I’ve always been an animal person. I love them all and I can always find a redeeming quality in them. But you know there are some animals that you just get along with better? Like they kind of speak to you? For me that happens to be cats. I understand them. I feel what they’re saying. And quite frankly, I am kind of at their energy level. I’ve been with my husband for 18 years and he has known this the whole time.
So he got the grand idea to go to a shelter and take me with him. I fell in love with another cat and he fell in love with a puppy. Needless to say we were both idiots and ended up with another cat and this dog. My whole world was turned upside down in a matter of seconds. (Cue the drama). You see, I’m a VERY cat like person myself. I’m cool with relatively limited attention until I don’t want it, I also enjoy my stomach rubbed until I don’t, I am possessive over food, and I want to play with you—until I don’t. So having a high energy animal is just not for me.
Then he leaves me alone with this puppy on the very first day. Now, I was not feeling good that day—stomach issues—and then he leaves me alone with a our toddler, two cats we already had, a new kitten who licked open his neuter sutures, and a puppy. So here I am freaking out because this puppy is shitting and pissing all over my living room, I’m not able to move fast enough to stop her and get my toddler’s shoes on to make it outside, and my husband is at work. He definitely put our marriage to the test that day.
So I’m cursing at him on the phone screaming that I don’t want to be left alone with this animal—that I don’t want this dog at all—I’m screaming at him that he needs to be able to take care of this puppy that he brought into the house. She’s scheduled for surgery on Thursday and someone needs to be able to watch her on Friday (I’m not heartless, I don’t want her in pain) and he loses his mind at me. He screams he didn’t want another cat and oh my lord I went red. I was screaming back that cats are 99% independent so clearly not as much work as a dog and he wasn’t home dealing with all of her puppiness that first day—on top of everything else I already listed. I’m envisioning divorcing my husband and kicking his ass out and throwing the dog out behind him. Of course, after that I’m realizing that I may have gone off my rocker a little bit.
Do you ever have a time when you realized you went completely psycho and you’re like, “Oh wow, I need to calm down?” Yeah, that was it for me. I also had the realization that this is a pattern I follow any time there is some sort of change in my life. And it was honestly an epiphany for me: I need to learn to handle change better. A new addition to the family is an exciting time (yes, stressful) but it is a time that can be looked at with joy, not despair.
There is a long family history on my mother’s side about people always seeing the negative, always feeling put upon, feeling martyred. The thing I’ve realized is that to some degree I’ve martyred myself. No one did it for me. While in my heart I knew I couldn’t let anything happen to the dog, it was my choice to clean up after her and to let her out and to take her for walks. I could have chosen to let her suffer and sit in her own filth.
So you see, we all have choices—the key is to go with them and own it. It doesn’t do to dwell in them; In the words attributed to Glenn Turner (and various others) Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere. So why do we spend time in thoughts that keep us perpetually angry/miserable/unsatisfied/anything that doesn’t serve? Mainly because we don’t realize that we can change those thoughts.
So in all of the chaos of life, sometimes all we have to do is stop. We are so often lost in doing what we think we need to do, to attain some sort of goal that we are told we are supposed to want that we don’t stop and look at what is going on around us. We don’t take the time to look at what is going on within us either. Sometimes all it takes is a beat, a single breath, to wait. Sometimes the transformation finds us and we only have to go with it—for we can’t fight who we really are. Sometimes we find ourselves through deep, intentional thoughts. Sometimes we find ourselves because your husband brought home a puppy.