Yesterday I made an impulsive decision, which is, honestly, something I’m usually pretty good at. I’m a decisive and sure person. So when I said, “I think I kind of want this dog,” and my friends said, “Really?!” I decisively said, “Sure.”
I bought a leash, a collar, and dog food. I warned the cat (who spent the night elsewhere) and I scored us a ride. My friend Jenn drove me and our friend Patrice to the safe house where the dog in question (pictured above and named Pulgita – it means “little flea”) has lived for over a year now since she walked in one day a determined young pup and refused to leave or stay away. The thing is, the safe house needs another dog like it needs a hole in the roof, but the intern at the time fell in love with stubborn little Pulgita so they treated her for her fleas and let her stay.
Much like I let her stay at my apartment last night.
I’ve been talking about getting a dog for a long time. When I graduated college nearly three years ago my five year plan was as follows: get a dog, get a car, get a husband. The plan has since changed a bit (self publish a book, learn to cook, go a day without yelling at my first graders), but the desire for a dog to love has never left me. So yesterday when I was at the safe house looking into Pulgita’s little eyes, the animal love in me took over. I thought, I want a dog, the safe house doesn’t – win-win.
What I did not consider was that Pulgita would be coming from a big house with a big yard and no stairs to a second floor apartment with not as much as a patio. What I did not consider is that Pulgita might actually be terrified of stairs and refuse to go up or down them. (Spoiler alert: she is, and she does.)
So after a very emotional night I tearfully decided it’s probably best for Pulgita to go back to the safe house. I am confident that with a little time and training Pulgita could learn to fly up and down those stairs like a pro. I am also confident that 3 days a week I am at school for almost 10 hours, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for training.
If I lived in a house, done deal. Pulgita would have a new address. If I lived in a first floor apartment with a patio – boom, she’d be home. But I don’t. I live in a little one bedroom second floor apartment that I love and I feel perfectly represents this time in my life. And I’m learning/remembering that even in these instant gratification times we’re living in I don’t have to cram all of my life into my 20s.
Yes, I want to be a dog-mom one day. But in the same way that it’s not time for me to be a grandma yet, even though one day I’d like to be one of those, too, it’s not time for me to be a dog-mom yet. For everything there is a season.
And in the wake of this impulsive decision I am doing like Jesus and Glennon have taught me and I am having grace for myself. Which is not something I’m used to. On more than one occasion as a child I actually grounded myself. And my first instinct was to berate myself for making such a stupid decision as test-driving a dog.
But it turns out giving grace to yourself is a lot easier when you’re also getting grace from others.
My Jesus reminded me I’m never really alone, that changing my mind is okay, and that seeking wise council is always a good idea. My friends reminded me that Pulgita could always go back to the safe house and that everyone understood my animal-loving heart and my good intentions. After all, you never know until you try.
So for a while (less than 24 hours) I had a dog and in that time I learned some things.
1. I really love my cat. Knowing she was scared to come into the apartment (and understandably so) broke my little cat lady heart.
2. There is a time for impulsiveness, but never without wisdom.
3. If you’re ever thinking about taking someone else’s dog off their hands, make sure you say it’s a trial basis. Sometimes things just don’t work out and some situations are definitely better for animals than others. Also, when you give her back it’s not totally unexpected.
4. For everything there is a season. My living alone, cozy one bedroom apartment, cat lady season is, much like winter in the United States, still going strong.
5. With grace and each other, we can get through anything.