adult years

The Best Decision I’ve Never Made

We had several dogs throughout my childhood, but I was never a dog person.

We would keep them and then give them up when the responsibility became too much.

Except Bella.
We kept her longer than we should have.
And when I think of how neglected she was, I want to cry.

We had no business owning dogs.
And for us, dogs were not part of the family.
They were just animals that sat in the yard all day.
And that’s exactly what Bella did.
She sat in the yard everyday for seven years.
No love, no attention.
Simply neglected.

Sometimes she would go days without food and water.

I am ashamed to write this.
I am in tears.

I let Bella down.
She deserved so much better.
I failed her.
And because of this, I swore that I would never have a dog again.

Two years ago, I was at a low point in my life.
I was angry.
I was heartbroken by my mother.
I was haunted by childhood memories.
I couldn’t sleep at night.
In short, I was a complete mess.

And at that time, I had everything that most dream of.
I had a loving husband, a high rise condo, money, travel…

My life seemed perfect from the outside, but inside I was dying.

                      *This is going to sound spoiled, so fair warning.*

I remember flying on a private jet with a glass of champagne in my hand.
And the only thing I wanted was for the plane to go down.
So that my life and pain could be over.
No amount of money or material things could heal my pain.

As much as I loved Rob, I didn’t want to live.
I felt like he deserved better than a depressed, suicidal wife.

Then one day, Rob and I were at an outdoor venue in San Diego called the Quartyard.

A couple walked past us with a golden retriever puppy.
I asked if I could pet their dog.
I don’t know why I did this, because after Bella, dogs didn’t interest me.

His name was Axe.
He was so happy to see me.
I saw dogs in a different light for the first time in my life.
We played for a couple minutes.

“You want a dog?” Rob asked as I walked back over to him.
“No,” I said.

The next day Rob informed me that he made an appointment to go see some golden retriever puppies.

“Why did you do that? I don’t want a dog,” I said.

“Yesterday you looked so happy when you were playing with the puppy,” he said.

“I don’t want to go,” I snapped.

“We are just going to look,” he said. “We are not committed to anything besides there is a wait-list so chances of us getting a puppy are slim.”

“If there is a wait-list, how did you even get an appointment?”

“I just told them we were coming regardless,” he said.

Typical Rob, he never takes no for an answer.
One of the many things that I love about him. 

Saturday came and the puppies were cute, but I was still uninterested.
I couldn’t get the failure of Bella out of my mind.
I kept telling myself, “I don’t deserve a dog.”  

Then one puppy caught my eye.
She was bullying her siblings.
Biting their tails and running all over them.

I walked over and picked her up.
I was greeted with an instant paw to the face.

“Nevermind,” I said.

We left without a puppy that day.
We went three more times after that  just to see how I would feel.
But, I still had no interest.

Then Rob pulled the triggered and bought one.

“What!? I thought there was a list?”

“Well we got one somehow,” he said.

I freaked out. “I don’t know how to take care of a dog,” I said.

I was remembering Bella and I didn’t want to let another dog down.

“You know dogs need, food, toys, shots, vet visits, grooming, walks, they need a lot of care and I can’t do all that,” I said panicking.

“Well we got one, so pick one out,” he said.

We went back to the breeder. I didn’t know which one I was going to pick.
Then I saw the chubby little bully again.
Still bossing her siblings around.

“That one,” I said. “I’ll take that one.”

“She is only seven weeks. You can’t take her home today. You will have to wait until she is 13 weeks,” the breeder said.

I was relieved.
This gave me more time to gear up, literally and emotionally.

I went home and ordered a crate, a bed, baby gates, a collar, toys, treats, puppy pads, and a grass patch for our balcony.

I got ready for my puppy.
I was determined to do things right this time.
In honor of Bella.
But still, when pick up day came I was nervous and hesitant.

I wondered how long it would be until I gave her up.

Rob filled out paperwork, and I sat outside as they finished blow drying my new pup.
I wanted to abort the whole thing.
But, it was too late.

They handed me my puppy and I walked her to the car.
I was going to put her in the back of the car, but Rob told me to just hold her in the front seat.

Everything changed on the car ride home.

I remember holding her in my arms and looking down at her while she looked up at me.
Her little eyes looking at me.
As if to say everything is going to be okay.
And I knew deep down in my gut that we were going to be best friends.
I was never going to give her up.

All my fears of owning a dog vanished.
There was no doubt that she was meant to be my Lucy.

And I don’t believe Lucy just happened.
I believe she came at a time when I really needed her.

Lucy’s presence has brought so much joy into my life.
She constantly makes me laugh and smile now.
Her loving greetings and cuddles have warmed my angry, wounded heart.

My journey to self-worth continues and not everyday is great.
Some days are harder than others.
But, having Lucy and Rob by my side make it easier to manage my pain.

Because every single day is the best day of Lucy’s life.
And she inspires me to see my life that way.

Lucy is the best decision I’ve never made.

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