This is Bella. Bella is 8 months old, maybe a year. She’s a corgi/terrier mix (they think). She’s a shelter dog. We’ve been fostering her for the last couple of days, wondering if we want a dog, wondering if she could get along with our cats. Tomorrow we have to decide if we want to keep her. This decision is making me sick to my stomach.
I’m a cat person. I have always been a cat person. My eldest son is a dog person. Well, he’s an animal person. But he loves dogs. He’ll often pet dogs while we’re out. This is how we ended up with Bella.
Last Friday while we were out waiting for Toby to get off the ferry, we ran into a dog named Sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is a weiner dog. The boys really wanted to pet him and his walker let them.
Well, we got to talking and found out that Sauerkraut was from Barc. Em asked the walker what that meant and she explained that it was a shelter. I told him that’s where Murray came from and that it’s where homeless animals live. I guess I should have lied or something, because immediately Em wanted to give Sauerkraut a home. He could not FATHOM that this dog was homeless. In order to appease him (Em gets very emotional) I promised to take him to Barc the next morning to see the dog. I also thought it might be a nice learning experience. Why not teach the child about volunteering?
So Saturday we took him to Barc. We talked about fostering Sauerkraut for a couple of days. But while there, we and learned that Sauerkraut doesn’t like cats at all. That’s how we met Bella.
I am not sure why I did this. (Unconsciously, maybe I wanted to see if I wanted a dog?) I wanted to show him how much work dogs are. I wanted to show him how you have to walk them at least three times a day and pick up their poop. Thus far he’s loved every moment of it, even the poop part. He loves caring for the dog. He loves getting up early with me and walking her. He loves taking her out at night.
Yes. I know that if we kept the dog the chances of him continuing this are basically zero. I know all of this. But I also know that he’s loved her companionship and has cried three times over having to return her. And this makes me the worst mother ever. Why did I foster a dog? What is wrong with me? What was I thinking? WHY?
These are rhetorical questions. I don’t want an answer. I know the answers. I wanted to teach my kids about dog ownership and now I’m paying the price. Because we have two choices now and both are extremely difficult: we can keep the dog, which is a great deal of work and I know NOTHING about dogs and how to care for them; or we can return the dog and listen to a VERY emotional Em cry himself to sleep for a week or so. Plus, where will she end up?
Many people have asked us about the cats. Murray is fine with the dog. He’s getting to know Bella better every day. They have spent the night in the same room twice now. No problems at all. Murray was who I was worried most about.
Bella is a sweet dog. She’s not at all aggressive and wants to play and run. She sleeps whenever I sleep—all night long on the floor at the foot of our bed. She is fixed. She has all her shots and she’s really great with the boys. She has only peed once while not on a walk and that was on our balcony.
I’m so completely unsure of what to do. A dog is a lot of work, work I know NOTHING (and I mean nothing!) about how to do. I know all of this. I really, truly have thought all that through. I’m ok with work even though I don’t know how to do it yet. But can I be a dog person? Do we want another animal? And if I return her, how will Em handle it? And most importantly, who will adopt her? She’s a great dog. The thought of her going back to a cage kills me. But I am not sure we can handle another animal right now.
I’m dying over here, people. Dying.