Friday, December 12, 2014

And Then There Was One

Peering over my laptop while we watch Highly Questionable
P.S. - Bomani Jones sucks

I have a Bella update.  Bella is the shelter pooch we took on as a trial adoption for the last few weeks because we wanted to get a companion for Cheety. This was not at all an easy decision, and I didn't expect to get as emotionally invested in the whole process as I did!

Let me tell you...two dogs is way more time, effort, energy, etc. than I anticipated! You wouldn't think it would be such a big difference, but holy Lord.  All dogs all the time.  24/7.  Especially with a big girl like Bella.  Seventy pounds of overbearing, but innocent, mixed breed lab love.  And the filth factor?  Don't even get me started!  Our vacuum and dust buster have been on overtime and then some.
The dogs kind of take over your life and routines in a big way.  The prince Cheety already had his little paws in us...but add another pup to the mix?  It's...ummm, a lot. 

Bella is a very sweet girl, but ultimately we decided that we're not ready for a two dog household.  It's too much.  Too much dirt.  Too much poop.  Too much hair.  More mischief, too many's just more of everything.  Two dogs = triple the work.  And Bella is still a work in progress.  She has lots of potential to be a great dog, but she has some basic manners she needs to learn and some negative behaviors she needs to unlearn.  She doesn't come in a pretty box with a big red bow, but she can definitely get there with time and effort.  We're just not ready to sign up for everything that would go along with having two dogs and getting Bella to a manageable level.  It took some time to get to that point without beating myself up about the decision.  We were torn about what to do all throughout her time with us, and flip flopped about what choice to make somewhere around, oh I don't know...lets just call it 37 times. 

 She looks scared because her ears are
 back, but this is actually her imploring,
"I'm a good girl, right...right?!" face
And it didn't help when she looked at us with that imploring face of hers!  She was just happy to be included.  Wherever we were, she was.  Just glad to be involved!  And she rivaled Cheety in snuggle mastery.  Hard to do!

Like I said - we had conversation after conversation about whether we wanted to take the leap to two dogs, and we're finally at the point where we're not feeling like terrible people for not going through with the adoption.  Sort of.  Oh, who am I kidding, I still feel guilty as hell for letting her down.  I've had to remind myself over and over, sometimes through tears to be completely honest, that it's ultimately our decision.  And that if we're not feeling up for it, that it's okay.

We originally agreed to a two week trial adoption, but decided toward the end of the second week to extend it for another week to see how we felt.  Like I said, we changed our minds every freaking hour.  It sounded something like, Look at that sweet face.  She just wants to be someone's dog.  To something like, Two dogs is a big commitment.  Are we ready to commit to her and this somewhat chaotic lifestyle for another 10 years?  We basically had that conversation on repeat for 3 weeks.

And Cheety seemed to enjoy her for the most part, but in more of a tolerating way.  They had fun and played most of the time, but he had plenty of grumpy Pugbull moments where he was growling at her because she over stepped some dog-created boundary.  I think he's more of a play date kind of dog, and less of a Hey, let's share a house, and beds, and toys, and people forever! kind of dog.  I wouldn't describe him as being happier since she joined the party.  If a dog's expression and demeanor could equal an exasperated sigh, that's about where Cheety falls.  I don't think he'll miss her for long.

Can't you hear him? "Taking up my couch and shit..."

I was relieved to learn through a co-worker whose wife sits on the board at the animal shelter that there's a waiting list at the shelter of over 100 people  looking for dogs.  This is a very small & remote community, so there isn't a large selection of pups that come through the Humane Society's door.  And the ones who do, are usually adopted pretty quickly.  Especially a sweet one like Bella.  All good things.  He assured me that Bella would get snatched up in no time, and that little bit of info was a welcome comfort.  I hate to think about her back in her run, waiting for a home.  So, I try not to do that.

What started as a potential addition to the family evolved into a kick-ass, 3 week fostering experience for sweet Bella.  And a learning experience for us.  We gave her a nice long mental break from the confines of her run at the shelter, took her on a bunch of long hikes, taught her a few manners she was lacking, (let's hear it for not charging the door if there's a hint we might go outside), helped her with some needed weight loss with all the exercise and walks we took her on, and provided a fun-sized playmate in the Cheety boy.  Dog wrestlemania occurred like clockwork on a daily basis.  Highly entertaining, by the way.  And don't even try and do yoga in the living room and expect to be left alone with two hounds roaming around!

Of course, I cried when we dropped her off.  My goal now is to stop feeling bad about it, and to stop imagining her feeling sad and lonely while she waits for her new family.  There's no point to feeding those thoughts.  I know she'll find a good home with someone, and I'd like to think she's a little more stable and balanced after her time with us.  All the best to sweet Bella girl.  This family is going to stick with just one spoiled pooch.  Just as he would like it, I suspect.

Ta-ta for now.

I'll miss that sweet face, but I know she'll find the right home

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