I remember when we got Charlie. He was playing in a enclosed area (my ex referred to as the “puppy corral”) at the SPCA one Sunday afternoon when we just went to “look”.
I wasn’t a dog person, I grew up around cats and despised the stinky slobbery mess of a dog. However, my ex grew up around dogs and loved them.
That day, when we just went to look, we ended up taking home the most adorable and stubborn beagle-mix puppy I would ever meet. My girlfriend was overjoyed. I hadn’t seen her happy like that in months. That night, after adopting Charlie, we finally connected with one another. For the first time in months.
He was our band-aid.
When Charlie became too much with his constant anxiety, barking, and high activity, we decided to get another dog. Unfortunately, we failed to really work with Charlie; he craved walks, needed the dog park, and we failed to provide these outlets of energy to him. Our inactive relationship and lifestyle leaked onto our animal.
We thought another dog would help. We’d bring a new addition into our family to become another band-aid.
Oh, this cycle.
When we saw Grant on Petfinder.com, we fell in love. He was about to be euthanized at a local pound but [fortunately] got a second chance at a Washington DC rescue so Charlie, my girlfriend, and I toted our way to the Nation’s Capital one beautiful Fall day to follow a dog we might or might not adopt.
I’ll always remember the moment I saw Grant. I wanted my reaction to be authentic as possible so I watched my girlfriend’s face and Charlie’s tail-wagging reaction as the rescue employee carried him down the narrow hall I couldn’t see. They were both ecstatic.
My girlfriend’s happiness and joy made my world. Unfortunately, this was a trend as I usually pushed my own joy to the side for hers.
When I finally turned and saw Grant, a skinny and fearful chestnut colored dachshund-mutt inch towards us, tears started to well in my eyes.
I knew he was ours.
I tell their adoption stories so you might understand the pain when I said a final goodbye to Charlie and the guilt I felt when my ex met me at the park last Saturday, where she gave me Grant.
She’ll have Charlie. I’ll have Grant.
We’ve split the dogs.
Dividing animals amongst the normal pain of a failed relationship is heart-sickening – for everyone involved.
Last night, I went to an Astrologer. As we made way through the session, we eventually got to the real stuff; our breakup and what lay ahead. She asked me to draw 7 cards from her spread Tarot deck. Turning each card over, she smiled or said “hmm” while I tried to decipher exactly what they meant.
In a calm tone, she started with the first two cards, which represented I was coming back alive but I also endured heartbreak, which required healing and renewal. I needed to purify myself of the ordeal and also needed to forgive her.
When my eyes fixated on the third card, that kind of lump-in-your-throat-stifled-ugly-cry moment occurred. What the card represented was the release of fear and unhappiness. Yes, very true. However, the picture of two brown dog figures separated by a road, under a beautiful full moon was all I could focus on.
Of all the 78 cards, I picked this one. And I would. When we broke up, I asked the universe to show me signs to make me realize I’d made the right decisions. Although some things I’ve discovered have been incredibly devastating, the signs have not failed me.
Whether you agree with Astrology, religion, spirituality, or none of them, signs will swirl around you. Of course, it’s all up to you whether to acknowledge, learn, or gain reassurance from them. And yes, sometimes the signs are painful and destructive to your mind but they’re there for good reason.
So, I’m calling this my Grant Adventure … starting a journey with a dog I never thought I wanted (remember, cat lover here), a ex I never thought I’d have, and the mentality I never knew I could own.
p.s. – Although my journey might seem strong and empowering, I’m still struggling. Every day. There are times when I see her picture or think about what she’s doing and it turns my stomach in knots or mashes my brain and heart into a cyclonic mess. Just sayin’ …