We are told that decisions can be right or wrong. We fixate on making the correct decisions in our lives and in regards to the well-being and training of our dogs. We analyze, make lists of pros versus cons, fret over the consequences at stake. After the decision is made, we idolize the alternative choice, did we choose correctly? Could we have done better? Would our lives and our dogs lives have been happier if we had chose differently?
Decisions are pathways, you turn right or left and find yourself on a new road. A new adventure. Taking one direction will present different challenges than taking the other, but both will have difficulties. There is no such thing as a right or wrong decision, because at the time of the choice, it is impossible to know what lays ahead. A decision is a decision, how you interpret the consequences is what determines if it’s right or wrong.
I recently chose to place two of my dogs in new homes, both for very different reasons. One was difficult throughout the decision making process, the other easy. Mighty Mouse has been retired from work since last season, she was reckless to her aging body and I was concerned that she would end up crippled in her final years. The decision to retire her was easy, she’s not a dog that needed constant work to be happy, as long as she had a couch to lay on at the end of the day. Eventually though, being at work wasn’t enjoyable to her anymore. I adapted our schedule the best I could; she would join me for lunch, I’d throw chuck it for her on a regular basis and would always make sure there was room on the couch next to me at night. I did my best to ensure she was happy, and she was that. Then I learned of a husband and wife in Minnesota who had recently lost their beloved greyhound. They were on the search for a whippet, a dog to be spoiled, pampered and who wouldn’t have to share the couch with any other dogs. I hadn’t planned on rehoming Mighty Mouse, she was to stay with me forever. That was until I saw a different path for her and the decision was easy.
If Mighty Mouse had stayed with me until retirement, that would have been a good decision. She was not unhappy here, I would have continued to adapt our schedules until all of the unhappy parts were gone. The choice was between two different paths, neither right or wrong, just different. Both would have been the correct decision. I feel good about the decision I made, I believe I made it with Mighty’s best interest at heart and I know from the updates that I receive that she is truly happy with the path I chose for her.
The second dog was Mega, my young malinois. The decision to rehome her was and still is difficult. I’ve known for sometime that she was not a good fit for this lifestyle. Too many other dogs pulling my attention and time away from her and it showed in our training and our relationship.
That happens. This lifestyle is not for everyone or every-dog. It is difficult to live with a large group of dogs, it is difficult to maintain the same relationship and connection with many dogs as you would if you only had a few. It is difficult, as well, to co-exist peacefully, or if that doesn’t work, at least be content in a life with limited free-time. Mega was not the dog to thrive on this path, this decision I made for her to live here.
It took me a while to understand that. That’s the beauty of decisions. Ultimately, a pathway will lead to another pathway, and another. It was not a wrong decision to add Mega to my house, I had no clue what the adventure would be like when I chose to fly her here. But it did lead me to a different path, to go right or left. To continue to push forward, forging our relationship and lifestyle to fit as well as I could or to go another direction and find a pathway that would give her the attention and one-on-one time that she craved.
There is no point in me dwelling on whether these decisions were right or wrong. Life moves forward, always. The decisions I’ve made for all of my dogs, no matter how major or minor, will shape our futures. I write this with another life-changing decision looming overhead. Daphne, my elderly forever-foster, is coming to a new pathway, one completely unknown with only hope and faith shining the way. I know the pathway that she must take, I just hope that I’ll be ready for her to take it when the time comes.