Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Dog's Life

Last September on a rainy day, Scorey and I had a crazy thought: "let's get a dog." We both looked at each other shrugged our shoulders and like we have done for the past 15 years, embarked on a new adventure together. Our oldest two girls were in school and we headed south with our two boys to look at a cute little doggie we saw online on an adoption pet site. During the drive we encountered a police roadblock for a gentleman who had himself held up in a motel room--that could have been a sign! We debated turning the car around, but we decided to stay the course and after about an hour we made it to the Kent Count ASPCA.

When we arrived, the dog we thought we were coming to see looked NOTHING like the cute picture they had posted online. We weren't convinced he was our dog. As we stood in the lobby debating our next move, Teddy walked in. He was cute. I initially thought he was coming in the main entrance for services but overheard the gentleman with him say he was turning Teddy in. I asked if I could take Teddy for a walk and the rest is history I guess...

Teddy a.k.a. Teddy P. the day we brought him home...terribly matted, but cute.
The After: Teddy's First hair cut...yikes! 

Fast forward a little more than a year. Teddy is still with us, but it's been a bumpy road. We thought Teddy was 4 years old, came from an elderly woman and lived a relatively quiet life. We are learning Teddy is likely not 4, probably closer to 2 or 3 and did not live such a quiet stress-free life. He was abused and x-rays of his legs show bb gun pellets and metal. Since we adopted Teddy, he  has always been very skittish and fearful of people. Teddy also has fear and anxiety towards buses, construction vehicles and loud noises in general.

Over the summer Teddy fractured his leg trying to dart out at the school bus that drops off my son in front our our house. It's been a tough summer for all of us and although Teddy has healed almost completely physically, his emotional state still remains uncertain to us.

Teddy after orthopedic surgery to repair his fractured leg

What am I getting at? They say you don't get the dog you want, but the dog you need, but I am not even convinced of that fact. We have spent thousands of dollars on Teddy's medical care which more than makes up for the fact he was free to us. We have spent time, money and energy on a dog I am not convinced can be the dog my family wants or needs. I have 4 children. My house is loud. As much as I wish there were times I could change that, I can't. Teddy is fearful of sudden moves, noises, etc...Not a good issues to have living in this house. I keep thinking he will learn to "just deal" with our family and settle in. I don't know how long that will take and I am not sure how long Scorey and I can be patient.  Teddy has not really bonded with any of the children and that was precisely the reason we chose him. I keep thinking would he be better off in a quiet household where he can have someone's full attention?

In the words of Cesar Milan, Teddy has to join our pack and I am not sure he wishes to do that or is able to do that. I won't change the way I run my house. I won't ask my children not to run, talk, or play for fear of triggering Teddy's anxiety. I make enough accommodations just living with two children with ASD and sensory issues. I am already mentally drained and don't always want to deal with a dog who barks and growls at the slightest breeze, don't even talk about when someone actually comes to visit--no one can talk without him barking incessantly...who throws a fit if he cannot be up underneath me or Scorey all the time, who does not connect to any of my children. I am sure there are many opinions out there and right now I am not really looking for one. I am just merely stating where we stand as a family. We have been honest with our kids about Teddy and that he may or may not stay with us in the future. We have to do what works best for us in the long run...I just don't know if that includes Teddy P.