I must be a bad person.
There must be a part of me broken.
No matter how much I try, I just cannot fall in love with Poppy.
I guess the odds were stacked against me loving her from the get go. She arrived under very tumultuous circumstances.
The man who was selling her gave me some seriously bad vibes, and I took a long time to be convinced that we should take her with us. We had been told the puppy for sale was male, microchipped and vaccinated. Obviously, Poppy was female, she had no vet records whatsoever of vaccinations and was not chipped. These discrepancies did not stop the OH from falling head over heels in love with her at first sight. He pleaded with me for her to come home with us.
Soft touch that I am, I caved…
As soon as we left the farmhouse I demanded the OH pull over to the side of the road.
The argument we had was epic.
I had felt very manipulated into the sale and desperately begged him to turn the car around and return this dog. Something about the man and the place we had just left felt deeply wrong to me.
The OH dug his heels in. He was driving, we were in the middle of nowhere, and I had no option but to once again cave in.
Poppy came home with us… To a very frosty home!
A few days later our vet dropped the bombshell that Poppy had a fatal genetic heart condition that required expensive surgery. Devastated, we contacted the seller, who refused to take her back and, very soon, seemed to vanish from the face of the earth.
We were stuck. It seems that my feelings of foreboding had not been unfounded.
Poppy had her surgery and was almost immediately tearing around the house and garden as if nothing ever happened. She will now live a normal, healthy, long life.
The trouble is I simply cannot bond with her.
The OH continues to be totally smitten and cannot understand my lack of love for this puppy. I struggle to understand it myself.
I adore dogs. I am that odd woman who smiles and says, “Hi!”, to dogs on the street. I cannot stop myself approaching other dog parents to ask if I can pet their little bundle. I donate goods and money to dog charities.
And yet, I look at Poppy, and nothing happens to my heart.
I look at her and feel… nothing. I see a perfectly cute dog, but that is where my feelings end.
No wait, I tell a lie…
To be brutally honest, my most common feeling towards Poppy is annoyance.
She leaps on Lily, AKA The Love Of My Life, and bites her. She is systematically destroying my house and garden. She constantly demands to be brought outside to go to the toilet, only to then walk around at her leisure, drink water and neither wee nor poop. As if I have nothing else to do with my day than follow her around the garden! Left unsupervised, she tears through my well-tended flowerbeds and digs them up.
My days are spent chasing her away from chewing something she should not be chewing.
I know this is all part and parcel of puppyhood and it will eventually pass, but I fear if I don’t bond with her soon, it will never happen.
I love my Lily so much it is borderline obsessive. I cannot keep my hands from petting and ticking her. When I chat to her she turns those beautiful dark eyes up to me to pay attention to what I’m saying. Often at night I wake up to find her watching protectively over me and licking my hand. She snuggles into me, pressing her tiny little warm body into mine to fall asleep. When I sit on the sofa she jumps up beside me, puts her little paw on my leg and curls herself into me. On returning home from even a short absence she runs to me with complete joy and delight, heart racing, panting and and howling with pleasure at the sight of me.
She is incredibly easy to love. Impossible not to love.
I sit now with both dogs beside me and I wonder if I will ever, ever love Poppy? Or will she remain, in my eyes, an interloper in my house?
I feel that Lily is truly my little girl and Poppy is the unwelcome stepchild from a sordid affair the OH had behind my back. Will I ever be able to see her as my own?
As I said, I must be a bad person…