When I was 4 a large dog put a paw on each of my shoulders and licked my face….in a friendly way….but to me it was terrifying and I had a fear of dogs for a very long time.
As a child I never had a pet – other than a few tadpoles which we released once they were frogs. I bought my husband fish one birthday and we had then for a few years….I fed them for him while he was away, but they were his….after the first few months I found them a bit boring to be honest.
My husbands family had dogs growing up, and he has always liked dogs.
Over the past 5 years or so I’ve started having more to do with dogs, friends of ours have some, so every time we visited I got more and more used to them. Then for a while my brother lived close, and he has a dog, so when they went away she would come stay with us instead of going to the kennels. It was great, I had a part time dog – all the fun, without the expense haha. And in there friends kept trying to convince us to get a dog – then their dogs would have a playmate when they came to visit. And with my husband being away a lot everyone agreed it would be good company for me….even the counselor thought it was a great idea.
But Mr wasn’t so keen….he didn’t want the responsibility, making it hard to go away spontaneously, or having the pick up the poo. I started to wear him down though, talking about fostering dogs instead of getting our own – so we could try it out. He said we should get our own instead.
We couldn’t decide on a breed we both agreed on…..and then the conversations stopped….when I asked him about it, it turned out he’d changed his mind. He didn’t want to get a dog after all. I was upset, and upset with him for not talking to me about it.
Fast forward to near the end of last year (and several conversations with the counselor encouraging us to get one) and Mr said let’s get a dog after all. I was dubious and uncertain. Around the same time friends of ours mentioned they were planning on getting one of their dogs pregnant. So we decided if they did we’d get one of their puppies, as their dog is lovely, and it would be nice to have that link.
Everyone talked about how good a dog would be for me, how healing it is having a pet. No one thought about how it might be triggering for me, least of all myself…until we made the decision to get one of our friends puppy.
There was the waiting for her to go on heat, and have a date with the puppy dad.
Waiting to find out if she was pregnant.
Mr started telling everyone we were getting a puppy later in the year…..before the puppy was even conceived. Straight to happy & excited for him. No worrying about what if’s. Appearing to have moved on from the past trauma.
Everyone told me how exciting it was, how excited I must be. It just felt like going through IVF all over again. Waiting. Uncertainty. Waiting for disappointment. Waiting for heartbreak.
The dog got pregnant, friends had seen puppies on a scan. Yet another milestone similar to IVF.
And still I couldn’t day dream. Couldn’t get excited. Dogs can miscarry can’t they? Puppies can be stillborn?
We tentatively started discussing puppy names. Arguing over them. Choosing is hard. Trying to choose reminded me it’s probably the only name choosing I’ll ever do. We never chose names for the babies we lost (other than pet names).
And then the puppies were born. And yes I was excited that day, getting updates and photos. Looking at the lovely photos of happy mama dog. Watching her lick and feed her babies. So adorable.
And at the same time, a reminder that I’ll most likely never get to nurse a baby, care for my own baby.
I am looking forward to when we get to choose our puppy, and bring it home, and building a relationship with it and watching it grow.
But I’m also stressed, about how I’ll handle such a big change and responsibility at the same time as sitting Uni exams, and at the same time as trying to carry all these feelings that keep swamping me.
NB Not my photo, and not my puppy.