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What My Puppy Taught Me And Why I Promptly Rehomed Him

If you’re a dog lover and reading this title, or even just a regular human being and reading this title, you are probably rather unimpressed with my behaviour (so am I). So, I will begin with a disclaimer: I do not promote the buying and rehoming of puppies. Puppies don’t deserve to be marketed around, and buying a puppy is no light matter.

Yet, I did it. Last week, my boyfriend and I woke up and decided it was time. We had the puppy discussion a thousand times: Do we get one? Does it make sense? Are we ready? Each time we had the discussion, the cute pictures faded into reality and we knew it wasn’t the right time. However, when we saw one puppy’s face on Kijiji, we fell in love and we were on the road.

That is when we met Ben. Ben is a beautiful English Mastiff/Border Collie mix. We picked him up from a farm—an exchange that took less than ten minutes. Here is the cash, and there was our puppy. No questions asked, no inquiry made. This bothers me now. The exchange of life was so easy, so carefree.

We climbed into the car, puppy in arms, and that’s when our journey with Ben began. That is also when I really fell apart. All of a sudden, I began panicking. I haven’t had a panic attack in a really long time—it was a mental struggle that I thought I had “beat”. Yet, there I was, absolutely stripped of a year of progress with my mental health. It was too real—having this new life on my lap, coming home with me, for me to take care of for the next 10 years? 15 years? Ben capitalized on this moment by vomiting all over my new coat. It turns out, Ben gets carsick.

When we got home, we set everything up. We had a plan, my boyfriend and I. Ben would be crate trained, potty trained, and he would be the goodest boy in the world. That’s what the memes say, right? Wrong. Ben didn’t just cry in his crate, he screamed. He wailed. I didn’t sleep that first night. I made chamomile tea and tried to fight the burn of my long lost pal, anxiety.

Ben also didn’t just have accidents. He was a walking sprinkler. A walking, sprinkling, pooping, chewing, nipping MACHINE. I don’t really think food or water actually supplemented Ben—it literally just went through him. Instead, I think maybe Ben’s body thrived off of my carpet, my phone cords and anything else I held dear.

We knew really quickly that we had made a mistake. We weren’t ready—we were falling apart. Even though we smiled and laughed at Ben’s silly moments when we had company over, we both felt terrified at the sudden commitment we had in our lives when the house quieted again. We felt we were doing Ben a disservice because we couldn’t see past our daunting mistake long enough to really bond with him. It wasn’t just that, either. My boyfriend and I missed each other. We desperately missed nights on the couch, tea in hand, watching a silly movie. I missed listening to my boyfriend’s video game banter with his friends, like white noise while I slept. I missed getting lost at my dance studio, not worried about getting home quickly. I missed studying without one eye on Ben and one eye on the page.

I did less than great on my exams. I did less than great leaving the house, worrying about the dog the entire time. I did less than great with my mental health, which all of a sudden spiralled into a place that I didn’t realize still existed.

Things changed when I got Ben. I actually called my mom and dad and I asked them for help. I called my little sister, who is often the wiser, and we had long talks about mental health and dog crates. I cried to my boyfriend, and I talked to him about my mental health and its past, present and future. I was deeply honest with a lot of my friends and deeply honest with myself.

That is when we decided to make a change for Ben. This was the hardest decision I have ever made in my entire life—I can confidently say. We decided he deserved better than two floundering people pretending to be adults, just barely taking care of him the way he needed. We decided to rehome him to someone with a hole in their hearts that needed filling, where ours didn’t.

Right now, Ben is in a giant backyard with his new family, who kindly added us on Facebook. Their two elderly dogs just passed away and their other dog was really suffering the loss. Their family was suffering the loss. Ben is being played with every second by two little girls who fell in love with him instantly. This summer, Ben doesn’t know that he will be going to a trailer up north for some fishing, swimming and camping. His new owner welcomed us into their lives so we can always be a small part of his. I can’t wait to see more photos.

Ben taught me the world in a short time. I learned how much I truly, honestly appreciate everything the way it is. And that is okay. My little family with my boyfriend and my cat is truly perfect in this moment. I love my simple nights on the couch, sipping tea and watching movies. I love being able to leave freely and do as I please. I appreciate a good night’s sleep more than ever. I called my mom, my dad and my sister today—not to ask for help this time but just because I know I need them. And I should need them.

I also got in touch with myself again. No, not my mentally sound, organized self—but the self I’ve been neglecting a little. The self that still needs some work, with my panic attacks and fear of making mistakes. Today, I woke up, took a deep breath, and did all of the things that I missed when I had Ben. I plan to live every day to my idea of its absolute fullest because I owe him that. When I got Ben, I thought maybe it was the worst mistake I ever made. Now, I think Ben was exactly what I needed in that moment. And exactly what I had to let go.

So, this article is dedicated to a puppy out there living his best, goodest-boy life.

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Third year Criminology and Women's Studies student, avid Netflix enthusiast, food addict and competitive pole dancer.
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