Kristen from Rescued Insanity expressed some concern about getting a second dog after walking two dogs together. And I have been thinking about her post and my own thoughts and feelings of having 6 dogs.
It is not easy. And I will be upfront and admit, that I do not always like it. It is easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated. I am not one who works well under pressure nor am I one of those people who just soars easily through the day. I feel every pain and frustration and ache of sorrow that comes and have wished more than once that I could run away from all of it. I can't do anything without a dog needing in or out, nor is there a room in the house that does not have a dog or cat in it, when I need time to myself.
Just before Blaze came back, I was starting to gain some ground on having 4 dogs. After all the puppies had left, going from 12 dogs to 4 dogs, was a breeze. Blaze's return was a shock to my system. When we said we would take any puppy back, we never dreamed it would actually happen. When the four Back Dogs wouldn't accept Blaze, a tornado of panic set in. What were going to do? To make matters worse, Blaze came back a shell of herself from the beatings, being locked up and shot with a pellet gun. There was nothing more heart wrenching than seeing your own puppy with all the love in her eyes beaten out of her. It tore me to pieces. Then when Chance was also returned, the case load doubled. All of this occurring when Brut and Zappa's challenges were intensifying between them. This was not what I had planned. And it was hard. It was scary. And it was one the biggest challenges I had ever faced owning dogs and I wanted out. So many times. So many ways. Did I mention that I still had to live life while all of this was happening? It was just too much for this one person to handle.
If it wasn't for the dogs themselves, I wouldn't have done it. And I wouldn't have done it if it wasn't for the dogs. My own Catch-22. Those days when it all came together were the tie breakers. Because most of the time, I was running on empty and struggling to meet everyone's needs. The guilt was consuming. Back Dogs, Front Dogs and each individual needed something and it seemed all at the same time. And I have never been good at juggling time, energy, and space nor am I good at keeping a schedule. Being a stay-home-dog mom, I didn't have the luxury of a set amount of time away.. My husband on the other hand worked so many hours, wasn't able to spend much time with the dogs and that left the bulk of the weight on my shoulders. I was pretty well burnt out after the puppies and Blaze showed up only 3 months after they had all left, with Chance to follow. Yet as our home has begun to settle this past year due to the constant commotion, I am beginning to find that place of acceptance. There is an inner peace, that in no way lessen the load, but that has brought about an understanding and awareness out of all the chaos that has dominated our lives.
One thing I have never doubted was my responsibility to any of the dogs. It is something I have always taken seriously and without question. Though the amount of that accountability has taken it's toll on me in many different ways and progress has taken time, lots of time and patience. It has taken every bit of that pain and glory for the 24 Paws of Love to be where they are today and I can honestly say I don't regret any of it. Which of course is easy to say, when you are looking back. There are still many days when I wish for the simplicity of one dog or two. But like my dogs, I am stubborn and headstrong when it comes to them and I really couldn't have our experience or my life any other way. It has been more than worth it because every ounce of progress the dogs made triumphed all the tragedy and you can't set a number on that.
Kristine gave a salute to those of us who have multiple dogs. And I found myself thinking about that honor to myself, something I rarely do. For this little slice of time, I have taken it and have held it close to my heart. The last person I would ever sit up and take notice for is myself. Kristen's words hit home, and made me take a closer look at being a dog mom, under unique and trying circumstances. When I walked Fiona today, I actually thought to myself, "Yeah, I am a pretty cool dog mom." Fiona looked back and agreed. :)
Thank you Kristine, I can not begin to express what you did for me. (my husband tells me the same thing every day would like to know your secret, since I never listen to him!)
And thank you to every dog blogger who has been part of this incredible journey. I have needed every single one of you so that I may have at least an ounce of sanity left. :)
But, I still need a vacation!! :)
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Current blog look inspired and dedicated to Silver. The late Momma Dog of the 24 Paws of Love.