When you try your best
Things have been quiet around here, and while I've wanted to write for weeks and weeks, life has an interesting way of not caring about your expectations. I debated about sharing this on the blog, but writing about it is cathartic for me.
I saw Ander on a local shelter's website in late January, and knew I had to see him. I grew up with dogs, and always knew I wanted one, but there were always reasons I couldn't adopt a pup: I was in school, didn't have a full time job, wasn't sure about staying in my house long term, etc. Lately my life seemed to be settling down, and it wouldn't be impossible to add a pup into the mix. I visited the shelter several times before adopting Ander, and everything fell into place. He was sweet and cuddly and curious and playful. He wasn't loud and he wasn't overwhelmingly energetic. He was, and still is, perfect. I picked him up on January 30th and was in love with him from the get-go.
By the end of the first week I knew I knew Ander wasn't meant to stay with me. Living alone and having a puppy - a threeish month old puppy - made me realize how much time, space, energy, and attention he needed. I work full-time, and could come home at lunch, but Ander was always stressed out with overwhelming energy in the morning and for hours in the evenings because he didn't get any social stimulation or play during the day. Since he hadn't had all of his vaccines (which puppies don't finish until four months), I couldn't wear him out at the dog park or take him for long walks. He couldn't be around dogs who weren't 100% up to date on their vaccinations. Since I don't have a fenced in backyard, he only got to explore a small section of my front yard on a leash.
After going back and forth with several adoption counselors at the shelter, we decided it was best for Ander and me to give him a chance to find a better home - one where he would have another dog to play with or a parent who would be home more than I was, or where he would have a fenced backyard to play in. I think I'll always feel overwhelmingly guilty about giving him back, even though I know I did the right thing. The hardest thing I've ever done was hand him over to one of the shelter workers, knowing that I wouldn't come back for him.
It's been a week since I gave Ander back, and I've been in constant contact with the shelter about how he's doing and if anyone has come to see him. It sucks, and I've cried more in the past two weeks than I have in years, but time has helped, and he'll be in a good home soon. I hate not being able to be a part of choosing his new owners, which is why I can't go back to see him or ask many specifics. Unfortunately there's not really a resolution to this story yet, but I know a good ending will come out of it for him. I still miss my sweet bubs.