Separating From My Dog Is Painful

One of the hardest decisions of my life, but I will have to find a home for my four-year old Cairn terrier dog. My life is moving into a different direction, one that I delayed for two years to care for my dog; but my dog is in a healthier place than when we began living together, so I decided that I can begin living the other life I always wanted, a life of traveling a lot, a spontaneous life where my locations will depend on my mood at any given moment.

I need to live this life to cater to my emotional and physical well-being, and to suit my desires as a writer, reader, and producer of knowledge. Since this decision is a tough one, I know I will continue to flip flop about what I really want, and I welcome that experience. I do not view mood and decision flip-flopping as modes of weakness but as experiences fused and riddled with compassion and conscience in negotiation with desires for self advancement. At the end of the day, however, I have to find a home for my dog if I intend to thrive and survive.

I don’t intend to sell her at all. That act would seem filthy to me. I don’t judge others who sell the thing they love, but I just couldn’t do it. And I don’t intend to give her to a total stranger. I’d have to know how the person lives, the condition of their home, and closely discern their personality. I would also like to be able to see her at least thrice a year, and would like to be the first option to dog-sit her if need be.

Yes, I have preferences for the ideal person though exceptions will apply. I like the idea of finding her a home with an economically and emotionally stable person, not someone too young who moves from house to house, and job to job. And I don’t like the idea of her being around kids. Love them and their sweet excitement, but they tend to be rough with small animals when parents aren’t looking. She is very delicate, though she can be tough and rough, and sensitive. She is like my personality in many ways: tough, soft, likeable, loving, and independent.

A woman would be ideal or a matured gay man. Why? From what I have observed, women tend to be more sensitive when it comes to caring for life; and gay men in the city areas show great appreciation for small size animals. I am not excluding straight men but I don’t know enough about straight men’s behavioral patterns with small dogs to consider them ideal.

I hate to have to insert the following explanation, but I suspect some persons will wonder why gender and sexuality matters in influencing my ideal. My own understanding of what is love, how to love, and who showed me (and the things and bodies) I loved the most compassion are shaped by gender-and-sexuality’s forcefulness in my histories. I’m not hoping to open a debate about what populations are best with animals, but it would have been dishonest to not note my preferences.

If I had someone to watch my dog while I was away, I wouldn’t be writing this. Friends have indeed offered to watch her, but I have to feel their promises in my heart. Additionally, most of my close friends do not show the excitement for animals that would make me comfortable leaving them with my dog. As well, I don’t like the idea of asking people to do me repeated favors. And obviously, dog sitters are too expensive for a doctoral student’s budget.

I feel horrible writing this post, and I am wondering why—especially since my dog is lying next to my feet. I guess I feel like I am deciding her fate without her knowledge and permission. Yesterday, I looked at her curved body lying next to my feet and I read it as her being a dog, her being comfortable. Today I look at it as I write this note and I read it as her being depressed, her sensing an impending separation, her anxious about the future. What I dread most is that my dog could end up with a family that shows her less love than I had.

This is what many women go through when they must leave their children to survive, I now understand a bit. A bit, because there is indeed a difference when the life speaks back to you and say, “Mom, where are you going?” “Mom, are you coming back?” “Mom, why do I have to live with Grandma?”

But what is even more saddening is when Mom does the ultimately–gives the child up for adoption, and consequently lives with guilt rather than with the satisfaction of knowing that her accessing adoption was her best act of love.  Thus Mom’s guilt cultivates imaginary voices of the child in her head: “Why did my real Mom give me away?” “What does Mom look like?” “Did Mom love me?”

My inability to live the life I dream has increasingly been stifling me. I like the idea of getting up, heading to Manhattan; and while in Manhattan, if I suddenly feel to board a train to Atlanta because I feel a sudden spell to write something for hours while on a train, I want to be able to do it. The winter, too, is sucking my energy away, disrupting my ability to read, write, think, and exercise. The days when the sun is not shining bright and the cold wraps my body and brain are the days when I have to force myself to rise and remain energized about life and my dreams. These days have been many for a long time. But somehow I have remained energized all these years. Now, I feel this fuel that kept me energized is running out. To refill, I need to access new ways of living. I have no doubt about that. Yet somehow I feel like my head is not clear, for already, I feel like I can’t go through with my decision. But have I made a decision? I think I need advice on this. No doubt, I need a lot of advice.


Posted in Life Talk

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