Sunday, October 28, 2007

the tough decisions

I’ve always been a staunch believer of the motto: “When you adopt an animal, you adopt for a lifetime.” I always felt that it’s not fair to the animal to be passed on from home to home, as they make emotional attachments which are broken. Animals need stability as much as humans, and when we taken them into our homes, it’s our obligation to provide love, protection, and stability for them.

That being said, I have recently considered finding a new home for my dog. I feel guilty to even be seriously thinking about it! What happened to looking out for my dog’s best interest? Am I being selfish? And on the flip side, should I keep a dog that I don’t want anymore in the hopes that one day she may grow on me?

One thing I’ve realized recently is that I’m a cat person. I know it doesn’t shock y’all, but I thought I could be a cat person and a dog person. But no, having a dog just makes me miss my cats. It’s like an introvert forced to be around people all the time. You can take it for a while, but eventually you just feel worn down. I’ve also done a lot of comparing of dogs to children: if I am going to give up with a dog, shouldn’t that make me a bad mother? I’ve decided that with children, the love factor plays a much bigger role (at least I hope it will!). I would never consider giving up my cats; I love and care about them too much. The work I have to do for them is considered joy for me because they are special to me. I definitely don’t feel that with Zoey; the work I have to do for her feels like a burden or an obligation.

All that being said, below I’ve listed some reasons for both sides. Paul and I feel that there is no easy answer. Neither of us knows what to do. We definitely won’t make a hasty decision. I’m hoping that by posting this here, we’ll get some feedback that will help us make our decision. Please be nice! I am trying to ignore selfish reasons like “It’s cold outside and I don’t want to walk her.” However, those selfish reasons all add up to my general feelings of discontent and of not wanting a dog. She doesn’t fit with our lives like I thought she was going to, and I don’t know what needs to change: us or the situation.

The reasons why it’s in her best interest to stay with us:
  1. She loves us and feels safe with us.
  2. In this household, she will never be abused or abandoned.
The reasons why it’s in her best interest to go:
  1. She isn’t loved by us. We don’t really want a dog around, especially for Paul.
  2. We are easily frustrated and impatient with her. We yell at her a lot.
  3. We resent her, especially when she demands our attention. We aren’t prepared for the amount of work required by a dog.
  4. We don’t have the energy to keep up with her. We are distracted by our own lives.
  5. We feel overwhelmed right now. We plan to have kids someday, and we wonder if that HUGE change is going to be in her best interest. We aren’t sure if we will be able to give all our animals the attention they desire and deserve once a new baby enters the household. We wonder if it would be in Zoey’s best interest to find another home NOW while she’s still a puppy.
  6. We live in an apartment with no yard. We wonder if it would be better for her to have a house where she can run and play.
  7. She likes being around people. We are gone a lot, and when we are home we are trying to work. She doesn’t like being ignored.
The reasons why it’s in the cats’ best interests for Zoey to go:
  1. She chases them whenever she sees them.
  2. Zoey takes up my time, so I am unable to pay much attention to them.
  3. Things like their litter box and their food bowls have to be in inconvenient places for the cats because of Zoey.
And, this is huge, but we have to consider the financial implications:
  1. Having a dog affects our future goals and desires (work hard now to pay off debt).
  2. Dogs are EXPENSIVE. The vet bills seem to be in 3 figures every time I go. Also, there is monthly heartworm and flea treatments, which aren’t TOO expensive, but they do add up.
  3. Additional costs: food, treats, doggy poop bags, misc things like new collars and leashes when she tears up the other ones.
  4. The costs of replacing things she’s destroyed: library books, DVDs, pillows, floor mats, Ingersoll Rand air tools, etc. Also, since we live in an apartment, we have to pay for destroyed property.
  5. My desire to is to leave the work force when we have children. However, as of now, that’s not possible. Having a dog is only delaying it, and to me it isn’t worth it. It’s like an unwanted debt that you can’t get rid of.
  6. In our attempt to simplify our lives and reduce our expenses, having a dog simply doesn’t add into the equation.


Simplistic Pam said...

What a tough decision. I say, if you can find someone that will love her as much as she deserves to be loved, give her that life without any guilt, for you are doing what's best for her AND you. And you seem like the type that wouldn't give her to anyone but the best.

I understand what you mean about being a cat person. I love, love, love dogs and hope to one day be a dog-mom, but right now I can't give a dog what it needs to be happy, so I'm sticking to my lovely cat.

ashley @ twentysixcats said...

Thank you so much for your comment. You're right - I would only give up Zoey if I knew it would be a good home (i.e. I wouldn't just dump her at a shelter). Also, if a great home came along right now, I think I would go ahead and give her away.

NicholeLNelson said...

Sounds like your mind is made up! Isn't that nice? It's funny with people like me, you, Paul and even Micah -- we often HAVE a decision but are afraid to make it. But it really seems like the most sense for you to give Zoey up. Especially if you resent her, because even though you don't abuse her, it kind of lessens the two reasons to keep her, know what I'm saying? I'm sure someone will both care for her AND cherish her.

Best of luck finding a good home for her!

ashley @ twentysixcats said...

I was definitely leaning towards giving her up when I wrote this post, but now I'm leaning towards keeping her. I said "we don't love her", but in actuality I *DO* like her. It's not the same as the love I feel for my cats, but it's still there. She makes me laugh and smile, and sometimes I really enjoy being with her. *sigh*