Failed Intentions

This has been a hard week. I wasn’t going to talk about this. It’s embarrassing, or rather, I feel ashamed. But we wound up adopting a dog last weekend and then returning him to the rescue three days later. 

I’ll just say that it didn’t work out. I don’t want to get into every reason, but we are not looking for another one. That I can say. I won’t lie and say I’m not disappointed. I am. I wanted an ESA (emotional support animal) dog. One I could enroll in an eighteen-week training class who’d come out a dog I could take everywhere I went. But this is just not feasible for me, for us, or for the dog we picked. 

My last dog died almost three years ago. She was a little velcro dog that only liked me. That was a bit of a problem. She didn’t care for Hannah most of the time and growled at her when she got close to me. She growled and shook whenever anyone came over to the house. She never showed her teeth or anything like that, she was just petrified of people. Not other dogs. Just people.

She’d come from a hoarding house with fifty other dogs and had two litters before she was a year old. We rescued her when she was just about a year old. She was super sweet and took to me right away. But she was really a one-person dog. She also hated car rides and tried to get under my feet while I drove. Not safe. I’d belt her into the passenger seat and she’d shiver like you wouldn’t believe. I’d sing to her, but that probably made it worse.

When she was nine years old, we’d moved to Joshua Tree, and four months later, I let her pee off her leash just about twenty-five feet away from me when a couple of coyotes snatched her away. There was a car between us in the driveway and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I’ve blamed myself ever since, since it was definitely and completely my fault for allowing her to be off her leash. So, please don’t send me hate mail. I already know.

Coyotes don’t care if a small dog is on a leash or not. If they are hungry, they will even take a small animal out of your arms, but that doesn’t negate the fact that chances are, she wouldn’t have been eaten if she was on the leash and I was right next to her. I lied to this rescue recently and said she had died of heart failure because I was so ashamed of myself for being such a careless parent and honestly scared. I don’t usually lie about anything, and I felt flushed with heat all over my body having said it. I didn’t think I’d be allowed to adopt any animal again. 

Ever since I also thought I didn’t deserve another dog, and if I ever got one, I’d have to get one as large as a coyote so they wouldn’t try to fuck with them. So, we adopted one that was at least forty pounds. But things didn’t work for a variety of reasons.  He’s gone back to the ranch from which he came. And he was actually very happy to go back. He played with his dog friends and ran around with a wagging tail. He was excited to see the rescue owner again and he didn’t seem upset or anything. She assured me that he was not traumatized in the least. So, I didn’t feel so bad about him as I did that I’d failed in all the intentions I had for him. But the bottom line is that I have to live life without a dog, at least for now, and that makes me very sad. 

So yeah, it’s been a hard week.

Before the dog came, I was able to finish the two last abstract desert aerial paintings, so here those are. This has nothing to do with the rest of this post, but I’m including these just so it’s not such a total bummer.

West of Sunset, 2022. Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches.
Willow Meets Quail, 2022. Oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches.

And here’s a sketch that will be going into my drawing installation for the This Land show in the fall:

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