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I Already Made My Worst Parenting Fail of 2017

Photograph by Twenty20

My first parenting fail for 2017 started today. And this one will only come back to haunt me for, oh say, the rest of my life.

Turns out that the adorable dog we adopted, Boomer, the one that is now my kid’s emotional therapy support dog, the one that my kids said if we ever could not keep him they would “hate me for life,” has to find a new home. And before the comments start flooding in about what a shit I am, I promise this has nothing to do with me!

Boomer is amazing in every way. He's full grown and nine pounds. He has human eyes. Hypoallergenic. Cute AF. He still pees and poops all over the house but somehow I find it cute. I found a dog walker who is not only cheap, but doubles as a babysitter and my kids love her. My ex-husband loves Boomer and offers to take him when he can even though no dogs are allowed in his building.

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But we have a problem.

A big one.

And it has escalated to top levels.

Boomer has severe separation anxiety. I’m talking Prozac and Xanax and Thunder coat type of anxiety. When I'm gone, he not only howls and barks but he cries to the heavens. Apparently it goes on for hours while I'm at work. At first, the neighbors in the apartment only complained. I staved it off with promises of a dog trainer, citronella collar and lots of cupcakes. It worked for a while. I heard nothing. I wasn’t getting texts while at work or Facebook messages.

He told me the hard facts: Boomer might not do well with us.

But a little while ago things got worse. The texts started in again while I was at work from a no longer patient neighbor. I started to panic at work. I even left a little early here and there to rush home and rescue Boomer from himself.

Then it got even worse than that. My landlord called. She receive a certified letter from the neighbors. I got more threats and finally a call that it’s been sent to the powers that be—yeah those, the ones that come and drop fines on you and apparently take your dog away?!

Oh no. NO NO NO. This can’t happen to Boomer. No way. The trainer came again. I have been doing everything right except full-time doggie day care as it’s financially not feasible. He told me the hard facts: Boomer might not do well with us. Some dogs from shelters, at his age. might thrive in a home where someone is home all day or can take him to work. Perhaps a retired couple, a writer or someone who can bring a dog to work. I’m a teacher so that’s not possible either.

We're in trouble. Big trouble.

I talked to my kids about what’s going on. But only mildly. It’s not looking good. The last text I got from my neighbor was “I have handed this over to my landlord and you will be hearing from her.” It sounded really scary this time. And the truth is if Boomer is suffering when he’s not medicated, there's a problem. And just the fact that I'm medicating him daily and living on eggshells doesn't feel tenable for the next ten10 years. So I'm at a total loss.

I'll never forget as a kid when this happened to me. My mother brought home a dog. She lasted all of three days. Am I really going to let this happen? Am I turning into my mother?

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No. She "sent" the dog back because she pooped on my bed. She was completely incapable of handling a dog, or even loving one. I'm the opposite. I've made every attempt to do what we can to keep Boomer without being evicted or having animal patrol take our sweet pup.

My kids are still away with their dads and I haven't told them how grave the situation is. I don't want to ruin their January quite yet. And unless my neighbor moves, I'm not sure what options are left. So I might have to accept this is going to be the worst thing I ever did to my kids.

On that note, I'm now online looking at hamsters.

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