October 27, 2017

Another heartbeat in the house

There is a dog in my life once again. She came with the name Isabella, but you can call her Izzy.

I have been without a dog of my own since Sierra passed away four years ago. I waited two years to try again, but the dog I found (Annie) was a definite mismatch and the adoption turned into a foster until we found a home where she could be happy. I waited another two years before trying again, mostly to figure out if there was anything I could do better. Sort of a pattern in my failed relationships.

I waited until after the April work/tax deadline before really looking, but wasn't officially considering it until I knew I wasn't getting a permit to hike the Wonderland Trail this year. Being gone for almost two weeks would not be good for the new pup. Izzy is also why I stopped considering a walk up permit to hike this year. Life isn't quite as flexible these days.

I started surfing Petfinder.com regularly. This website lists available pets in local, and not so local shelters. I had found previously that when you search in the Seattle area, the website mixes in lots of pups from all over the country, and you don't see that they are in Massachusetts until you read the fine print. After some time, I found that on the website you could go to direct links to the local shelters to see which dogs were actually in the area.

I was a bit better at reading the descriptions this time around. With Annie, I found that "Needs to be the only dog in the house" really meant "I will lunge and try to attack any dog I see." I wanted my next dog to be able to not only go many places with me, but to also play well with the other dogs in my life (hi Macy!). I wanted a dog I could hike and camp with, hang out at dog-friendly breweries, take on road trips - basically share in as much of my life as possible.

So I surfed the local shelters and didn't find any dogs that seemed like a good match. After coming up empty for a couple of weeks, I went back to the general search and there were lots of dogs in Texas waiting to be adopted. I had a friend adopt a dog from Texas a year or so ago,and I swore I would never adopt a dog I didn't have a chance to meet and interact with.

I was wrong.

I found Izzy's profile and she sounded pretty great.

One of Izzy's profile pictures
Meet your new adventure buddy! Isabella is a super sweet 2 year old girl looking for a loving forever family! She is a gentle, loving spirit and absolutely loves people. She deserves an amazing home where she will be treated like a princess! She is very social and loves meeting new people and gets along great with other dogs. Her ideal playmate would be of a larger size dog. She lives in a foster home with a 10 year old child and she is gentle with him. She would be great to take to the dog park or to go on long walks, hikes, or jogs! She rides well in the car and enjoys puppuccinos at Starbucks as well as belly rubs!  (video too)
I contacted the rescue organization and they were very helpful and forthcoming. Izzy had been dropped off at a Houston area pound right after having a litter of puppies. The previous owners kept the puppies, dumped the mom. There is an over-population of dogs in Texas and it sounds like there are many irresponsible owners. As such, I was told Texas pounds only keep dogs for seven days before euthanizing them. The rescue organization (K9Kare) rescued Izzy on day seven and took her to their ranch. The spayed her and got her otherwise healthy before offering her for adoption.

Along with the emails and phone calls, they were nice enough to send some videos so I could see Izzy interacting with other dogs. This one seem to show that she "played well with others", and of course made her look pretty cute in the process.

They also sent me some references for other people in Washington who had adopted through this organization. Apparently K9Kare tries to get as many pups out of Texas as possible due to the over-population/owner problem down there. All the people I spoke to had only good things to say about their experience.

After a few more phone calls, emails and paperwork exchanges, we had a flight reservation to fly her up. I figured that they would send Izzy to a local shelter that they partnered with, but actually I would be meeting her for the first time in baggage claim.

How that meeting went and our first five months together in the next post.

October 7, 2017

Maybe someday, maybe not

My ex-wife is engaged to be married again.

She sent me a message a while back to let me know. She didn't want me to find out about it through a mutual friend or on Facebook. We have not had much contact in the past few years, but she continues to be kind and thoughtful whenever a life event from either of us prompts a message.

Even seven-ish years down the road, the message raised a swell of sadness that had been building. It wasn't from any hope of us ever getting back together. Other than knowing she remains a caring person, I do not know much about her these days. No, the sad feeling was more a reminder of what is missing in my life, what has been gone for some time now.

I have not been in a relationship for a couple of years now. Recently I had this thing going on with someone I knew. Our friendship veered into some new territory. She did not want a relationship, and truth be told, I don't know that we would have made a very good couple, but there was some sort of spark that pushed its way through. It was ill-defined - casual but not superficial. I have never seen anyone casually before, nor have I ever had a friends-with-benefits sort of arrangement, but it was new and exciting.

Two days before my ex sent me the note about her engagement, I found out that the friend I was spending time with was now in a relationship. It was sort of a one-two punch, rejection present and past reminding me of how alone I felt, and it made me think again how that may never change.

Before you raise any arguments - yes, I know I am not actually alone. I have a wonderful family and more dear friends than would be expected of this awkward introvert. And I am thankful.

But it is not the same.

I want the belonging in one on one. I want to have one person I am hoping for when a text comes through. Someone to share moments, exciting and seemingly dull. Someone who I will make mistakes with, but who believes that although my heart is often awkward, it is always in the right place. I want a deeper connection that physical and emotional intimacy brings. And yes I want love.

But I don't know that I will ever find it again. For several years now, I have begun to acknowledge (if not accept) that I will not find love again. There is no guarantee that I would - no man behind the curtain pulling the strings or some guiding hand of fate.

I was listening to a podcast recently with an interview with Aimée Lutkin about her article (links below) where she had told her friends as much. There were the immediate objections that "but you're so pretty/funny/smart." "You'll find love when you stop looking/least expect it." "You're not trying hard enough." Her responses:

  • Pretty/funny/smart guarantee nothing, if maybe expanding your pool of applicants.
  • I have stopped looking for years. how much more can I not look?
  • Let me show you all the apps and all the advice I have already tried.

Believing this casual thing might work was probably born out of all this. There were no relationships on the horizon, and I needed to embrace any connection that made me feel more human. The resulting feelings of loss prove to me that I really miss those connections, and that something casual is not enough, a stop gap at best.

The woman on the podcast still hopes that she finds love, but that she is done wishing and waiting. It is a conscious choice to stop the feeling that her life is in a temporary state (without a partner) and that things won't truly get moving forward until this period ends. And if there is some magic spell that can be cast to make someone come to you when you least expect it, well her article may be just that.

I am not so strong to say that my life would be complete even if I never found love again, but a growing part of me wants to live my life as if it would be. To focus on what is important to my happiness and enrich connections to the people who are in my life. To find passion outside of romance. But I have not yet given up hope. I still look, if clumsily.

There is something in my life that has been taking up much of my time the past few months, which may make it easier or harder to meet someone, or it may indicate I am not ready yet.

Podcast link: Why Oh Why episode 17: Alone Forever
Article by Aimée Lutkin: When Can I Say I'll Be Alone Forever?