Dreams Die Hard

One year ago this weekend, we adopted a greyhound who we named Ciaran.  Later, we had to surrender him because his presence was stressing Gandalf out to the point of not eating.  Gandalf being ill, old, and on heavy meds, that was not something we could allow to continue.

Flash ahead to this summer.  We knew Gandalf’s time was coming to a close, and we consoled ourselves that we could try to make something positive from his death by finally trying again with a dog, helping a new animal.  We spent a lot of time this summer visiting shelters again and again, contacting two greyhound groups, having home visits, waiting for something to click.

To all of the well-meaning people who said, “Your dog is out there,”  I’m sorry but you were wrong.  I give the fuck up, I am worn out.

Shelters were a crapshoot.  Between finding a dog we liked, then testing for cat-safety, then making sure BW wasn’t allergic, then the risk of someone else coming in and adopting it first, there were so many variables that all had to line up perfectly….it just wasn’t happening.

And the more often we went, the more I saw that I’m a really harsh judge of dogs, criticizing behavior that is probably normal or could be controlled with just a little effort.  Then slowly accepting that the reason for that is because well, I just don’t like them very much as a species.  Just like children, certain exceptional individuals I’m willing to have in my house, but the vast majority:  no.  (To their credit, I like most other people’s dogs infinitely more than other people’s children.  My attitude is more “benign disinterest” rather than “active hate.”  Unlike all children, there are some dogs I consider my friends.)

We finally gave up and decided it was hopeless this weekend when we spent a long afternoon with a perfectly wonderful and gorgeous greyhound.  And we turned him down.  I have tried and tried, because I had this lovely idea of dog-ownership and that it would be fun and make me a better, less uptight person, but I just cannot cross that bridge and commit to it again.  It would mean such a huge seismic shift in lifestyle, that when push comes to shove, I can’t will myself to do it and BW can’t muster up the enthusiasm either.

Other people look at dogs and see purity and love, but I see a black hole of codependent need and muddy paws and drool.  Damn, the drool.  If I was into having a coating of drool on all of my stuff, I’dve had a baby.  When I do the math in my head, I don’t see any positives that I don’t already get from cat ownership.

Speaking of the cats, they’re the most major factor of all.  This has been a cat-centric household since 1994.  Whereas in most mixed dog-cat homes I’ve been to or know of, the cats are treated little better than goldfish.  I don’t blame the owners — it’s unavoidable because dogs are such a time-sink, especially if everyone in the family works.  But I refuse to do that. It may be hard for the dog folk to understand, but Cats Come First.  Always.

So there you have my sorry tale.  I really do feel shitty, because it was such a nice idea.  I deleted my Amazon ‘dog stuff’ wishlist and I cried.  Maybe what I really wanted was to buy cute stuff.

Or maybe we’re still too wiped out from Gandalf’s final downhill slide and passing.

Or maybe I just want the dog we had before back.

Or maybe, and most likely, I am irredeemably one of those horrible people that the dog rescue groups get on their high horses about;  the kind who “care more about having nice things than a dog.”  So be it.

Whatever, I only wish it hadn’t taken 15 months of angst and several hundred dollars to reach this conclusion.  I apologize to all the long-suffering shelter volunteers I’ve probably annoyed.  And I apologize to homeless dogs.  I’m sorry I couldn’t help, but you probably wouldn’t have liked me anyway.

One Response to “Dreams Die Hard”

  1. LOUP Says:

    There is no shame in knowing what works for you and acting on that. Be it dogs, kids, cats, jobs, places to live.

    There are more ways to help shelter dogs than adopting one. Just like I won’t adopt a puppy because there are tons of people who want them AND the piss all over the place and eat your shoes and require so much more time and effort than adult dogs. I don’t feel bad about that and you shouldn’t feel bad about running your house for the sake of the cats.

    There are plenty of kitties that need love and a warm home (as you are well aware).

    Love yah.

    Meanwhile, if you need some doggie snuggle time Cinder is here waiting.

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