You wouldn't think getting a dog would bring up so many emotions. Well, one expects emotions such as excitement, some concern about what having a dog will entail, etc. I found something else, though, when I started seriously looking for a dog to adopt over the past week or two.
I'd been thinking about it for some time. I assumed I wanted a collie or a sheltie but kept thinking it wouldn't be fair to the dog when the summers get so hot here. (We've already had over 40 days where the high was over 100 degrees this summer and since it's only the beginning of August we can expect quite a few more. Dearly as I love collies and shelties I can't help but feel it would be selfish of me to have one here.) But...maybe. Did I want to find a breeder or rescue a dog from a shelter? There were financial, ethical and breed specific issues to consider.
I started looking. The only dog I found that I liked—and she is such a sweetheart!—is probably a spaniel pointer mix. (Maybe. Since she's in a shelter, no one knows for sure.) Great! Except...it threw me. I found all kinds of emotions welling up. When I stepped back, I realized that having collies is tied up in my mind/emotions with the situations I was in when I had them. My collies were my refuge then and there were reasons they were the only kind of dog my family would consider.
Not getting a collie meant challenging assumptions I'd had for so long—and didn't realize I had.
Not getting a collie also meant letting go of that part of my life and stepping into new possibilities. Which should have been a no brainer GOOD thing! But our minds seem to be wired to fear new possibilities—at least mine is. I had to consciously choose to remind myself that this could be great in terms of freeing my mind to see lots of things in a new way.
Not getting a collie felt like betraying the ones I'd once had—especially once I admitted to myself that they hadn't been perfect and/or that maybe I didn't want some of the challenges that go with caring for a collie.
I went 3 times to look at the dog. The first two times it was as if I was afraid to let myself get attached to her. And yet...in so many ways she's a perfect choice. There's something about her. She's a sweetheart. Even though she comes from a shelter, she was fostered for 6 months (since she was a puppy) so she's socialized to a large degree. She's trained to walk with the person holding her leash—rather than tugging them over (the way my collies sometimes used to do). She's not too large, she's not too small. She has the calmest temperament of any dog I've ever owned. And did I mention that I can take her for walks without her trying to pull me over?
But I wanted to be sure I'd truly fall in love with her—because every dog deserves to be loved. I waited to be sure I could welcome her with joy into my life.
And now I've finally put in the application. Assuming it gets approved, I may have her home by this time next week. (They will spay, microchip, test and vaccinate her before I get to take her home. That's AFTER they process my application and assuming they approve it.)
I didn't expect the emotional stuff all of this brought up. At the same time, I'm thrilled to be able to let go of leftover limiting beliefs I didn't know I had. I share this with all of you because knowing that things can bring up unexpected emotions when we least expect it makes it easier to cope—at least for me—when they do. And hey, you're my friends so I figure it's good to share my happiness with you, too! And I am happy that soon—I hope!— I'll be bringing home my new dog.
Sending blessings and safe and gentle ((((((hugs)))))),