I have written several posts in the past few months and then not published them or deleted them all together. Because…shame. It’s been present off and on in heavy doses because I’m making some major life changes and I have extra stress right now. I’m also fighting feelings of failure.
Maybe I’ll publish some of the posts that I kept, or maybe I’ll just keep them for myself. But this one I am writing today because I don’t like keeping this secret inside that reduces me to feelings of shame and failure. And I really do believe that speaking my experiences has been an enormous help to me in getting through the negative and feeling free to heal.
I have been called a crazy dog lady many times. I have an enormous, deep, and unconditional love for all the dogs I have ever had in my life. I have an immediate love for most dogs I meet. I would do anything to ensure my dogs feel safe and loved. And I spare no expense on their health.
I have been uncharacteristically quiet for the last several months about my dogs. And that is because I was feeling like a complete failure. Unworthy of having them. Full of shame that I was going to have to face a decision I have judged people for many times.
I am heartbroken still as I write this because I had to return my Tequila to her foster home last week.
I’m taking a very deep breath as I feel the weight of what some of you will think as you read that. And because I still cry every single time I think of her and what had to happen. I don’t have any idea how to stop hurting over the loss I’m feeling not having Tequila in my home where I felt she belonged.
My dogs were together 4 months before they fought for the first time. It was terrifying and I didn’t know what to do or if it was an immediate reason they couldn’t be together. But thankfully, I have great dog-loving people in my life and many great connections from volunteering for the rescue both Fiesta and Tequila came from when I adopted each of them.
I was quickly connected with a great trainer who worked with us in my home in order to bring harmony back to all of us. And I had my dogs examined by their fabulous vet to ensure there were no medical issues going on that could be causing the aggression. Their vet is someone I have relied on for many years now and I am so thankful for his expertise, advice, and support.
I was so relieved that my home quickly became a house of beagle love again. For awhile.
Unfortunately, the fighting kept coming back and in the last few months it escalated to the point where I had to face the fact that they may not be able to both be safe in my home.
Then, one day a few weeks ago I put both dogs in the car to go to the park. And just as I parked the car, a fight broke out in the backseat. Before I could even understand what was happening, there was blood and I no longer remained calm as I yelled and tried other things that in the past had worked to prevent or stop fights. In a split second of panicking and not thinking, I reached to grab a collar and got in the middle of them fighting in the way a person never should.
With my hand.
I felt the pain immediately and froze in hopes that my dog would let go, which she did. And then they went right back to fighting with each other as my wrist started bleeding everywhere and I continued to struggle to stop them.
Eventually, I was able to stop the fight and keep them separate in the car to get home. They went into their crates and I headed to urgent care. I was confused and hurt, both emotionally and physically.
I still have pain and bruising, and it’s been a few weeks. But I was lucky I wasn’t bitten in a way that caused permanent damage.
The damage to my heart is not healing as quickly.
I tried to reunite them several times with no luck before I admitted to myself that this recent fight was the moment I knew that I couldn’t keep them together. Everything I tried to make a safe home for them both has failed.
I failed. At least that’s how I felt at that time.
I know I made the right decision to separate them, but it has been really awful.
I will say again, I have great dog-loving people in my life. I reached out to a few and received so much understanding, support, and love. And I am so, SO thankful to each of you who were there for me in the last few weeks. You know who you are and I just can’t thank you enough.
Facing the fact that I couldn’t give both of my dogs the home they deserve is one of the worst things I have ever had to face.
I know in my heart and my gut I did what was best for both of them. Tequila is doing great in a place where she feels safe and loved. She will be cared for by a rescue I respect that will protect her best interests and make sure she finds a great new home. And Fiesta is relaxed, playful, and happy in a way she hasn’t been in a very long time. That is good. That is what they both deserve.
I helped my Tequila girl get through illness and reach her healthy weight. And that’s success, not failure.
I’ll have to hold onto that since I can no longer hold her little paws or rub her soft ears. She won’t be with me, but she will always be in my heart as my dog.
Miss you, Teq. Soooooooo much.