Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving, so it’s no surprise what I’ll be writing about. I have so much to be thankful for this year, amazing friends, amazing family, and amazing dogs.

These last few weeks have been some of the hardest that I have ever gone through, and they just showed me what wonderful people I have in my life.

I guess we start with the hardest part, to write, to say, to believe.

Check is no longer my puppy.

That was the first time I’ve written that down, and it stings.

It was no secret how much I loved that puppy. He was so very special to me. Unfortunately he wasn’t the puppy for me. He was so fearful of life in general, and that fear turned into aggression. Very intense aggression.

For awhile I refused to believe what was happening. The first time he reacted, it was the other puppy’s fault. The second time it was the fact that the person was scary. The third time it was the man with a hat in the street. And the list went on. But then, I was forced to realize that it wasn’t them. It was my puppy. I told myself I would fix it. If I love him hard enough, and train him more, he’ll get better. A friend who had a reactive dog reached out to me, and explained to me exactly what it was like to live with a reactive dog. I was so thankful to her, and still am.  Without her I don’t know if I could’ve made this decision.

My trainer was there for me every step of the way, and I am so incredibly thankful for that. He assured me that if I wanted to keep the puppy he would help, and we would work through this together. If I did decide to rehome the puppy, that was okay too, and he would help me through that. 

Eventually I realized that I couldn’t give Check the life he deserved. I couldn’t manage him the way he would need to be. It wasn’t fair to force him into a lifestyle that he would hate, and that would put him over his stress threshold every single day. It also wasn’t fair to me. I couldn’t be there for him the way he needed me. That broke my heart, and it still does. The wounds are raw, and still sting every time I think about it.

I made the decision and Check was going back to his breeder. I couldn’t put him in a car and never see him again, so we recruited my friend to drive him to Pennsylvania. That was I could say goodbye, and be left alone to grieve in my bed with a tub of ice cream. I was so proud of myself for making this decision. I did the right thing, and it was going to get better from here.

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And then I got a call.

“Check got loose, and he’s in the woods in New York.”

Check got out and was now running around in Fishkill NY. So my mom and I get in the car, and drive as fast as we can to get there. It was hell. That was the worst weekend of my life. All I wanted was my puppy back. I never thought I could feel worse than I did when I made the decision to rehome him, and I felt worse that weekend. I didn’t think I would ever be able to let him out of my sight again.

I was so thankful for the outpouring of support I felt that weekend. Complete strangers were messaging me offering help. My trainer drove all the way from Massachusetts to come help, and for that I was so incredibly thankful.

I finally got my puppy back. I had to continue reminding myself that the puppy that went into the woods, was the same one that came out. His issues were still his issues, and the reasons I made that decision in the first place were still there.

So Check is now in California, and I hope he will have a better life than I could have given him. And hopefully he will become more comfortable in his own skin.

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I am so upset at this turn in my life. The wounds are still very open, and I still have trouble getting through the day without shedding a tear. Everyone has been asking me if I am okay, and my response has been “No, but I will be eventually.” And that is the attitude I am continuing to keep. I am so sad that I couldn’t keep Check, and I’m allowing myself to feel bad. Everyday things get easier, and that will continue.

So while I have had the worst few weeks of my life lately, I am still thankful. I have my people, who care about me so much,  and my dogs, and everything I need in life.

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