Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Unexpected Tears

This week, I sent an email that conveyed a decision that I can honestly say has been the hardest decision I've had to make as a parent thus far. I've balled my eyes out several times since. This is a hard week for me. This is not a place I ever expected to be.

When I began the adoption process and got closer to the gotcha day where I would finally bring my son home -  my concern regarding our dog was that he'd be terrified of her. Which he was for over a month. It was challenging and stressful for all 3 of us. I had to put up a baby gate and keep them separated. When I would let her out or feed her, I had to carry Mihretu and he clung to me for dear life out of pure terror. He would scream if she would sniff his feet while I was carrying him. This was hard but this... this scenario... I expected. I had other friends who have adopted children who were also terrified of dogs. It didn't make it an easier but I had hope that this season would pass and they would become buddies. It passed after about a month when he finally started to warm up to her out in the backyard where there was wide open spaces and he would throw her sticks. It wasn't long after that when he transitioned from being scared to just loving her to pieces, wanting to help feed her, let her outside, give her treats, take her for walks, and hug her. I was so happy to be past that hard stage.

But we really weren't past the hard stage at all. Once he warmed up to her and started getting near her - she started getting snappy with him because she was anxious. Early on, I contacted the animal rescue agency I adopted her from and began talking to them about what to do. They had lots of pointers which we immediately implemented. I also ended up having a dog trainer come to the house to work with us too. She gave me some direction too and seemed to think that Auty was just anxious around Mihretu at times and simply warning him to back away at times when she growled or snapped at him. She told me some things to avoid (him getting near her while she's under the table or in any kind of "den" scenario, not letting her on the bed or couch with us, etc.) and basically just said that I should never allow them to be alone together without me there and that I needed to keep working with Mihretu on how to interact with Auty. We've been doing all of those things. Mihretu has learned to be super gentle and careful around her. I'm also on alert watching their interactions and jumping in to change the setting whenever it looks like Auty is getting anxious or annoyed. It works a lot of the times and I felt hopeful and encouraged that we could do this and that eventually once Auty was used to Mihretu, she'd love him and stop snapping at him. But even with all the things we are doing that she suggested, it's still a challenge on a regular basis and she is still snapping at him in random moments almost weekly. I know some dogs are just not the best for homes with small kids. I just didn't think Auty would be one of those dogs. And the fact is his fast movements and loud noises simply make Auty very anxious.

I love her so much. It truly feels like part of my heart is being ripped out. I've prayed about this decision and it has literally take me 6 months to even come to grips with it or to be able to make this decision. Mostly cause I wanted to give it time because I hoped beyond hope that it would get better. It's still happening and so I have to face the reality of the situation for the safety of my child. Ultimately, as much of a sacrifice this is for me, I know that it's the right decision - for Mihretu's safety and honestly for Auty too. It's not fair for her to live in a home where she's anxious. The thing that I'm holding on to right now is the hope that the perfect family for her is near and it'll be a family that doesn't have small children and is able to love on her like she loves so much - like I was able to do before I became a mom to Mihretu. When it was just me and her, I gave her my full attention. She is one of the most affectionate dogs I have ever met. She loves to snuggle and she's just such a sweet, sweet dog. Other people who've met her say the same thing - she is a snuggly, loveable dog like none other. I fell in love with her instantly and can't even believe that I have to let her go. This just sucks. There's no other way to put it.

We still have Auty at our house while the animal adoption agency tries to secure a foster family for her while they do the search for a permanent home. We are continuing to be very cautious in the meantime. And I am praying many prayers that the perfect family will come along quickly so that Auty can have as little transition as possible. It hurts my heart to think she will feel abandoned. And to think about how Mihretu will respond. He's going to be devastated too. It's just a heartbreaking situation all around. Just because you know the right thing to do doesn't mean it's easy. Please pray for us and especially for Auty - that she would find a permanent home that really will be forever this time. Once I know she has that - I will feel so much better about the whole situation. She's an amazing, sweet, snuggly, awesome dog that will thrive in an environment with lots of love and without little kids. The right family is going to love her like I have. And she is going to love all the attention they will give her. I just hope they come along soon. And in the meantime, I'm trying to prepare Mihretu for the change and love on Auty as much as I can while she's still with us. And I'm also trying to grieve this. Lots of tears. Tears that I never expected to be crying because I never expected to be in this situation.

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