Ten months ago, I adopted my 4-year-old greyhound, Mac. She had some challenges right from the start. First, the adoption agency recommended getting a crate for her to make her feel more comfortable as this is the only “home” she had ever known.
Everything I read said the same thing, and that they might have accidents in the house if not in the crate. Well, she hated the crate- hated it! I tried so many hours to get her to like it, but she never did. She even started having accidents in her crate (which they said never happens).
Then, I found out she had a urinary tract infection (by observing blood in her urine). So just days after adopting her; I had to find a vet to treat her. Shortly after, I also learned she had hookworm (most retired greyhounds from Florida have it), AND she had bad separation anxiety when I left home.
To say the least, the first few weeks were rough. I went on my vet’s recommendation to ditch the crate, and she took to my whole house with no issues. For the separation anxiety, (which means when I left her alone, she did not settle and fretted the whole time), the vet said I might need to get another greyhound or cat to keep Mac company. Everything he recommended or suggested I was up for trying, but this was a lot. I thought, “add another animal to make this one happy? But they might have their own set of problems?!”
I put a lot of thought into it and decided against getting another pet. Ultimately, she did wonderfully in the house once I ditched the crate, she got over her UTI with meds, and she got on an aggressive hookworm treatment. She still had some issues as the months went on, but the separation anxiety got a lot better with time.
When I left home, I started playing spa music on my Amazon Alexa. It was to calm her, but it unintentionally became a command for her to chill, lay on her bed, and let me leave the house. It warms my heart to see this process each time I leave. She trusts that I’m coming home, so there is no need for her to be worried when I leave.
But, even so, I still had the vet’s words in the back of my head. “She might need a pet friend to keep her happy.” She has a greyhound friend across the street that she loves to play with, but I kept thinking I might need to adopt another grey for her. I finally came to the conclusion that I can’t handle two greys, on my own, in my current house.
Over the summer, my brother and his family moved to Orlando. They moved into a rental, which didn't allow pets, so they couldn’t take their 8-month-old cat with them. I decided to try her out at my house, remembering the vet said Mac might need a pet friend.
Over the six days I kept the cat, the animals did get along for the most part. But it usually ended with Mac upset because the cat was taunting her by getting under the bed, where the 60lb greyhound just could not fit. I had to send the cat back when I realized Mac and I were too stressed with the cat in our lives.
Even when I was packing up the cat's things, I was worried when I got back without the cat, Mac might be sad the cat was gone.
But when I got home, Mac greeted me with so much enthusiasm (which she always does, but this was even more) that I realized she was happy to have me all to herself again! It was in that moment, all my worries that I had to get another pet for Mac were gone.
In that moment I realized, I Am Enough. I Am Enough for Mac. She is satisfied with me. She is chill when I’m gone, because she knows I will be back.
As silly as I feel sometimes being so attached to my dog, she is helping me heal. I have been hurt by many humans, have trust issues, and feel “less than” in some ways. If I Am Enough for Mac, and I matter to her, maybe I Am Enough in the human world too.
I do have a lot of confidence, but I also have a lot of hurt. I previously structured my life so the hurt part of me was not exposed to others. No one but very trusted people saw that part of me. But now, with the publication of my book and podcast, all of me is exposed. And I’m thrilled, and terrified each step. Mac’s love is invaluable in this process. And I give thanks for her everyday.
Also, she is now hookworm free! It took five months on a special treatment, but she is clear now!
8/30/2019 06:56:56 am
I just ordered your book. If you don't mind, I highly recommend reading Jenny Lawson's book, Let's Pretend This Happened. Even if you aren't a fan of Bruce Springsteen's music, I also recommend his autobiography Born To Run. We adopted two cats from a hoarding situation and the little one has PTSD, I love him, tell him he is brave, worthy, smart, and please stop peeing 2 inches outside the litter box. He's seen the vet, many times. we set up an arlo camera to see who of our 7 cats at that time was the guilty party. sadly, we are down to 5 now. Thank you for sharing this.
8/30/2019 08:34:11 am
Thanks so much! I will get that in the mail today. Thanks for the recommendation, I'll check it out.
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