Spencer & Nina
I love my dogs. They are my babies and I give them the best life that I possibly can. But every now and then something happens that causes me to get this guilty feeling. With this guilty feeling comes a wondering. I wonder a little bit about the high quality of life that I give my dogs…If my dogs didn’t have such a great life could I instead be helping more of the many dogs that are desperately in need?
I wondered this just last week. Spencer, my little beagle, had a piece of bone lodged in his small intestine that needed to be removed. It was 2:30 in the morning when I gave my okay to the emergency vet over the phone. I hung up the phone and cried. I cried because my baby was hurting and going into surgery and I wasn’t there. During the long two hours that I waited to get the call that surgery was over and Spencer was okay, I wondered about the things that I could have done with the money for Spencer’s surgery. How many dogs could I have saved if instead of spending the money on this surgery I had donated the money to rescue, how many bags of food could I have provided to feed all those hungry dogs, how many days of boarding could I have bought for a dog who is on his last day?
I also occasionally get this same twinge of guilt when I drop the dogs off at Doggie Daycare or get them a dog walker because I don’t want them to be kenneled for too long or when I get the dogs a new and fun, but also unnecessary toy, or when I buy the expensive bag of food rather than the cheaper one. I wonder if my money could have been put to better use. Is it better to give two dogs a great life or would it be better to give more dogs a so-so life?
My boyfriend likes to tell me that sometimes life is more about quality than quantity. He started saying this to me when I decided to adopt Nina. When I adopted Nina I cried because I knew that with my current living condition I would have to stop fostering. I felt selfish and guilty because I had chosen to give another dog a quality life rather than continuing to foster a few from the immense quantity of homeless dogs out there. He reminded me that I could focus on giving these two dogs a high quality life or I could focus solely on the quantity of dogs that I might cycle through my door.
I know that I made the right decision when I adopted Nina, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling bad whenever I see the need. I feel bad when I receive the email plea for a foster home, I feel bad when I think of the quantity of dogs that have no one to give them a chance at life, not to mention a quality life.
I reconcile quality against quantity in my life with my dogs by always attempting to find balance. Right now I cannot foster a dog but I can search out other things to do in order to help and hopefully these other ways of helping increase the quantity of dogs that are being saved. At the end of the day I know that I am making the right decisions in my dogs’ quality of life and following through on the commitment that I made to Spencer and Nina. So I continue to give my two dogs the best life that I can and more love than two dogs could ever possibly take in while I do what I can do to help all those other dogs in need.
And someday, someday I will have a big fenced yard and I’ll then have my third dog. That third dog will be my foster dog. At that point I will know without a doubt that I have found my own personal balance between quality and quantity.