Self Care


I don’t want to write this post.

But I have to as I am committed to an authentic dialog with myself and you all as well…

Living with my beloved dog has become an untenable situation for me.

She is a rescue dog and came to me 4 years ago. She clearly had been yanked from her newborn puppies and over time I witnessed her terrified of moving or rustling sheets, brooms, dark men with hats. I trust you can put the pieces together; bad man wielding broom and scaring the shit out of a wee creature with linens as another weapon..

Living with her has taught me so very much. She has loved me purely, heroically, consistently and tirelessly. When I cry she lays on my chest and licks the tears away until I am soothed. Only then does she leave. Her love of me and the fact she feels my state of being so acutely takes a toll on her. She has become progressively more protective and this has manifested into aggression; incessant barking when we are approached by other people and she now has bitten too many.

I have had extraordinary support from the best dog trainer alive and rescue dog organizations and angelic friends stepping in to help me/her achieve serenity. Livvy has been operated on to ease her dislocating rear leg pain, given a full blood work up to see if there were underlying causes for her aggression.

I have had to recognize my own part in the inability to perform and unknowing exclusion of proper training.

Self care is essentially about choosing LIFE.

And choosing it again..over and over.

In the way that says: “I value the gift I have been given of life and I will vote for my self and choose to protect this precious life-force in me.

There are no rescue organizations able to accept an aggressive dog such as Livvy. She is decidedly bonded to me. Her protective and fearful barking has limited my connections with other people so that my life is getting dangerously narrow. Stress is an absolute killer for MS and my nervous system can not afford the constant pull between wanting connection with people, compassion for Livvy, worrying about the disturbance we cause (we were kicked out of a mall the other day for barking).

I see my only option is to put her down and I am so very heartbroken….

Searingly sad and grateful for the chance to love deeper than I have ever loved. Grateful for the feeling of being protected as this is new for me. Blessed to have Livvy as my best teacher; she with the shiningly present eyes and boundless adoration for my very flawed self.


9 Responses to “Self Care”

  1. Carole Zoom on September 18th, 2014

    Sorry to hear Cathy. And I hope you’ll find more peace with this decision. Sending love.

  2. Diane McGregor on September 18th, 2014

    I cried as I read this. Such an impossible situation. I can’t even imagine how you can reconcile this, even as you already have. Cathy, can you keep her as your at-home protector? What will your life be like if you had all that adoration and love awaiting you at home every day? I think love is a balm for stress, and dogs have that unconditional love. It sounds like the problem comes up when you go out with her and want to do things, socialize, etc. Can you leave her at home and venture out on your own? For example, go to the mall by yourself…. Have you considered this possibility?

  3. willow1945 on September 18th, 2014

    I’m so sorry that you have to make such a heartbreaking decision, Cathy.

  4. Cathy on September 18th, 2014

    Dear Diane,
    I think it is quite impossible for an able-bodied person to understand what it takes for me with one leg and hand available to do just deceivingly simple things like put a muzzle on, harness, treat-in-the-moment for training purposes, all while being hyper-vigilant etc. Livvy deserves the very best life can give her and keeping her just to assuage my own needs and desires isn’t fair. A harder decision there never was… xx

  5. Cathy on September 18th, 2014

    here is a comment to this post sent to me personally from an MD which meant a great deal to me and wanted to share:

    Hello, thank u for email , and just thinking also of your blog about Livvy. And you have written much of yourself and your distress about not managing for her. But you have given her a dear life. She has been able to use all her protective fierce instincts and she has loved that. I wonder if she is now so stressed and past trauma caught up that actually it is kind to let her go? I mean not just that her barking and aggression makes life harder for you but also the hypervigilance she is experiencing is very hard on her little nervous system too.

  6. Rhonda on September 19th, 2014

    My heart was heavy when I read your blog. I loved the pictures of you and Livvy and the stories you told of the close bond you share. I know how hard your decision must of been. In the end I think you chose the best decision for the two of you…xxx

  7. Alexandra Eldridge on September 19th, 2014

    You have given Livvy a beautiful, loving life. I have seen how very hard and stressful the situation with Livvy has become. I send love to you both in this difficult decision. Let me know if I can help in anyway. Much love, A

  8. Adele on September 20th, 2014

    Oh Cathy
    My heart breaks

  9. Carol on November 10th, 2014

    belated tear drips dear.

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