I got a dog recently. Her name is Moro, and I will make a proper introduction post about her later.
My mother and I had been talking about a service dog or a therapy dog for a while now. And recently, Mother had this feeling where we needed to go to the shelter to pick up a potential pup. I, as I always do, had my reservations. We have cats, I have work and other responsibilities, we’re poor, etc. She was insistent that the dog would help me, so I went along with it.
When we got to the shelter, there was an energetic, terrified, QUIET Malinois pup. She was amazing, and I got her. I had plans to take her to obedience classes so she can learn the basics before training her myself (with help) to become a personalized therapy dog.
That is the plan.
However, there’s a new stressor: my family.
New dog means new responsibilities on top of what I have. That means waking up at 5:30 instead of 6:30 so she can have a morning walk. It means making sure she is exercised by taking her out, since the backyard doesn’t have enclosed fences yet. It means dealing with her naughtiness (she is a pup after all) of headbutting my nose every morning, pottying in the house, and tearing my books out of the bookcases.
Because of her, I have spent some bill money in order to get her crate and food. Because of her, I am getting about 4 hours of sleep at night. Because of her, I’ve had to rearrange my bedroom to something I’m not completely happy with.
And I get it.
This is my responsibility now.
I’ve had her for 10 days now. Just 10 days. And I’ve been greeted by two phrases that haunt me, and make me feel like I’m either stupid for getting her or that I’ve been guilted into getting Moro.
First was from my brother: “Well, you decided to get a dog”.
This was when I was telling him how tired I was since I have to wake up earlier now. Yeah, I thought a therapy dog could help me with my PTSD, my depression, my panic disorder, my mental breakdowns I seem to be having more of. I was willing to wait, but Mother felt I needed Moro now, and I found a good dog. Maybe I was stupid to get her now. I could’ve waited, and got another dog.
Second was my mother: “You get to deal with this for the next 10 to 15 years”.
This came after I was upset with Moro jumping on my bed. Do you know why I was upset with her? It wasn’t because she came up on my bed. I like cuddling. It was because she fully headbutted my nose, and I thought it was going to bleed at any moment. No blood, but it was throbbing and bruising like a mofo. That phrase makes me feel like I’ve made yet another mistake that’s going to effect my life horribly.
I feel guilted into getting her. I “needed a dog”, and they “thought she was going to help me”. It was for the sake of me. ‘Help us help you’. ‘If you get a dog, it would make us happy’. Can’t say no to my family, I guess.
Do I regret getting her?
Do I resent her?
No. She is a puppy (5 months old) in a new environment, and I’ve only had her for 10 days! It’s going to take a while.
The reason I’m sharing this is because I was on the cusp of another mental breakdown this past weekend. My room was an awful mess because Moro likes to find cardboard boxes and rip them to shreds. My lack of sleep was finally getting to my psyche. I was worried about production (by the way, guys, I’m in a play as well), and my usual worries of no money, school situations, existentialism, yada yada yada. And on this verge, my family kept asking questions, telling me what I needed to do, and I had to remind myself that not only did I have this dog to take care of now, I still have the cats to take care of. Everything was crumbling, and the cherry on top was my brother coming into my room and immediately saying, “I’m leaving; your room smells disgusting.”
From work to production to schooling to hobbies to house care to the new dog to my already unstable mind…it can feel like too much.
And I feel guilted into it.
Disclaimer: I realize it’s not my family’s want for me to feel that way. It’s just how it is and how my brain perceives things.