my mistake

It wasn’t even noon today and I’d already had what you might call a meltdown. I felt extremely tired yesterday and my chest hurt, which freaked me out a little, and I only felt okay when I was mellowing out before going to bed, while watching television and forcing myself not to think about anything in particular. (Trust me, that takes effort. At any given moment my mind is often thinking about two to umpteen things at a time. Lately, it’s Am I breathing? combined with Why me? garnished liberally with This sucks.) Before turning in, I took Gypsy out one last time and it was then that I realized how much energy one little dog was causing me to expend. I’m not fast enough to chase after her, because I can’t run, so it’s difficult to keep an eye on her and correct her when she’s getting into something she shouldn’t. It takes a lot of energy and breath support to be loud and authoritative, and my breath support is compromised right now. Even controlling her on a leash was tiring. Gypsy and Rex together…too much too soon.

When we were back inside my apartment Gypsy pranced and danced at my feet until we were upstairs and she spotted a sleeping Rex in the distance. Knowing what was about to happen, I protested as loudly as I could, but she ignored me and pounced on Rex, trying to get him to play with her. Rex, however, wanted no part of her foolishness and made this known by grabbing her neck and pinning her head to the floor, growling menacingly. I’d never seen him act like that with another dog before, and it was very scary. It was an obvious alpha dog/superiority gesture, and I had a feeling he hadn’t hurt her. I calmly told him to stop it and slipped between them sideways, carefully nudging him away with the backside of my body. It worked. He went away and I inspected every inch of Gypsy, looking for broken skin. Nothing. She was fine. She wriggled in my grasp, as if to say, That was fun! Where did he go? As if. I crated her and went to bed.

This morning I felt better, but I still had to admit to myself that I didn’t have the energy and stamina necessary to offer an untrained pup like Gypsy. I contacted Rex’s attorney, told her I’d jumped the gun, and apologized for making a hasty decision to foster another dog too soon after my operation. She replied to let me know Happy Tails was expecting Gypsy back and not to worry about it. Before I took her back, I held Gypsy for a good half hour and cried. Having the will and compassion to help a dog in need and physically being unable to is a heart wrenching horrible feeling. I also felt angry, too. While I was crying my nose got stuffed up and then I could barely breathe. I tried to sob and almost choked. I couldn’t even cry right. Pathetic.

After I brought Gypsy back to Happy Tails I got a cafe mocha from Starbucks to make me feel better. Didn’t work.

About timothyjlambert

Timothy J. Lambert is allegedly a writer.
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80 Responses to my mistake

  1. ravenspb says:

    The very fact that you tried is something, though I’m sure this means nothing right now. Once you get more strength back, I can only imagine that you will take in another foster child.

    I don’t know you well, but it seems to your nature, kindness to the point of exhaustion.

    • I know I’ll foster another dog soon. It was extremely frustrating not to be able to do so now, and also I was upset about everything that’s happened and hadn’t really vented. As Howard Jones said, things can only get better.

  2. asterapallas says:


    I’m sorry that you are experiencing such difficulties.
    I feel for you – and think of you, often.

  3. dogrl says:

    How tough for you!
    At least you’re fair enough to Gypsy that since you knew you didn’t yet have the energy for her you sent her back, instead of just leaving her crated most of the time and/or not spending any time with her.
    Now’s the time to ‘foster’ yourself and get better.
    Big hug!!

  4. gaedhal says:

    I agree –

    This is a time to take care of yourself. Gypsy is in good

    I know it’s easy to feel that you have take care of others,
    but sometimes you have to ease back and allow Nature to
    take its course. You need to rest — eat, sleep, read trashy
    novels, watch bad TV. Things will happen way too slowly, but
    they will happen. Take it from one who has been there.

  5. rickerje says:

    You’ll get there, Tim. I have faith. Meanwhile, keep breathing.

  6. ablueskyboy says:

    Energizer bunny needs a break now and then too

    I know what you mean. With this bronchial infection I’ve got going on (which seems to be moving to my sinuses) I’ve been so completely drained and the cough attacks that go on and on like dry heaves from food poisoning. I was in a conference Wednesday of over 50 people and they all had to introduce themselves, but all this was making my voice so weak no-one could hear me. And sleep? what’s that ;) I can’t imagine how awful this would be for your case + mine mixed in.

    • Re: Energizer bunny needs a break now and then too

      Funny you mentioned it, because a head cold settled in last night. At least I’m not coughing, though.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love you, Timothy!


  8. n8an says:

    One of the worst days of my life was right after they took the crap out of my face/jaw. I looked fine, I could talk, I could eat, and apart from the tooth issues, I was “done.”

    Except I couldn’t walk outside at night, still wasn’t sleeping, and making breakfast was outrageously difficult. I nearly got fired (this was pre-bookstore), definitely flunked a class, and was responsible only for myself.

    Take some time – your body (and, ergo, you) – needs it. Take care of you. Forgive yourself the short-cuts, the down-time, the energy level, and anything else that it takes to be gentle with yourself.

  9. _jandy_ says:


    as sucky as it was, i think that was the best thing for both you & gypsy right now.

  10. marikanola says:

    you are going to be much harder on yourself then anyone … and you did the right thing by Gypsy. Heal yourself first — heal others second. You’ve made sure that two wonderful pup were delivered into wonderful homes, now take care of wonderful you.

    You’ll be back in the saddle soon.

  11. davidpnyc says:

    You did the right thing, for you and for Gypsy. You did what a real caregiver would do.

  12. auntaberta says:

    Give yourself time to heal fully – then you’ll be able to do all the things you want to. You’ve been through a lot and should give yourself a break (until you feel better, then you can totally go crazy with doing too much). Here’s hoping things move along faster than you expect!

  13. cashdogg827 says:

    I stumbled across your journal after looking through the timothy james beck page and reading your bio. I have to tell you though, after reading all of your recent entries, that my brother has suffered from spontaneous pneumothorax multiple times. It was the scariest thing to watch him go through it for the first time and not know what was happening, and then to have it happen again two more times and see him in so much pain. I hope you have a speedy recovery and never have to go through it again because even though I don’t know the physical pain, I’ve watched someone else go through it and don’t wish it on anyone.

  14. ablueskyboy says:


    Hey this made me think of you :)

    check out this week’s

    and look for the 6th one down with the dog picture

    • Re: doggies

      Because I’m a Gemini, that postcard makes me think how wonderful that would be if it were true and also freaks me out due to my fear of death.

  15. Anonymous says:

    numero uno

    You have to take care of yourself in order to have anything to give to others. You’re at a dangerous point right now in that you might allow all of this frustration and anger to push you towards smoking again. And, as important as the rescue dogs are, your long-term health is much more important. If you haven’t already you should find a positive addiction to replace the smoking.

  16. sappho_love says:

    I’m so sorry you’re having to endure this shitty experience. Surely a caramel macchiatto would have been the drink to cheer you up!

    My sister has Trich and as a teen in therapy her Dr. asked her what alternative “self soothing” techniques was she using instead of pulling out her hair. She told him…. masturbating! hahah. Anyway, he said it was fine. So feel free to give yourself a hand ;-)

  17. bear_island says:

    Sorry you’re not back to 100% quite yet. Your eagerness to foster Gypsy shows what a big generous heart you have. Meanwhile, rest, heal, and take good care of yourself.

    *Big hugs*

  18. varsitynj says:

    Hey, bud. Just was thinking of you and wanted to check in. I have terrible about keeping up with LJ lately. I have to go back and got caught up on what’s been going on with you. Separately, I have a craving to write and no time or mental bandwidth to do it.

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