Early Monday morning I sat on Karen Thompson’s porch in Kent, Virginia and watched as my new puppy, Fate, ran in circles around the table, then down the stairs and around the carport, then back up the stairs and around the table again. After doing this a few times she plunked down next to me and chewed a rawhide.
This is it, I said to her. This is what we’re going to do in my studio. You’ll do your thing, chew on a toy or sleep, and I’ll do my work.
I could hardly believe this was my dog. I never imagined I’d have such a puppy. I was always drawn to the animal no one else wanted. The runt of the litter, the baby squirrel that fell out of the nest, or the dying cat that no one else could take care of. But here was this well bred, smart, healthy, really great looking puppy. Seeing her made me realize that I didn’t think I was worthy of having such a dog. The old ghosts tried to convince me that I didn’t deserve her that I wouldn’t be able train her properly. That I mess up this dog who started out with so much potential. For me, this was nothing like getting an older dog, with an unknown history, that I could use as an excuse for my not being able to train her well. This was the kind of responsibility I had avoided my whole life.
I was feeling this so much that when we first got to Karen’s the day before, I all but ignored Fate. Jon cuddled her and when she came to me I pretended she wasn’t there. So the next morning Jon suggested I go out by myself and spend some time with her. And that’s when I realized how scared I’d been and that I’d closed myself up to Fate. I had put a big barrier around me so all that cuteness couldn’t get in. But when we sat on the porch I felt the barrier dissolving and my heart getting soft.
This is an old, deep issue with me. One of the reason’s I never had children. I thought I was done with it. I had moved past it with Chloe. Now I found that it was back, but it didn’t have the same grip on me. Because of the work I had done with Chloe, this was easier and quicker. Once I could see what was happening, I was able to do what I needed to do. Which was trust myself and believe that I was capable and worthy of taking care of this puppy and allowing her to become the great dog she has the potential to be. And allow myself to love her.
And of course, I have help. Really great help in Jon. And I trust him. More than I’ve ever trusted anyone in my life. Enough so that I know, if we were both younger, I would want to have a child with him. And that’s about love and trust.
So now I’m feeling really good about Fate. And I’m loving and enjoying her. And I’m not scared anymore. I know between us, Jon and I can do a pretty good job raising a puppy. And I trust that any mistakes we make will not be the kind that do any truly harmful damage to her. And that we can give this great puppy the loving home she deserves.