Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rejectable me

Hi. My name is Brooke and I have a problem with rejection. 

Well...that's not entirely accurate. Rejection happens to everyone on a pretty regular basis. What I suppose would be a better description would be to say that I am sensitive to certain types of rejection. 

And, really...aren't we all?!?!

Last weekend was going to be our first 'relaxing' weekend in a while. We've been out of town or really busy for the last five or six weekends in a row. 

After a grueling week, we were all looking forward to just staying home. And then I woke up on Saturday morning, filled with energy (of the non-house cleaning variety) because we didn't have to be anywhere. 

Yeah, I know. I'm weird. ::shrugs::

So I proposed a round of errands. I needed to get some ideas on how to make the kids' Halloween Minecraft themed costumes so I wanted to hit the Halloween store that set up its tent in the mall parking lot. That led to going into the mall to look at pre-made Minecraft heads at Hot Topic. That lead to a detour to Game Stop to price a birthday present for Tucker, then it led to lunch, then to two shoe stores when we discovered my 9 year old man child wears a SIZE 9 MEN'S shoe.

From there we headed to U-Haul to pick up a couple sturdy boxes, then we drove by a pet adoption fair at Petsmart. I recently began volunteering with a local rescue organization because it turns out that I'm liking staying at home a little too much. So what better way to get out of the house than to volunteer for a great organization and get to work with innocent animals?

The kids have been asking for a pet pretty consistently for about two years. Robert and I agreed when we  had to find homes for our dogs in Germany that we wouldn't get more pets until we were finished moving at Uncle Sam's command. 

But - I want the kids to be aware of what they are getting into. My plan is to eventually let them help me when I volunteer so they can see what's involved, and more importantly, see what a big deal (for both the animal and our family) it is to adopt a pet. I hope working with these unwanted/abandoned animals gives my kids a more complete picture of the amazing love and responsibility that comes with adding a family member and the knowledge that pets aren't like Happy Meal toys - disposable when you get bored.

So as we walked along the cages of animals on a hot Saturday, I was a little surprised that the animals seemed a bit...apathetic to our presence. I love dogs in general. They usually respond well to me too. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was that fact that I had kids with me, maybe it was that tons of people had been through there and were still coming through there that the majority of the animals we saw simply could not be bothered to show any interest in us.

I mean, when multiple shelter dogs have absolutely no interest in you, it's a little difficult (especially when you have rejection sensitivity) not to take some of that personally.

One of the dogs caught my eye immediately. He reminded me of Snoopy. We made our way over the the crate, tried to pet him through the bars only to be completely ignored. We struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers, then talked to his foster dad. I asked if we could take the dog out for a quick walk and the foster dad got him out of the crate, snapped on a leash, and let us walk him around. 

Only....this poor dog had no interest in being anywhere near us. After a very short walk where the dog determinedly went in the opposite direction that we were going, wound himself around both another lady and her dog, looked positively bored any time any of us tried to interact with him, and barely tolerated it when I picked him up to carry him back, I thought that maybe we should just move on to another dog. We got back to his crate. The dog, whom we were told hated, hated, hated to be crated, balked for about five seconds at going back into the crate. You could see him weighting the decision. Out of the crate but with us, or in the crate without us. Into the crate he went. Voluntarily. "Huh!" said his foster dad. "I've never seen him do that before."


So we just walked around and sort of looked for a dog that looked like it might be interested in us. When that didn't happen, the kids approached some smaller dogs in crates set on top of larger dog crates. I should mention that Robert is the least excited of all of us about the prospect of getting a new family member. The smaller dogs allowed the kids to stick their fingers in the crates and pet them, but otherwise ignored us. A small, white dog named Pirate caught Robert's attention. Pirate is a small, older dog with only one eye. Pirate refused to make any kind of eye contact or to sniff any of our hands/fingers as a greeting. Pirate did, however. lean just enough so that when you tried to pet him through the bars, your fingers could just graze him. It was so pathetic, it was already funny. Not even the homeless animals were interested in us. That's just sad.

The next day, I had a lunch planned with a friend I used to work with before we left North Carolina. She had contacted me about a month ago and asked if I would be free for lunch on Sunday and/or dinner on Tuesday.  I was really excited. When Robert and I moved away, many of my friends said they would come and visit us where ever we went. With a very few exceptions (which mean the world to me) that didn't happen. Then we got orders to move back to NC about two hours from where I used to live and work. I was hopeful that more people would come and visit us there. Two hours to drive versus 12 or more? Way better! Yet....that's not how it's worked out. 

I really do understand that everyone is busy. But when she messaged and cancelled on me for Sunday, I was really disappointed. I had been looking forward to this more than even I realized. That's okay, I told myself, we still have Tuesday. Only, apparently we didn't, because at 5 pm I finally messaged her and told her I was just going to stay home since I hadn't heard from her. Still haven't heard from her, either. 

I feel: 

I know these feelings are an emotional reaction, and soon the emotions will settle down and I'll see it more logically. I am a firm believer in the whole 'just not that into you' philosophy. And truth be told, I know deep down that I'm better off not chasing friendships that aren't mutual. 

It still stings, though. That will all pass. Except for being rejected by shelter animals. That's a toughie. 


Amy Marie Schaefer said...

The shelter puppy apathy was just the Universe's way of telling all of you that YOUR dog wasn't there! I have zero doubt that the one who belongs to you is waiting for you to find him/her!

Brooke said...

You know, that's a much better way to look at it. Thank you, Amy!