There are some pretty darn awesome parts about being an adult. I still take great joy in being able to eat the spoils of my grocery shop straight after paying, usually in the car on the way home, after YEARS of a ban, enforced with an iron fist by my mother, that stated that we would wait until we got home AND unpacked before diving into whatever delicious yumminess we’d come home with. Oh the torture of having to unpack multiple bags before I could eat a single Freddo Frog. How we cursed at the time. I still feel vaguely rebellious when I rip into a hot cross bun fresh from my canvas shopping bag, mere minutes after exiting the shops.
The downside to being a real life grown up is the tough decisions you sometimes need to make. I think I always assumed that age and experience would somehow make the ickier parts of life easier. That decisions that pulled at the heartstrings would be muted by prior learnt wisdom. While that may be so in some cases, it’s certainly not in others, especially when it comes the decisions we are currently making.
A little while ago, after an especially trying few weeks, the topic of re-homing our beloved Staffy girl, Arya, came into the spectrum of our lives. It was a topic we were funnelled towards by a series of incidents that had pushed me to the edge of coping. You know when a ton of less than stellar events occurs, right on top of each other? Yeah, that was what happened. While none of these events were horribly awful (no aggression or injuries were sustained by anyone involved), compounded, they were enough for me to broach the topic with my husband, prefaced by the words; ‘this is the most horrendous thing and it’s breaking my heart but I’m not coping very well with the dogs behaviour.’ At that time, we sought some advice and came up with an ‘action plan’ of sorts which we committed to as best as possible.
Unfortunately, things haven’t really improved and her destructive behaviours have seemingly gotten worse in the past three weeks. When knew from the onset that a staffy puppy was going to be hard work. Our girl has always been highly spirited and excitable, and while we’ve done everything we can to try and manage these traits, it’s not working. And as I am the one at home, parenting a toddler and soon to be a newborn, solo for 12 hours a day, I’m bearing the brunt of it all and it’s starting to impact on our lives in a negative way. Arya simply needs more time and attention than we can possibly give her at this stage, with the way our family and work lives are structured. She is currently the bottom rung of the ladder, behind the needs of my son and upon the arrival of our daughter in June, she will slip down another rung. She needs a family who can provide the twice daily walks and visits to the dog parks that she craves, not the haphazard dashes around the block with the pram or turtle paced strolls where my son walks and we have to keep time with him. She needs one-on-one attention and possibly some more one-on-one obedience training, both of which we try and give her but which need to be repeated on a more regular basis. She needs an adoring family, with kids who are old enough to guide her and gently enforce the basics of discipline with her, not a family with a toddler and baby on the way and a mother who juggles their care on her own from 6am-6.15pm, five days a week.
The problem of course it that we love our girl. She is a gentle soul who my son absolutely adores. He lies on top of her, smothers her with pillows, shares (some) of his toys with her and refers to her as ‘his’ bow wow. In her good moments, she is the best. When she is calm and can be rationalised with, we see the sparks of the dog she will eventually become and up until now, it has kept us going. The loyalty, trust and love of this breed pours out of her tenfold every day. As my husband has said on numerous occasions, she would literally die for any one of our family, and do it willingly. It is this that has me sobbing all over the keyboard while I type and second guessing our decisions to find her a new and more suitable home. The tantalising hope of what could be for her and for us as a family with her in it makes the decision all the more painful and heart shattering.
We haven’t finalised what we’ll do yet but I think we know which way it’s heading. It’s a bit like a grey cloud hanging over us at the moment as things hang in the balance. If/when we do decide to re-home her, we’ll no doubt have a period where we play ‘the waiting game’ as we search for the perfect spot for her to rest her little head, hopefully for the rest of her days. While there are so many more unpleasant things we need to deal with as grown ups and no doubt many tough decisions ahead of us as a family, it is a hard one. And one which I doubt will be met with anything other than tears for the foreseeable future anyway.