Hey! It’s my 200th post!! *throws confetti* I just wish I had something more uplifting to write about, but…. c’est la vie.
I never wanted to own another dog. At least, that’s what I believed for the past six years, ever since I had to relinquish my [son’s] dog to my parents a year or so after my divorce. (The Ex took the son, but refused to take the dog.) And it’s not for the reasons that many of my friends say they don’t want another dog…. Not wanting to go through the “heartache” of losing a beloved family pet again, etc. No…..my dog was just a royal pain in my ass. She’s stubborn, she’d bark in my face incessantly, she ran away a lot, and she’d get the runny shits all over my apartment from separation anxiety if we were gone for more than 4 hours. Trust me, she’s in a better place with my parents and their dog and the former Wild Kingdom (R.I.P. AL the Cat and Warren the Cockatiel) because she now gets the love and attention and companionship she deserves. So, what’s changed?
Well, let’s just say I found out that I am “reproductively challenged.”
Both my husband and I have kids of our own from previous relationships, so it was just assumed that after we got married we would be able to do on purpose what happened to us collectively three times on accident. Seems like everyone is out here having “oops” babies these days. However, after several unsuccessful rounds of clomid, I found out from a specialist that due to my “advanced age” (for reproductive purposes, but not, you know, for the Earth) and the apparent fact that my ovaries assumed their services were no longer needed, I have about a 5% chance of having more children the old-fashioned way.
Five. Fucking. Percent. (And yes, I am still trying to wrap my brain around all this, which is really fucking hard, like trying to wrap your naked ass with a hand towel. I shall deal with it directly in due course….)*
So, the first thing I did after receiving this bit of news from my
bedside manner challenged doctor (besides crying) was to make a list in my gratitude/affirmations journal (yes, a real paper journal!) entitled 5% Chance of Conceiving . . . So Here is What I Will Do With the Other 95%:
1. Become a bodybuilder
2. Buy a dog
4. Find an expensive hobby
5. Stay thin
Etc. . . you get the gist.
The thought of wanting a dog actually came to me several months ago. I was sitting on the couch watching TV, alone because my husband was doing grad school work, my daughter was with her dad, and I was all up in my feelings thinking about the uncertainty of my reproductive future (because this process takes a LONG time…. it’s a lot of wait and see before you get any answers). My husband is a wonderfully optimistic man, and while I know he cares very much, he’s just not one to play host to my pity parties because his answer is always “Just don’t worry.” Well, at that particular moment I was worried, and really fucking sad, and I just had the thought that it would have been nice to have a small dog to snuggle up with at that moment so I wouldn’t be so lonely and despondent. Dogs don’t try to give advice, or fix, or play the “whose life sucks more” game, or get upset or defensive and yell at you because you are upset. At that moment I needed someone/something whose sole job was to be there with snuggles and kisses (but not on the face, because I don’t play that shit) and just let me BE. But, it was just an idea to toy around with, because my husband does NOT like dogs, and I fully expected to have a baby to deal with sooner rather than later and wouldn’t have the time or energy for a dog.
But….. 5%. By no means impossible, just not very probable.
And before you start lecturing me about how a dog is not a replacement for a baby, I’m going to stop you right there (and NOT let you finish). I know that dogs are in no way the same as having a child, and people who think that it is the same make me want to karate chop them in the throat. The only people who say this are people who don’t have any kids of their own, otherwise they would know just how much having a dog is NOT like having a kid. I’ve raised two kids in the past 21 years, and have owned a dog, and it’s nowhere fucking close. No, a dog is just that….. a dog.
However, dogs are supposed to be wonderful therapy for people with depression. I’m on the board of a mental health organization, and one of the things they do is to take specially trained therapy dogs up to the local law school to help students alleviate stress. It’s science, people. So after I got my 5% news, and after some financial setbacks, and after both my parents landed in the hospital within 3 days of each other, and after my daughter told me that if we had to move she would not be coming with us, the idea of getting a dog for myself went from just an idea to a borderline compulsion. I’ve tried everything else to feel better . . . exercise, eating better, focusing on outside goals (thus the bodybuilding), writing out what I’m grateful for,
drinking, taking Vitamin D . . . and nada. But, in my defense, I’ve essentially gone from planning on starting a family together with my new husband to the possibility of being an empty nester virtually overnight. As one person perfectly stated it: “You’ve experienced a lot of loss lately.”
In my attempts to find more ways to deal with…. well, everything…. I had the [brilliant] idea of getting a dog and training it to be a therapy dog. I even found a cute little Boston Terrier puppy (and Boston Terriers are supposed to make great companion/therapy dogs) who has the same birthdate as my husband!! (it’s fate!) But alas, my husband does not want a dog. (Lately I’ve felt like a 10-year-old trying to convince her parents that yes, I WILL take care of the doggy). Part of the problem with my son’s dog is that she just wasn’t trained properly. It was a bad idea to get a puppy while I was in law school and expect two young children and a lazy husband to pick up on the slack of training. My mistake. Lesson learned. But that’s the dog my husband remembers.
So my thought was to make sure this dog would be trained correctly (in a group class, not someone’s garage, and with a routine, not just whenever someone felt like it), and also go through the additional training to get certified as a therapy dog not just to help myself, but to help others as well, which would also help me. (Therapy Dog International has a program to help kids with reading by reading aloud to dogs! Isn’t that cool???) Also, it would give me somewhat of a hobby . . . something else to focus on besides whether 5% will ever become 100% (because stress contributes to infertility, and infertility contributes to stress). And just something to soothe my frazzled emotional state.
So, it really has nothing to do with wanting a dog instead of a baby…. I’m just tired of being really fucking sad.
*Okay, so perhaps I’m putting too much of my business out here…. but you know what? It is what it is. This is part of who I am and my life journey on this spaceship Earth. And there are lots of people dealing with it, and too many people [needlessly] ashamed to share. Well, sharing is caring, folks. Pray for my 5%.