There was a time when I was editing my national breed club’s newsletter, serving on two committees, chairing a third, and ghost writing a letter writing campaign against breed specific legislation. One day I looked up from my computer and realized that all my dogs’ nails required trimming, the adults needed baths, and the youngster’s immature coat was getting the upper hand.
I was spending a lot of time doing things on behalf of dogs I didn’t know – and had been neglecting my own.
The irony. As fanciers, we admire balance in our dogs, but how many of us fail to find it in our own lives?
And this is as far as I got. You haven’t missed a paragraph, I’m being literal. The opening lines above were as far as I got on an article I was writing before I had to put it aside to work on a project with a more immediate deadline – and even that excuse drips with irony. The project doesn’t involve my own dogs, it’s about other dogs. I wouldn’t relinquish this project for anything because it’s interesting and important, and given today’s “anti-breeder and-purebred dog ownership” climate, I want to be among people who thumb their nose at this mindset. I can’t very well enjoy my own dogs if I’m outlawed from having them, afterall, and at today’s brisk rate of legislation, it could happen. But at some point when this project is behind me, I want to get a handle on how to balance the responsibility I have to my own dogs with a duty to speak out against those who threaten my right to own them.
One week from today, I leave for New York and Westminster – the Super Bowl of our sport. It’s a working trip, in as much as being surrounded by gorgeous dogs and like-minded people is work. And maybe I’ll remember to ask some folks there how they balance everything they do – or do they even try? Perhaps they learned better the lesson I taught my daughter but failed to apply to parts of my own life. Feminism promised greater options to women of my generation, and to be respected for the options we chose. The reality, however, meant that if we chose to work outside the home, we usually came home to work some more.
As a result, I always told my daughter what I learned the hard way: You can do it all, just not at the same time.
When I come home from New York, I’m going to research what balance would look like in my own life.
Right after I bathe the dogs.