Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Sorrowful Obsession

I have a need to make things better. Consequently, I often act impulsively to fix, or heal, and live to regret it. I "take on" a needy family, befriending them only to learn down the line that their problems are too complicated to ever resolve, but have unwittingly created their unhealthy dependence on me.

I once jumped out of the car to rescue a beaten prostitute, hauling her into my van not knowing her pimp was tailing us and more importantly, that she was mentally unstable, as she stripped to show us her weapons of nails and broken glass. Another time I jumped out of the car on a freezing winter day to give my coat to a coatless pre-teen on her way to school, only to scare her to death as she thought I was trying to kidnap her. (the fact that she spoke no English didn't help)

So, you are probably getting the picture. Dogs are another object of my sorry obsession. Every dog we have ever owned has been in need of rescuing because no one else was crazy enough to take on the load of problems. Poopie (we did not name him), a 11 year old beagle with serious mental problems. Jimmy, neglected from birth, the vet advised us to take him back. Muffin, who was sooo mentally slow, we ended up giving him to the crazy neighbors next door, which was a punishment no living thing deserved.

There are countless others, but the last and saddest attempt at being a savior involved my beloved dog, Captain Tanyon. Captain Tanyon was 9 months old and terrified of everything and everybody. He crawled in on his belly and quivered out of reach. Instead of choosing one of the six, healthy, socialized and happy puppies crawling all over me, I took home Tanyon. I was advised by two experts to return him. No matter what I did, they feared he would turn into a fearful/aggressive dog. I was convinced my love could conquer all. I did not conquer anything, but my heart. I loved this dog, as I have rarely loved anything other than my children and grandchildren. Tanyon, in turn, adored me. Other than Roy, he tolerated everyone else and took a immediate dislike to Ben. The whole relationship was so unhealthy that everyone, even an amateur psychologist could point out the potential disaster. Everyone, except me.

Long story - short...Tanyon turned on my grandson James, biting him twice. We returned Tanyon to the breeder and my heart has seemed empty every since. As Tanyon foamed at the mouth, in terror, sensing what was moments away, I felt my obsession had done more harm than good for all involved, especially this dog as he looked at me with pleading eyes to save him once more, only this time I couldn't. There is a lesson to be learned here, but I'm too bruised to learn it quite yet.