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The Lesson I Didn’t Want to Teach

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I’m no hypocrite.  Well, I try not to be. A lesson that I’ve learned is that people are not who they say they are; they are what they do. But I let myself down one day.  I let my son down, and I let an innocent dog down, too.  I allowed a dog into my home, knowing that I didn’t want it.

I’d made my feelings clear to anyone who’d listen.  I was not a pet person.  Not at all.  I did not want to own a dog or a cat.  My reasoning was sound. I don’t want to care for a creature that will not mature and care for itself.  I like my furniture and my home to be fur free and devoid of animal smells.  I like my freedom.  In my sphere of happiness, pets do not equal freedom.

I thought my husband understood that.  I thought my son did, too.  Still, I allowed myself to be taken to a bulldog breeder.  The dogs were cute and the puppies were cuter.  Despite the gut feeling demanding that I grab my family and leave that place, we bought a puppy.  My husband swore that he and my son would take care of it.

However, my husband’s demanding, high-travel job meant that the care fell to me.  My son’s non-interest in the dog meant that I had to engage it and give it affection.

Two days into adopting the dog, I called the breeder.  I told her that I was having a hard time and that I had to return it.  She talked me into keeping it.

The cute puppy continued to disrupt my sleep, my son’s homeschooling schedule, my clean garden, my plans, and my inner peace.

Four days later, my husband admitted that we’d made a mistake.  We wanted the best for Briscoe (what we named him), but we did not want him in our lives.

Seven days later after bringing home, we decided that our quality of life had diminished.  We told our then six year old son that we were going to take the dog back to the breeder.  His lower lip quivered and he said no, but he did not cry. With a heart full of sorrow, we called the breeder.  I apologized profusely and told her that we’d made a mistake in bringing the puppy home.  The twelve hundred dollar pup went back to the home to where he was born.  The breeder told us that we’d probably be back for him. I didn’t argue with her.  She asked if we wanted a refund, but we said no, but to please give Briscoe to a loving family who could give him the home and the welcome that we could not.

I felt guilty going back on my word to the dog, but mostly, I felt free.  Free to be the person I knew I was.  Still, I knew that through my actions, I was teaching my son that he could walk away from problems that were too big.

But maybe I didn’t do that.  Maybe I taught him to listen to his gut feeling.  Maybe I taught him that sometimes you have to cut away the things that make you unhappy.

I’m praying that he learned that sometimes people make the wrong choices for the right reasons.  I’m hoping that he learned that sometimes we have to accept that we’ve let people down.  Still, we have to learn how to apologize to them, and to ourselves, too.  Hopefully he’ll know that we have to learn our lessons and move on, hopefully all the wiser.

 

Cyndia Rios-Myers

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