When I began my blog, I wanted to write the honest struggles of starting over at 30, in the hopes that I could be inspirational. This is a post I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to admit a struggle that didn’t inspire, a struggle that merely showed how I failed.
This blog is about climbing the mountain; it’s about the arduous journey to grow, to ascend into something more. Did I really want to post a blog and make public my utter failure? Did I want to share with you a failure that harmed an innocent, one who depended on me? Besides – I reasoned with myself – this post could not be written in the style that I intended to use for my blog. I could find no way to add humor, sarcasm, or any lightness. I could not find a way to be frank without being heavy.
So let me be frank and heavy anyways. I would rather be honest and tell my whole journey than to hide the struggles of starting over. I know I will disappoint strangers, but I have realized that I am more disappointed in myself than any stranger could outdo. Besides, I believe in being truthful about myself, even my ugly parts. And this is hideous.
I must surrender my dog.
Addie, my Schnauzer mix, has been living with my aunt while I apply for jobs and look for full-time work that would allow me to be independent. However, Addie has outstayed her welcome.
I rescued Addie last January, when I was confident that I would be a teacher forever, specifically that I would work in my current school until retirement. I rescued Addie when I had a clear future. When I rescued her, I said, “Dogs are family. Family is forever,” when asked if I would give her back if she proved to be trouble.
Side note: I should have been aware of how much trouble Addie would be with their comment. They promised a potty-trained dog, who might have issues the first day or two. I was promised that she would be perfect for apartment-living and that she was a lazy dog that did well with dogs and people. They lied. But none of that is why I am surrendering my dog. Because Addie was nothing like they promised, but I love her.
Addie is a smart, stubborn Schnauzer mix. She was neglected for the first two years of her life. She no longer defecates inside, but she still has accidents. I swear that she has the bladder of a ninety-year-old woman. She also is possessive of humans that she claims as hers, making her difficult around other dogs and some humans. Plus, she cries like a banshee when left alone. She would qualify as having separation anxiety.
Her special needs are not the reason I am surrendering her. Her special needs mean that I struggled to find her a temporary home until I could get back on my feet after losing my job and deciding to change careers.
My aunt took her in. She has provided her a home for the last three months, but she called Sunday, October 21. She called and said I needed to find other arrangements. Addie had wore out her welcome.
I cannot keep her with me. I’m living with my grandmother who cannot have dogs for medical reasons. I cannot send her to my parents, who are housing my submissive pug mix, as they already have dogs with issues like Addie. Living with my parents would not be healthy for Addie nor for their dogs.
I’ve been avoiding it. I tried last ditch efforts to keep Addie, and they failed. I failed. I have come to the conclusion that Addie’s best chance for a healthy, loving home is not with me.
I don’t know when I will find employment that will give me independence. Besides, I realize keeping her is selfish more than kind. Even if I found a full-time job, I am also a grad student. Addie needs more than I can give her. She loves running around the farm, stretching her legs. She hates being left alone for more than five minutes. Could she really be happy living in an apartment with a human that has work and school responsibilities? Last time I tried doggie day care, Addie was kicked out. I cannot even offer that for her.
That’s all if I could even find work that allows me to move out of my grandma’s, which I haven’t. I have to give her up.
It might make you satisfied to know that I sobbed on the way to the humane society and during my conversation with the assistant manager and on my way home. I cried heaving, ugly sobs that made my face and chest red and splotchy. I didn’t even give her up yet. I just went to discuss my options with the humane society.
Addie hasn’t been surrendered yet. I’m caught waiting for her original rescue in Kentucky to permit me to give her to this organization in Ohio. The humane society is a no-kill shelter that will interview prospective families. They have a vet who ensures Addie is healthy and stays healthy. They even are confident they could find her a suitable home within a few days. (I told them about Addie’s needs.)
I am waiting to hear from the Kentucky rescue. The Kentucky rescue won’t respond other than a message from a week ago saying I could not give her to the humane society here, but they won’t respond about making arrangements or plans for Addie. They won’t respond to my pleas to allow Addie to go to the rescue here.
You see, when I adopted Addie, she had two types of worms. They have no vet. They are understaffed and underfunded despite their love of dogs. They are not as thorough as the humane society here. Years ago, I volunteered at the humane society here. I know their process, their thoroughness, their transparency.
I am a horrible person giving up her dog, but I do love this dog and I want what is best for her.
So there you have it. That is the lows of starting over. That is the horrible truth of making a decision to change a career and being overly optimistic without fully considering the long-term effects.
Because, I’ll be completely honest. Yes, I am unemployed, but I don’t have to be. Four months ago, I was offered a teaching job at my old school. I could have an apartment with my two dogs. But I turned it down. I wanted to change careers and to learn to say no to work so I could have a fuller life, and I was cocky. I thought I would be okay. I thought I would make it work. I was wrong.
So you can judge me. You can find me despicable. Don’t bother trying to solve the issue below. No one I know can provide Addie a home. Soon, she will be with people who will interview and ensure she is with people who can do more than just love her, people who can give her the stability she needs.
I have to admit that I am humbled by this experience. I judged people who gave up their dogs. How could you give up family? How could you make a commitment and then abandon that commitment? I used to turn my nose up at people like me. Now, I am that which I criticized and judged. I must live with the choices I have made, and I must live with the consequences. My priority now is to ensure that I give Addie her best chance, her best life. I am heartbroken that that isn’t me, and I am ashamed that I have failed her.
So in my future posts, when I write about the funny struggles of living with my grandma, they are small struggles, the ones people can openly discuss without judgement. When I write about the endless struggles of weight loss and I laugh at myself, those are acceptable struggles you can handle reading.
Bitterly funny, before my aunt called to say Addie had to go, I had begun a post comparing living with dogs to living with humans. Dogs were clearly the wining roommate on every aspect. It was a post about the desperation to find my independence so I could move out and live with my dogs again. Life was simpler when I only failed myself.
Update: She got a home before Christmas. Addie was adopted by a retired woman who will give her more than I ever could. For starters, Addie will rarely ever be alone again. My heart is sad for me, but it is happy for Addie.