Dog Decisions

I’m doing some writing prompts by Ann Dee Ellis – eight minutes, unprompted and unrehearsed. Here’s today’s effort – decisions.

We didn’t really have a plan when we got Posie, but by the time she turned one, I had come to the realization that she needed a friend. I was already her friend, but I couldn’t be there all the time, and we worried about the idea that she had nobody to romp around with and indulge her inner dogginess. She was so communicative with us in surprisingly human ways, we didn’t want her to lose her ability to relate to other dogs altogether.

So we decided to get her a dog, and this time, we were going to do the right thing and adopt. We searched around until we found Rupert – free to a good home in the classifieds. I had to seriously beg to take him on. His previous owners were convinced that he just could not be homed with another dog because of fighting. What we later found out was that he’d had an owner before those ones, who had thrown him in an overgrown junkyard backyard with a bunch of muscular bully-type dogs. Rupert is such a teddy bear, it’s no wonder he felt threatened. Anyway, I convinced them in the end, we drove to Leongatha and took him home with us.

Things were rough for months. Posie was absolutely bereft, and acted like we had broken her heart. She kept hiding and staring at us, wondering when he was going to go home. They had their little turf wars, and Rupert made a habit of escaping for a while. We didn’t realize it could get worse, but it did. He started peeing on the furniture as soon as we left the house. Not the leg of the sofa, but actually soaking the whole cushion, or our bed, or his bed. A few trips to the dog psychologist got these things more or less under control, but it was not a fun time.

So many times, I went back and forth on our decision. I cared a lot about Rupert in those early months, but I certainly didn’t like him. I resented the havoc he’d brought into our lives and the unhappiness he’d caused Posie. I wondered if we would ever be able to sit on furniture without feeling if it was wet first, if Posie would ever be happy again. He didn’t feel comfortable enough to come out of his shell for months, so we still had no idea of his personality – he was a stranger to us, and it was very hard to love him at first.¬†That’s what is so difficult about decisions… they can be right and wrong, at different times, for various reasons. There is nothing you can choose that doesn’t run a risk of regret, and sometimes arriving at a state of graceful acceptance about the whole thing can be slippery and elusive. But I suppose you have to make a lot of careful considerations, but ultimately jump off into the unknown and hope for the best.

Seven years later, I don’t have a single doubt about the decision to bring him into our family. He’s still having turf wars with Posie, but it’s so sweet to see how they rely on each other so much, especially when being reunited after the brief times they are separated. He has grown into the most excellent dog with a little bit of nurturing and I’m so grateful that we got lucky enough to have him.

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