It was a hellish week.
A few months prior I had gotten very sick and lost my truck driving job. As it turns out, heart attacks are ok, but uncontrolled blood pressure is not. I had just separated from my 3rd husband, moved my disabled brother Bob to a trailer in Longview, bought 5.5 acres in the woods, and moved myself into a camper located in an RV park. Not knowing what to do next, I went back to college, cause, you know, that seems totally doable in the circumstances.
Money was tight and I couldn’t afford the rent on Bob’s place and the RV park. Another awesome decision, we moved Bob into the camper with me.
So there I am, living in an old FEMA camper, which was auctioned off because folks were complaining they were dying in them. I’m in the front “bedroom”, Bob is in the recliner just outside the door of said room, we have my son’s dog and my little maltese mix Molly. The camper itself is in an RV park, not the kind with nice old people who come down to escape the harsh yankee winters, nope. This park is filled with people who have spent decades drinking, drugging, and losing jobs. For the most part they were very nice people, but there were drunken fights and late night parties.
Every day that weather permitted, I would drop Bob and the dogs out at the property about a mile away, then head to school, 2 hours away. Bob would clear spaces and work on the area to move the camper into, I would help when I could. It was a challenge to say the least.
Then I went just a step too far. Happens to me all the time. I was asked to foster a dog that belonged to a family going through a hard time. It was a 3 year old germen shepherd named Bruce. He had an open wound that wasn’t healing and some pretty serious behavioral problems. I’d never had a GSD, but I’ve had dogs. I took him in on a temporary basis. He required vet care, attention, and training. We got him healed up and he spent his days with Bob on the property, the evenings with me learning to walk on a leash. He snapped at me a few times, but nothing serious, he took the correction well and was coming around. Then they asked if I would just keep him. After 4 weeks of caring for him, I couldn’t take him to a shelter. We had started bonding, he was starting to come in the tiny room to sleep next to the bed, he would look for me if he were off and playing.
Then it happened. In an instant. It was the weekend and we were out on the property. The job that day was to dig a hole for the electric pole. The dogs were in the bed of the truck, inside their kennels, the tail gate was down. It was a bit chilly, so Bob heading over to start a fire while I unloaded. I let the dogs out and reached for Bruce’s lead to hook him up. He wasn’t quite trustworthy and would rocket off. Just that quick. One second the dogs were dancing around my feet as I pulled the lead out of the truck, the next I heard a car down on the road. I lunged for Bruce with the lead in my hand, but he was gone, the tip of his tail the only thing in site as he disappeared into the woods, towards the road. Then the loud bang. We lost him that day and I was wrecked.
I moved through the next week in a daze, grieving his loss, the all consuming guilt burying me. I was too relaxed, I let him out of my grasp at exactly the wrong time and he paid the price for my neglect. He deserved much better.
As I was processing the loss and preparing for my first mid-terms in 20 years, I get a call from Mom.
“I found you a puppy” she exclaimed excitedly, “to help you get over Bruce”.
“Not a great idea, Mom. It’s just too soon, we have no room, and I’m just too busy to handle a puppy”, was my immediately response.
“Just go look at them, I’m buying one for you”. She was determined.
“Ok Mom, send me the link and I’ll get in touch with them”, I lied.
We had the same conversation, twice a day for a week. I would list all the reasons a puppy was a terrible idea and she would just insist it was what I needed. As usual, I gave in, and a week later, I went to see this litter of puppies she was so crazy about.
Categories: Deciding on a puppy