner) doggy returning incidences if I ever have the fool notion to get any type of living thing every again.

This is the second or third time Baxter somehow jumped on the kitchen table and got into some foil wrapped chocolates and ate them ALL OVER MY FAMILY ROOM CARPET. Not to mention, killed off some ritz/cheese crackers that someone brought over from the playdate.

If he has diarrhea all over my house I am going to put him in the oven and eat him. Yes. I am serious. Because I am the Chinese. I was not meant to have a dog. How can I love a dog when I see him as food? 😡

Then after I calmed down, I sprayed him with nice smelling essential oil spray (which he did not enjoy), some natural essential oil flea/tick repellant, and brushed him. He was trembling the whole time. Because I want all organic products on this dog – but I don’t want it to smell or act like a dog. (I know. Irony alert.) Poor stupid dog.

WHY DID I GET ONE? AND DO YOU WANT HIM?

So, I really should’ve borrowed a dog for a week. No, no… I’m not going to return this dog. But I must say, even though we have a totally low maintenance dog, I wasn’t quite prepared for his dogginess. You know, his happy bouncy dogginess. His smelliness. His need for love and attention. And you know what? The dog is not my kid. (But it is, but it is NOT.) *sigh*

Oh well. I’m sure everyone else predicted this. DH says I’m like a little kid with my obsessions. And then, reality hits. However, I am the one walking the dog, picking up poop (of not only the dog but DS’s too), letting the dog out multiple times, buying dog stuff, making sure he’s ok, etc. So, it’s not like I’m neglecting my responsibilities. But that’s just it. They feel like responsibilities.

I do the same stuff for DS, but it is a complete joy for me. I don’t even think of it as a cost. The dog? It’s a dog. Maybe it’s my Chinese dog-rearing mentality coming out full bore. I expect my dogs to hang out in the backyard until I remember it exists! What? It’s an actual real, alive thing that requires care and love and attention? That’s just crazy talk. Chinese people barely believe that about children!

Maybe I have a form of post-partum depression except of the dog adoption variety. Post-Adoption Depression. *sigh* And seriously, Baxter’s a really good dog. Now that he’s more used to us and the family, he’s pretty excited sometimes and just wants to join along. (He seems a lot less mellow than I originally thought, but for a dog, he’s still really laid back. I just want an inanimate object to pretend to be a dog every once in awhile.)

Maybe I only have room in my heart for my flesh and blood family? (Even DH sometimes falls out of this purview. Poor man.) Some of my friends say that Baxter will grow on me and I will eventually love him. I certainly hope so. Otherwise, it’s going to be at least a decade before I’ll be rid of him. 😦

(See, I told you I have a hard lump of coal where my heart is supposed to be.)