Bye bye, doggie

Alas, Halle the dog has gone back to the SafeHaven shelter. I guess I could say I failed as a dog parent, or perhaps she was a juvenile delinquent and I didn’t have the strength to straighten her out. I feel terrible.

I wonder if I care so much because I don’t have human children, only dogs. Without a dog, I feel lost. This dog was such a crazy, happy, loving creature, but I could not sit down or go to bed without having to constantly fight her off. When she wasn’t chewing up my things, she was jumping on me and chewing on me. It was like trying to sleep with an alligator in the room.

I tried all the techniques recommended by the experts. Put her in the crate, send her outside, regulate her food, knock her down every time she jumps, ignore her when she misbehaves, and limit the cuddling time so that she knows who’s “the momma dog.” That’s what the trainer who came to our house said I had to be, “the momma dog.”

Well, this momma dog can’t do the tough love thing.

My husband wants to get another dog right away. But like most dads, he wasn’t the one dealing with the bad behavior, trying to get this crazed animal to settle down at night, worrying about her food, her health, her need to go outside.

I need a break, time to stop grieving for my old friend Sadie, time to accept that Halle could not replace her. You don’t buy a new best friend for a hundred bucks and assume you’ll have the same kind of relationship. Let’s just think of this as a two-week visit by an unruly guest. We had some good times, but she had to go home. We were crying, but Halle actually seemed quite content back in her old cage.

By now, you’re asking, “How does this relate to childlessness?” I think many of us who don’t have children put all our parenting energies into our pets. But I can also compare this to trying to adopt a troubled teen without having raised a child from birth, without having had any input in his early years, without having the experience to know what to do when he turns on you.

A friend bought me an Easter lily because I was sad about losing my dog. Nobody has ever bought me a lily before. Lilies are what adult children buy for their aging mothers on Easter because they feel as if they have to buy them something. It makes me uncomfortable to see it sitting on the table.

This should be the last you’ll hear of Halle Berry the dog from me. I’ll get back to people issues next time, I promise.

But how about you? Have you put your mothering eggs in the dog or cat Easter basket, only to be disappointed? I’d love to hear your stories.

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