Yup, I did it. At the ripe age of 53, I “rescued” a canine creature. I have never owned a dog in my entire life, but after much debate and pondering with my hubby, we decided this may be the answer for me.
This all happened two years ago now, and Stanley has been in our life and become part of our quirky household. I was struggling with the quiet loneliness once the kids left the Nest with Mike still working tours overseas. The decision was made to give it a go and start by Fostering a dog to see how it worked for us. Well of course in a short space of time I became what’s known as a “Foster Failure”. This is actually a positive thing meaning that you’d failed at being a Foster Dog Owner, and had actually decided to adopt the pooch.
He really has been a bit of dream dog for us. No whining, no barking at every little thing, no chewing of furniture. Just the odd bit of aggressive behaviour when on leash. We changed his name from “Tyson” (he never answered to it anyway – and being as my husband is called Mike, we just didn’t think that would work for us) to Stanley, aka Stan-the Man, Stanners, and Stan.
The main problem with having a dog is all in my head.
The issue that I’m having with owning a dog has nothing to do with him, but instead this irrational guilt I carry. Turns out its not him, it’s me.
You see, I seem to have held on to that amazing skill I have to immerse myself in the “Motherhood Guilt” technique that I had fine-tuned over my 20-or-so years of being a full-time parent. Now I have developed the ability to put that same guilt on myself for leaving Stanley alone for a longer period of time (6-8 hours). Yes, I know, I’ve heard all the advice before. “He’s just a dog”, “They just sleep anyway”, “They have no concept of time”. But still I go round in circles worrying in my head. Does anyone have any better advice than those listed in the previous sentence to help me get over this ridiculous issue?
Tonight, I’m enlisting my “self-talk” skills and going off to work for what may be a 7 hour shift while Mike is away working. “You’ve got this Kim, he’s just a dog, he’ll sleep, it’s all good”, I’ll be chanting to myself. Summer’s coming and more of this is coming, too. I need to smarten up. Fast.