Monday, January 23, 2012

Custody Fight

It's a slippery slope when one talks to their parents.  One minute you're asking about batteries, the next you've had the custody of your dog pulled from you.  My mom is in Arizona enjoying the more temperate climate.  My dad is home alone.  For the first time in I think a very long time, my dad has NO ONE at home.

Initially when I got Tessa, I lived three hours away.  My family was not happy when I traded the hay left over (from when my horse died) for this little ball of fluff.  It took a long time for them to come around.  Tess went everywhere with me.  We went to roping's and rodeos.  She stayed with me hotels.  We traveled lonely country highways, and busy city freeways.  With no one to rely on but myself - Tessa by necessity went everywhere.  Eventually, the family freeze thawed and Tessa and I came up for weekend visits.  Next, Tess, horses, and I came back for summers and long holidays.

A job opportunity came up that involved me moving back to my old home.  This was supposed to be temporary but one thing led to another and time slipped away.  Another opportunity came up that would have caused a move.  But something was wrong and I was sick.  A family meeting led to the decision to stay by my support network.  Through all this Tessa (our first house dog ever) had become entrenched in the family.  It was no longer just me who loved this little character.  As things physically improved and things romantically went south, it became time to move on.  To find my own space.  This for me meant taking my little fur family with me.   And this is where the conflict began.

With the news that I was moving my dad's first comment was that I wasn't taking Tessa (nor Bella, nor the sheep, nor the horses, nor the cats).  After all, how could my animals possibly survive on a measly 3 acres.  (You notice the wild thing young dogs weren't on his list.)  Some of his concerns were justified.  Some of his concerns were baffling.  I managed to bring the three Border Collies when I moved.  Next I slipped a horse or two over as well.  (Breaking dad in if you will.)  Flash back two weeks.

A simple phone call looking for information on batteries.  When out of the blue dad blusters about Tessa being home alone.  Tessa could not possibly make the day alone.  It just wasn't good for her.  And so on.  Taking a breathe and calming myself I recognized that he was lonely.  For the first time in a very, very long time - dad was alone.  I told dad to pop over on Thursday (it was Wednesday night).  When I came over of Thursday Tessa was gone.  Dad didn't even bother to take her bed or her food.  So I called.  Oh Tessa was sooooo happy to see him she came running out of the house so he just left with her.  Yep.  True story.  Friday, I swung by and picked her up.

The following Monday I came home to NO DOG.  Tessa was gone.  So was her bed.  Realizing dad must have her I left it be.  That was the week when I'd have had to find someone to take care of her towards the end of the week.  This week, I have classes Wednesday through Saturday.  Tomorrow dad will swing by and pick her up.  I'll go to the farm and get her once class is over on the weekend.  While I don't mind her visiting the farm I have mixed emotions about her living there.  One - dad is not always the most reliable person.  He gets sidetracked.  Tessa is old and has crazy moments - you have to pay attention to her when she's outside.  It's hard on my pack dynamics having her coming and going.

Reality right now is at least two long weeks a month so I can take my graduate classes.  These weeks I'm okay with Tessa visiting her other family.  But for my dad to wrench her custody out of my hands?  I'll wait until my mom comes back and I have an ally before lining up a fight.

Yep, it's a custody battle over MY dog.

1 comment:

MTWaggin said...

OMG that makes me laugh. But how cool that your Dad loves Tessa so much!