Impasse (reblogged)

I’m going through this site again and reorganizing old content. While revisiting some older posts, I decided to take a few of them down and rework them in light of how things turned out and the lessons I’ve learned since then.

In 2013, I really thought Bangsiri might be close to the end of her life. Part of the reason I’d left the workforce and gone back to school a year earlier was to spend that time with her. But I also thought getting another degree might advance my career.

And maybe it would have, if I’d managed to hold onto an opportunity that presented itself while I was midway through the program. It was a great chance, but I’d invested so much in the degree program and still had another year to go. The only way to fulfill both commitments was to delegate furbaby care.

I looked into “pet-sitting” services, with no luck. There was no one reliable who could come to my place every day and give Bangsiri her medicine twice a day. For months I tried to find a part-time caregiver or pet sitter—live-out, live-in, live anywhere. I got desperate enough to send her to someone else’s home for pet sitting, or to a dog hotel, if that was the only way she could get her medication on a regular schedule. I thought about moving closer to work, but getting a place on short notice wasn’t as easy as I’d imagined.

I also thought about giving notice at work two weeks before the semester started, but I couldn’t go through with it.

Instead, one Thursday, I set up a fenced-in area in my office with about six hundred pee pads on top of a plastic picnic mat on the floor. The next day I packed Bangsiri in a black carrier that looked like a backpack, and I walked her right past the security guards.

Bangsiri barked at one of my co-workers that morning—I heard someone laugh, but no one said anything. All morning, she was nervous. At lunch, I took her to a grassy area to stretch her legs but her breathing kept getting faster and faster. I hid her in the carrier when I went first to the bank, then to the post office to pay my tuition (misinformation on the school’s website sent me in circles), and I could feel her hyperventilating in the bag. When we got back to the office, her breathing didn’t slow down.

I took her to the hospital and the vets found fluid in her lungs; she was treated and got better, but her vet thought stress must have caused the problem.

That Monday she came to work with me again, but her presence was an ill-kept secret. I wore the carrier on my stomach so I could carry my books and Bangsiri’s supplies on my back—this was really embarrassing because it made me look pregnant.

Then the team leader came in to talk to me, and Bangsiri barked at him. He was very nice about it, but dogs weren’t allowed in the office. He said the sooner I could take her away, the better.

If Bangsiri had been younger and healthier, I probably would have looked to daycare centers and boarding kennels as temporary solutions. But I didn’t even know if she’d be alive at the end of the semester.

When I came back to the office, I dismantled the fence and emptied Bangsiri’s water bowl. I didn’t say anything right away but in the end I had to. I told my supervisor I was sorry I couldn’t find another solution and, regrettably, I wouldn’t be able to complete my contract.

“My baby princess is in the hospital,” I wrote on my blog later that week.

Bangsiri spent one night and the whole next day at Diana; I can’t believe now that I let things go that far. Everyone at work was very nice about my departure, and some people said they understood my need to be with Bangsiri. I even got presents. It was very awkward being led around the office to say goodbye to the staff, but it was a relief to be reunited with Bangsiri at the end of a long two-day separation.

The following day I went to May—the animal hospital where my cat-baby Jellybean had just had dental work after a failed adoption. I picked her up, and I had four perfect angels again.

Since that time I’ve had other jobs, some better than others. The job I left that day may have been my best chance at a stable career—not to mention a chance to build a stable life when Bangsiri needed it. If only I could have organized a pet sitter, or a sudden move downtown, or a part-time schedule at school. Instead, I moved around after graduation and the bills escalated so much that I was afraid to leave the workforce to be with her when it really was time.

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