Midway through the summer I made a bold decision to rehome all three of our pets, two of which were originally my Dad’s.
It was at the point that we cancelled our week long anniversary trip to Cape Cod that I finally put my foot down and said, “This is not okay anymore.”
The major reason we chose to go vacation in Cape Cod was because we could make the drive with our dogs and wouldn’t have to board them. Or so we thought. Turns out that the family member who owns the house we were going to stay at did not grant permission for our dogs to join us. Boarding was going to cost upwards of $500. Even if I was working at the time, that’s not an expense I wanted to pay.
It wasn’t the first, nor was it the last time we felt as if we weren’t able to do certain things because we had three fur babies relying on us. My dad’s dog is approaching 11 years old and at the beginning stages of experiencing fecal incontinence. Meeting friends for dinner and staying out for drinks after meant opening the front door to a dark home and accidentally kicking a turd across the foyer. Five minutes after we got it all cleaned up, a guest walked through the front door. Praise God for perfect timing!
Dinner and drinks though? We couldn’t even spend an evening with friends without worrying about whether or not she was going to leave a smelly present for one of our Airbnb guests to find.
I don’t have children, yet I was living my life and making decisions as if I did. So I said no more. I didn’t just go out one day and willingly choose to adopt or purchase 3 pets. We were just fine with our one dog and only ended up with two more animals when things went downhill with my Dad, and his cat and dog were going to be abandoned. I had no idea the problems I was about to invite into my life when I loaded them into the SUV I rented and embarked on the 24 hour drive from Long Island back to SW Georgia.
I’ll spare you all the nitty gritty details, but this was no ordinary, uneventful adventure.
Throughout this entire year, I’ve been searching for a greater level of freedom, both inner and outer. When I moved to GA before I got married, we were responsible for caring for my mother-in-law. Just weeks after we got married we went from one pet to three.
I wanted to experience being a married couple and not having to take care of anyone else. While everyone was trying to rush us to have kids, I just wanted to be free with my husband. I was worn out and needed a break. I had no desire to bring kids into this world before we had the opportunity to enjoy life as a newly married couple with as little responsibility as possible.
So when I felt overwhelmed over the summer and made a list of all the responsibilities I wanted to cut out of my life, I added our pets to the list. I knew that this was something I needed to do in order to create space and add more freedom to my life.
After a year and a half of cleaning up feces and/or urine, sweeping multiple times a day, paying for boarding when we needed to travel, or saying no to travel when it was too much, and many other issues, I chose to begin the search for new homes. I was being proactive instead of reactive, searching before I needed to so that I wouldn’t have to be rushed if this choice ever became inevitable.
We still want to live abroad someday and don’t want to put ourselves in a position to not be able to say yes if the opportunity arises. At some point I also want to travel full time for an extended period of time. It’s hard to make decisions like this when you think about your commitment and responsibility for the life of a person or animal. I needed to release myself from that.
Because another major reason I decided to go ahead and find new homes for our pets is because I may want kids in the next few years. Back in the spring, I picked up my then 9 month old nephew/godson and brought him back to my home to stay with us for a week. I got a dose of what it’s like to take care of a baby and I can tell you right now, I have zero desire to care for a newborn and animals at the same time. That is a firm no for me.
After that week it became clear that our dog, Anya, and kids don’t mix, I wasn’t ready to be a mother, and I also knew that I would not willingly choose to get pregnant as long as we had animals in the house. Right now, my desire for freedom is greater than my desire to have kids. I don’t know if that will ever change, but I know that if I never got a break from being a full-time caregiver, it would most likely stay this way.
We have officially been pet free for almost a week now. This decision was about creating space, eliminating commitments and responsibilities, adding more freedom to our lives, and opening ourselves up to jump at certain opportunities without worrying about how it would affect those depending on us. It was a decision to gift our pets with owners that truly wanted them and would be more loving than I was. It was a hard decision that came with quite a few tears, a bit of guilt, and some disappointment from my Dad, that he hasn’t fully expressed. It was a decision that broke my animal loving heart.
But I boldly chose myself when I historically never have.
What bold decisions have you made lately? What are you doing to add a little more freedom to your life?
Until next time,