The little five month mixed breed dog I wanted to adopt last weekend cannot come to my home to live. His name would have been Benny or Louie or Monty. I didn’t care. I just wanted to take him home.
I knew he was mine when we cuddled and he performed his required puppy sigh and wrapped his paws around my neck, then kissed my face. It was the true sign that he wanted me for his mom.
I had signed all the papers for Benny, Louie or Monty and was ready to go until a woman from the shelter said she needed to talk to my husband first, to see if the plan was agreeable to him. If I was smart, I would have said he wasn’t home, and asked them to call my Vet or my neighbor for info on the kind of doggy mom I am. But the truth slipped out before I could think twice and gave her our phone number.
From that moment on, I knew my life with Benny, Louie or Monty was doomed. Jay simply wasn’t ready for another dog; he never is at that point. Even though each time I’ve brought one home without a call to him, he takes the dog in his arms and the deal is sealed without fanfare or argument.
But this phone call to my husband ensured that my new dog would not come home with me. Jay told her that we already had a dog and he didn’t want another.
End of story.
I held Benny, Louie or Monty for as long as I could. I think that baby cried along with me and then the shelter people took him out of my arms and put him back in his crate.
I ripped up the application and stormed out of the place crying behind sunglasses. Once I got home, Jay and I had one of the biggest arguments we’ve ever had. And if you know why I wanted another dog, you’d be just as hard on him as I was.
We’ve lived a difficult life for the past twenty years. Jay has been disabled throughout, unable to work, and dependent on my income and his disability checks. I’ve struggled to make a go of it all despite the fact that we were almost flat broke and on the edge of foreclosure at one point two years ago. The only things that gave me solace were my animals….Maggie, now five and a half and our 15 year old cat, Josephine. Animals make the hardest times somehow bearable.
At that time, I was working as hard as I could, even though my situational depression made me less compassionate about Jay’s issues and even less able to produce a lot of work on schedule.
A day after we received our first foreclosure notice, we also inherited a good sum of money from my mother in law who had died the year before. The money took a very long time to receive because of the screw up she made of her will and a psychotic co-op board that made us wait by using unreasonable tactics to sell the apartment.
But despite that fact, we got enough to pay off our creditors, pay back friends who had helped us and put some money away. It took another full year for me to gain ground and feel whole again.
But this is not a time to make money, no matter where you plant it. The market is too iffy, the savings plans are non-existent and bonds are a joke.
So the money that we have left awaits our use as I await advances and royalties for my work. And who makes all of this bearable? My animals.
I was so ready to bring Benny, Louie or Monty home—the name of the dog would have been Jay’s choice as it always was—but it didn’t work out that way.
I was bereft and angry and although I understand that his problems get in the way with the thought of another mouth to feed or a life to care for, I like to think that my needs should have mattered in this situation too.
So I mourn for new dog that I never got to bring home and I don’t know if or when I’ll be able to get another who would be a baby brother for Maggie. I know she’d be thrilled to have the company. There is no other dog we’ve had who has loved all other dogs and people the way she does.
So, do I wait until I think that Jay can handle another dog again, or I’ll get another dog myself? If I’m asked if they can talk to my husband, I will lie and tell them he’s not home. Then they will call my Vet or a neighbor. And when I arrive home with the new dog, I will do what I’ve always done in the past….I place the dog in Jay’s arms and we begin again with new parenthood.
I think I would have called my now lost puppy, Louie, except that’s what Sandra Bullock named her little baby. So I think he would have been Benny. But names be damned; I loved that little boy and I’m still bereft with the fact that my husband’s illness and behavior denied me yet another bit of love…just for me.