I’ll admit it, bringing Charles home for the first
time was daunting. I was the first
person to show interest in him and the first to foster him. I would be responsible for gathering
information about his personality and habits and report them back to the
I blindly fostered him and was excited for the
experience. To be honest, from the
moment I saw him online, I knew he would be mine forever. The only problem was convincing my boyfriend
he was a keeper and getting to know this precious gem.
The first night was horrible. I was told to put him in a crate because dogs
do not poop where they sleep and one of the promises I made to the shelter was
to keep him indoors at night. After an
hour of him whining and crying, I pulled the trigger and let him sleep
outside. This calmed him down and he was
able to sleep stress free on the patio couch.
The next morning, I immediately called the shelter and
told them that he had severe anxiety and did not want to be inside. Charles showed signs of not feeling safe and I
felt it was safe for everyone – the cat included – if he spent the first few
days outside until he became acclimated to his new environment.
Luckily, the shelter was understanding, and we proceeded with fostering. The first couple of days were touch and go. We were figuring out our relationship and he seemed to take direction from me quite well. I was surprised. One thing was for sure, he was somewhat trained. Hallelujah!
We shared the news about fostering Charles with our closest family and friends. We were excited to share our latest (almost) addition to our family (pending our decision at the end of fostering him). Unfortunately, sharing our news with one person turned out to be a mistake.
The meddling mother:
In conversation with his mother, my boyfriend shared with her that we had been keeping Charles outside due to his anxiety and our concern for Archibald (the cat). At that point in time, we did not know if Charles would do well with other animals and he would refuse to come inside. My poor baby was scared.
Fast forward to a few weeks later, she decided to express her opinions regarding our decision to yours truly. The wrong person to go to because we have yet to establish that close of a relationship.
She started off by telling me that I needed to bring my dog indoors because he needed to feel loved. She continued telling me that she did not believe in outdoor dogs, which is a thing. I am a country girl, and our dogs have been outdoors and lived a very happy life. Believe it or not, dogs can survive the elements.
She proceeded to admonish me that water and shade are required to keep a dog outdoors and accused me of abusing my dog. Stating that me keeping him outside all the time was abuse. As though I am that irresponsible to just let him outside without food/water or shelter. The kicker was that she thought she would remind me of the shelters rules about fostering, one of them being keeping pets inside at night.
I was polite in telling her to each their own and that we had differences of opinion, but Charles was fine. Being respectful to someone who is crossing the line in every which way and basing their accusations on assumptions is the hardest thing to do. My blood was boiling, but I felt it was important to discuss this issue with my boyfriend. After all, she is his mother – not mine.
At the end of the day Charles was happy and adjusting and we were working with the shelter. They were fully aware of Charles’ issues and agreed that we made the right decision for our dog’s mental health. He was found on the streets and did not trust anyone. He was showing signs of abuse and I did not want to force him to do something he was obviously not comfortable with.
After discussing the issue with my boyfriend, he decided that he would intervene and tell her that she crossed a line in coming to me with her beliefs. He called her and had a private conversation with her about her unwarranted and baseless accusations. She insisted it was her belief and she did nothing wrong. That was very frustrating to hear.
We are all entitled to our opinions, but we are not entitled to hurt people with those opinions. Especially when those opinions are slighting someone. It was frustrating to hear that she did not recognize that she crossed the line and hurt my feelings with false accusations. It is something I continue to deal with. I have retired myself to the idea that time will heal all, but it is hard when she is constantly meddling (in my opinion).
I was unsatisfied with the result of my boyfriend conversation, so I decided to take matters into my own hands, literally. I texted this grown woman and told her that her explanation was unacceptable. I expressed that I did not believe that her intentions were not to call her son and myself abusers. Her message had intent had meaning behind her false accusations. Most importantly, she hurt people’s feelings and has yet to apologize.
My boyfriend and I have had several conversations related to this issue. The fact of the matter is that time has not healed my wounds. I still get upset thinking about this. I will not ever understand how people can be so irresponsible and lack accountability.
I am a very opinionated person and am not afraid to speak my mind. However, I understand the impact my words can have on someone. Apologizing does not mean you have to change your position or opinion; it is acknowledging that you hurt a person’s feelings in your delivery of said opinion.
Where do we go from here?
I am not certain what the future holds, but I am currently working on getting past this. It has been a few months since the incident and maybe it is time to let go. On the other hand, this is not the only incident where I believe she has crossed the line. This is something that I must seriously consider as it relates to my future.
I honestly cannot imagine allowing this behavior to persist and or be plagued by her thoughtless actions for the rest of my life. What it comes down to is establishing boundaries and working with your partner to be firm on those boundaries. It is a work in progress, but my boyfriend and I are working at keeping a happy home and establishing rules that will keep the both of us.