For those of you who know me, you know that my dog is my world. But our connection is much different than a typical "I'm obsessed with my dog" relationship. She and I have survived life together up to this point, and there were times where she was the only thing keeping me motivated to survive the misery we were in. She was my motivation to get us out. Tonight I want to take a moment and share her story, or at least the defining parts of it.
At this point you might be wondering what about a dog would be so monumental to devote an entire blog to her... Well, keep reading and you will understand.
One day, after an outburst from my husband, I made the decision to go to a pet store. I wanted to play with the puppies and try and regain some grasp on my life and my independence. It was something I wanted to do, without anyone else, and maybe it would give me the chance to refocus on life. I walked in and spent nearly 20 minutes playing with various puppies and wishing that I could have one. I had escalated from dreaming about marriage changing who the monster was, to hoping that maybe a dog would change who he was. I dreamt about the life I wanted, not the life I was going to have. Therefore I went home and asked my husband if he wanted to get dinner. We went to his favorite mexican restaurant, and I knew he would inevitably drink in excess. I decided, as dinner progressed, to mention the pet store and see how he would react. He immediately got excited and said we should go back over there, and I realized maybe my plan would work. We finished dinner and headed down to the pet store.
As soon as we walked in we were drawn to this fluffy dog sprawled out, laying on her back. Her hair laid in a halo around her body and her front paws were stretched straight into the air. We finally decided to get her out and play with her to see what her personality would uncover. She was a big ball of fur and energy and I instantly fell in love with her. She had spunk and energy and seemed to be exactly what I needed to fill this vacant spot in my heart that yearned for companionship and love. Financially I knew we couldn’t afford her, but he seemed to think he had a way. So began his first scam to get out of paying for something. This would become a trend for him, and I was often too naive to see what was happening until after the scam had already taken place.
He was initially going to use the money from the business he had created to pay for her, but our roommate didn’t think that would be a good idea because it wasn’t a legitimate business expense (he was always the voice of reason). At that point I had given up on getting her, telling myself that when the time was right the correct doors would open. But my husband didn’t give up, he was trying to prove to me that he loved me through the dog... because I would later learn he wasn't capable of real emotions such as love. He proceeded to call his entire family to try and have them pay for the dog, but they all refused. He then tried using my credit to get approved for a credit card to pay for her, but my credit was still nonexistent due to how young I was and I was denied. Once again, I told him the time just wasn’t right yet. But he didn't listen. He claimed he had one final idea. He persuaded our roommate's mother to purchase the dog and swore to her that we would pay her back for it. She agreed, yet she didn’t realize she would never receive repayment for the dog. He had used her, and I never did anything about it. To this day, that still burdens my heart greatly. But that wonderful puppy, Abbie, became my strength and my stability. At times she was the only thing that kept me pushing forward when everything around me was chaos.
Fast forward about 7 months to us finally getting our own home (that will be another blog for another day).
What I didn’t consider when dreaming ideals about what life would be like now that we had a home was that my marriage wasn’t ideal, and that the man I was married to was a monster. Having a home simply would give him more authority to manipulate, control, and abuse me without being seen. He would drink even more than ever before, except his mother was no longer purchasing it... we were. He would more freely abuse Abbie, because he could do so within the confines of his own home. Everything seemed to escalate when we moved into our own home.
I had very little in life at this point to call my own, as it seemed that he and his family were running every aspect of my life... the only thing I could hold on to was Abbie. She was constant, and a stability, and I knew no matter the circumstances she would be by my side. Our bond strengthened more and more every day. But as time went on the relationship between her and Jake broke down more and more. He would hit her and push her and shove her, and one day he even threatened to drown her in the lake. I lived in constant fear of not only my own life but also hers. If I wasn’t good for anything else, I made sure that I protected her every hour of every day.
My relationship with Abbie became stronger when I started working, because I wanted to cherish the time I had with her. I tried my best to make sure she received as much love as possible from me because I knew she wasn’t getting any from him throughout the days. At this point he was a full blown alcoholic, and after drinking a case of beer he had passed out drunk. The next morning I had to leave for work early and didn’t have time to take Abbie out. I woke him up around 7am to ask him to take her out since I was running late, and in his drunken state he agreed. Shortly after arriving to work, I looked down at my phone and saw that he was incessantly calling and texting me. I couldn’t answer the call so I looked at the texts to see what was going on. That when I saw the dreadful words:
“I AM GOING TO KILL ABBIE!”
With anyone else I would’ve taken those words with a grain of salt, but a man like him was capable of anything and the fear instantly set in. I felt my heart sink and all blood rush to my face. I quickly read through the numerous text messages to find out what had happened before calling and talking him down. He had passed back out after I left instead of taking her out, and he woke up hours later laying in a puddle of urine. Because he hadn’t taken her out she decided to take care of business on the bed directly beside his head. As I read through the messages he was explicitly telling me everything he had done to her as punishment.
"I swear I'm going to kill her!"
"I threw her against the wall!"
Then came the message that is forever engrained in my memory,
"If you had just taken her out, this is all your fault. I'm going to kill her because of you! I held her by her throat against the wall and smacked her over and over again because of you!"
I couldn't read anymore.
I ran to the back room at work and immediately called him crying and begged him not to kill her. He said he had stopped but that I should be glad he has self control because otherwise she would be dead. This coming from a man who couldn’t control his alcohol consumption and didn’t have enough self control to get out of bed at a decent hour to let the dog out... self control was so far from a quality he possessed that I almost had to laugh. Once I heard that he hadn’t killed her my heart's racing speed slowed, and I had to get off the phone to get back to work. I worked the rest of the day on pins and needles. I feared what I would see when I walked into the house, not knowing if she would be paralyzed or even worse dead.
When I finally arrived home that night, he was still fuming with anger. So I had to hear the entire story come out of his mouth directly, picturing the fear in her big brown eyes as she saw him approach her and hit her. I couldn’t take anymore and I remember screaming at him over and over again to just stop telling me about it because I didn’t want to hear anymore. I tried leaving the room to get him to stop, but he continued to just describe every detail louder and louder to cover the space the I was trying to place between us. It was as if he was getting this adrenaline rush out of telling me every terrible detail. It was as if hurting her made him feel like more of a man. That was when I realized he wasn’t right, something was not right about him. No one could hurt an animal and show no emotions at all.
It was that night that I realized I was married to a sociopath.
As emotions died down and I was able to hold Abbie, relief overwhelmed me that she was physically okay. Emotionally she was shattered, he couldn't walk into the same room as her without her cowering in a corner. And he monopolized on her fear, aggressively advancing towards her at times just to watch her shrink away in fear. He was truly a monster, now not only to me but also to her.
This was a breaking point for me. It was the moment I realized that if he wasn’t stable enough to handle himself around a dog, then my dreams of ever having a family were nothing more than a distant ideal. It broke my heart to know that I could never have children with this man, and if we did they could never be left alone with their father. My life continued to crumble from this point forward. My fairy tale dreams and ideals were selfish, and were causing pain and hurt all around me. But it would still take me 3 years to muster the strength to escape his stronghold.