Photo Credit: Tara Fisher 2016
Bella stared at me with her big brown eyes as she anticipated her next move. She lunged toward the back of my head grabbing my hair. I covered my eyes hoping she would calm down or go away. Seconds later, she attacked the couch pillows making them her next victim.
My first thought, this dog is evil.
My second thought, did we make the right choice?
My final thought, can I handle this lifestyle?
My husband and I adopted Bella in 2013. As a little girl, I loved the movie “Milo and Otis.” I only wanted a pug in my life. I watched pug videos, learned about pug health issues and researched pug training tips. We were prepared for this new addition in our lives.
There was one big problem to this equation, I never owned a dog. My husband grew up with a farm of different animals, but I only understood cats. Cats were independent and clean. Dogs were dirty and smelly.
The day Bella entered our home; my husband had to work all day. I was left alone with Bella. Once the foster parent drove away, Bella immediately took control. She pooped upstairs, peed on the bed, and attacked the furniture. She earned her nickname Gremlin by the end of the day. When my husband came home from work, he found me locked in my room hiding from Bella. This little pug beagle mix had me terrified.
I cried for days about our decision to adopt Bella. I had no connection to her, and I didn’t want to understand her. My husband told me I had to learn how to be patient with her, but it was hard when she was interrupting “The Walking Dead.”
The days passed and I was overwhelmed, irritated and angry at Bella. It was her fault that my routine was different. It was her fault if I had to get out of bed early. I began to wonder if postpartum depression happened to people who adopted dogs. I worried if I was experiencing these symptoms with Bella, would this happen if I had children? I decided to research post dog depression, but the technical term is Post Puppy Depression (PPD). It turns out that there are millions of people who adopt dogs who are not aware of PPD. After learning that I was not alone, I realized I needed to step back and try to understand this little Gremlin.
About a month later, my husband and I took Bella to see the in-laws. Bella was having a wonderful time playing with the other dogs. As she was chasing another dog, she fell into the pool. I immediately went into panic mood screaming for my husband. He didn’t hear me so I started coaching Bella how to swim. She naturally found the stairs and I pulled her out. My heart was racing, and I picked up that little Gremlin and hugged her for a long time.
It’s hard to imagine my life without Bella. She puts a smile on my face every day. She is my other half and I consider her my child. We adopted our second pug, Sookie, last year. I didn’t experience any PPD with Sookie. I knew what to expect the second time around, and I was open to learning how Sookie would be different from Bella.
My experience with PPD has not scared me away from having children. I know children are different from dogs, but at least I know that trust and patience takes time.
Copyright 2016 Tara Fisher