to everything, an unavoidable and frustrating challenge

a few months ago, jenn and i decided to get a second dog to keep our first dog, stella, company. we decided we wanted a dog of a similar age, size, and temperament so that they would be more likely to get along well and play together when they are at home in the yard. we searched a lot and found a dog named laika that seemed like a good fit. we brought stella to meet laika and they got along great. we had a second meeting that also went well, so we took laika home.

then everything went to shit.

laika had never been walked off-leash so we had some significant challenges training her on that. then we found she was not socialized enough with groups of dogs and became aggressive in those situations. then we found that stella is actually very possessive of her home and she wound up attacking laika many times. then laika attacked one of our chickens. then, only two weeks after we got her, laika ruptured her ACL.

so here we are, 6 weeks into her recovery from the knee injury. it seems to be going well so far. the other issues have mostly been sorted out too — laika is now better about off leash walks, meeting groups of dogs, and her and stella rarely get on each others nerves. so it’s been a real pain in the ass but it’s getting better and will eventually be fine.

however, i can’t help but wonder sometimes how much easier things would have been if we picked one of the other dogs we had looked at. it’s so easy to think the grass looks greener on the other side. so i’m trying to remind myself when i do that, that stella would have been just as much of a bitch to any other dog, and if the other dog was not as easygoing as laika, we could have ended up with them actually hurting each other during their scraps instead of just posturing. that would have been really bad. or if we got a puppy, which maybe stella would have been less pushy and dominant with, we’d then be dealing with all the other bullshit that goes along with puppies: house training them, teaching them not to chew everything, starting all their basic obedience from scratch. that would be a huge and frustrating commitment too.

so i use this to remind myself that even though i’m annoyed with how things have gone with laika so far, it wouldn’t have necessarily been any better with any other dog. it may have been slightly better or worse, but it would most likely have been a comparably challenging experience. and i think that view applies to most things in life. everything presents its own unique challenges so it’s impossible to say — even with hindsight — that choosing one house, or partner, or career, or anything else, over any other options would have been any better. as long as i make careful decisions based on the best information i have available at the time, i can’t beat myself up over those decision when things don’t go perfectly. because that’s just life.

look at me, being so zen and buddha-like. how pretentious.

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