Jun 15 2020

Day 91: Judgment Day

Published by at 7:16 pm under Coronavirus Journal

My heart is full-on broken. 

I had every intention of keeping Bessie till death did us part. But the rescue organization made some critical errors in its description of her. For one, I’d told them from the outset that dog-friendliness was a requirement for me, but she’s proven not to be reliably so. I just paid to have her behavior assessed, and she is unpredictable around other dogs. The expert thought she can learn to adjust, but it’s beyond what I’m able and can afford to take on. She’d require professional training. I often go places, from the coffee garden to the pub, where people bring their pups. I can’t do that with Bessie. To another person that behavior isn’t a problem. It is for me. Today when I was walking down the street I saw a dog off-leash (which pisses me off since it’s against the law) and I had to go a different route, to avoid the encounter.

They also misidentified her breed. They claimed she was lab-shepherd, but she’s actually pit-lab. That shouldn’t matter, because I know pits can be the most loving and silly of animals. But I never would have intentionally adopted a pit mix because I have a mortal terror of them, having witnessed an otherwise sweet one suddenly turn on, attack and try to kill the other dog in the household. The aggressor had been consistently gentle, until that moment. I wish I could erase that memory, but I can’t, and I find myself not trusting Bessie. Which is not fair to her. I feel like I’m breaking up with someone, saying, “It’s not you; it’s me.” It’s true. It is I.

As you may recall, there were other discrepancies between her online description and the reality, though not as significant. Separation anxiety has intensified. She follows me everywhere, the click-click-click of her paws on the wooden floor behind me. That’s fine, but every time I return from leaving the house for less than a minute, I find her fully atop my grandparents’ wooden drop-leaf dining room table, trying to see out the window.

This has been extremely painful. Bessie deserves a home where she is loved without reservation. After much soul-searching, I’ve realized I can’t give her that. What I did give her over the past month was steady affection, attention and encouragement, and she has blossomed. She’s gone from a traumatized creature terrified of going up stairs to a bouncy, playful pup. She will make a wonderful (if somewhat demanding) pet for someone. No one can top her on the sweetness-to-humans front. 

Some may judge my decision (as I do), but it’s the one I had to make. It’s been heart-rending and I will forever regret it. If only the rescue had represented her accurately, this wouldn’t have happened. I am deeply sorry I’m not equipped—or don’t think I am—to take on whatever comes.

She will survive, re-attach, and eventually forget me. But I won’t forget her. I am shattered. I will never get another dog, after turning down such a gentle one.

Photo by Elana

I have written to the rescue organization and await their reply about what’s next. In the meantime, every time Bessie comes to me for attention, I get emotional and keep saying, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” dripping tears all over her. I wish she could understand she’ll be okay. She will miss me and I can hardly bear that. I will miss her back, terribly.

Lesson: Be a more accepting pet owner, and/or make sure the rescue you adopt from has thoroughly vetted their dogs.

Someone will be lucky to have Bessie in their lives. Not I.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Day 91: Judgment Day”

  1. Molly says:

    Such a tough call it is. But just know that you’ve provided her love and healing, and that that doesn’t go away, even if you’re not her forever home. Wuv to you.

  2. Ma says:

    I have watched your devoted care of her — your training, treats, toys, love , vet care, worries, walks, etc. — and I am so sorry that she can’t stay with you.

    The decision is yours. You made your conditions clear, at the start, and they were not met. But you have done an excellent job of fostering her, thus preparing her for a happy life with some loving family.

    I know tour heart is sad, and I send you much sympathy!

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