Powder and Alpha
Updated: Jan 8
It has been a rough several months. After losing Papa to cancer in May, everything in my world came to a stop – including my passion to write.
When I lived on my own, it never occurred to me to get any kind of pet because I knew it could die on me or more accurately, it could not survive with me. My life was focused on work that there was very little room left for anyone or anything. There was no way I could take care of another living being. Plants didn't even stand a chance because I'd forget to water them or I'd overwater them to compensate for the times I didn't.
When I moved back home, I walked Powder and Alpha because Papa did not have the energy to walk them. I was also feeding them on occasion when he was out. I did not feel responsible for them though because my job at that time took me away from the house for most of the day and besides, they were his dogs.
Why do I have to be the one to take care of these two mutts? Why do I have to deal with cleaning up after them and feeding them? I was exhausted. A two-hour stress relieving massage was what I needed. My time at the hospital and the arrangements after took its toll on me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
There was a cavernous gap that I could not wrap my brain around. The pain was bigger than anything I have ever felt in my entire life. I got derailed. The train that I was on got flipped into the air and had not landed yet. I missed Papa so much and now I had to deal with his dogs! Everything in me was yelling, "No! How could you leave me with this responsibility when I already told you a long time ago to give them away because you were getting too old to take care of them. Why should I be the one to get stuck with them!"
A gnarly situation
During the months that led up to Papa’s hospitalization, Powder and Alpha were left to the sidelines, most especially when we started staying in the hospital for long periods. It was no surprise then that the dogs suffered from heartworm and had ticks and fleas. I had them groomed and took them to the vet several times for shots. They had to be shaved because of the extent of the flea infestation. With all the hair gone, they looked like oversized lab rats. They looked so pitiful that I was torn between feeling sorry for them and getting impatient for all the work I had to do for them.
I knew I had reached my tipping point when after a Sunday service during prayer time I came forward and asked for prayer. I wonder what our pastor’s reaction would have been had he known that I was praying for God to take our dogs away! I also had begun ranting to friends and asked them to look for their forever homes. I was angry at Powder and Alpha and wanted to get rid of them asap but whenever I spoke to them to be kind to their new owners (which I did every feeding time), I felt a tinge of sadness.
I made up my mind to step up my search for adoptive parents by the time we came back from Israel in October. Going to the biblical sites, eating kosher food, and enjoying the good weather buoyed our spirits and refreshed our minds and bodies. Personally, I really had a good time and forgot all that was troubling me.
A new day
We were greeted by two excited slightly hairy dogs when we arrived from the airport. I was actually happy to see them looking so much better. Cleaning up after their mess suddenly did not bother me at all. When they got sick because of a bullfrog they ate, I felt concern and was glad to see them bounce back after giving them medication the vet prescribed. They’ve since eaten three pairs of slippers, a rubber ball, vegetables in our tiny garden, dug holes in it, and escaped from our house a few times, but I’ve learned to roll with the punches.
Surprisingly, stepping away from all the misery helped me understand that the dogs were not why I was angry. I had not yet recovered from the physical strain and emotional ordeal from the last several months and was worn out. With nothing left to give, taking on the responsibility of caring for two dogs was pushing me over the edge.
Today, Powder and Alpha are still messy, curious, happy cat chasers who love snacking on vegetables, ornamental plants and almost everything. I, on the other hand, have been refreshed and had a change of heart. I have adjusted to my new normal. These senior dogs still get on my nerves but I’ve accepted and loved them just as they are. I thank God too because they have spurred me on to write again. Life is looking better.