Prairie Dogs Are Not House Pets - Compromise VS Concession

If you know me, then you know I am not really an indoor animal/pet person. I wish I were. I know that pets bring an enormous amount of joy and companionship to many. I am just not in that group yet. They stress me out. I inherited this from my mother, so take it up with her if you have an issue. And let’s not start with the hate mail, I love animals. I am just not a big fan of actually owning, housing, or cleaning up after them. Except for the brief amount of time I opened my home to two prairie dogs.

I dated this guy…...Let’s call him……wait, maybe I shouldn’t actually give his real name. I’m not sure what the rules are with blogs. I’m pretty confident that he, nor anyone he knows, will ever read this so I guess it doesn’t matter. Plus most of you already know his name anyway. But to operate on the side of fairness…..let’s just call him Charles. J

Now Charles was an avid animal lover. In fact he actually worked at an animal sanctuary and had his own animal business. He was serious about them. Which was great. I had no issue with that. In fact I even tried to help him. We actually appeared together on a local TV morning program to promote his business. I stood there with a Veiled Chameleon on my finger like I was Marlin Perkin’s daughter. (For you youngsters, Marlin Perkins was the Pre-Jack Hanna/ Steve Irwin guy who hosted Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom that I watched as a kid.) Sounds great, right? Team Work. Good girlfriend brownie points for sure. So what became the problem?

Ironically, the chameleon is a pretty accurate description of the problem. A chameleon will change its ‘colors’ to blend (or fit) into their surroundings if they feel threatened or insecure. Hmmm…That stings a little! Obviously my motivation was not fear of actual survival, but it was fear of rejection or more accurately desire for approval. If I became the best animal assistant on the planet, then of course Charles would love me. Right?? That’s how it works….Tell me that’s how it works...

So let’s get back to the prairie dogs. One was a rescue from the wild and one was a companion for the rescue. And on the cuteness level, they were a pretty solid 8 ½. But prairie dogs prefer to live underground; which means they dig, a lot. The floor in my home is not dirt. So you can see where this would present a problem; both for the prairie dogs and my floor. In addition, apparently when prairie dogs are stressed, they chew. On anything. So, again, you can see where this would present a problem, for well, anything in my home that was on or near floor legs, shoes, etc.

Why, oh why, do you ask, did I allow them to run loose in my house? To wreck havoc on my belongings? My Good Girlfriend answer is ‘compromise’. They weren’t there all the time; only visited when he did. Wasn’t fair to keep them locked up in a cage. Took precautions to mitigate the damages. Look, I wanted to be seen as amenable; understanding, compassionate. Oh PLEASE!! I was a sell out to myself! I see that! All under the guise of hoping he would think I was cool. Shame on me. Ok, let me dial back the self-harshness a bit. I am a sensitive girl after all.

Now all of you are probably out there screaming at your screen shaking your head…”I would NEVER do something like that”. Maybe not. Maybe a wild animal habitat was a bit extreme. J  But what would you do.…What have you done….To try and impress someone. Or is it just me?

So how should I have handled it? (Obviously allowing prairie dogs to run amuck in the house was not it.) But seriously, when you enter a new relationship, you have to find a happy medium. No one is going to agree on everything. Have exactly the same interests or hobbies or boundaries. There has to be a melding of the two worlds. So when does compromise become concession? When does  ‘it’s ok’  turn into a betrayal of your personal beliefs? I guess it is different for every individual. No one can be seen as so rigid and cold as to not allow for their partner’s passions; but surrendering your needs or values is not the road to travel either. Ultimately it was not those cute little cousins of groundhogs that did us in. Our problems ran deeper than that. But an important take away from that relationship was I should have managed that particular matter differently. I wish I could say I have learned my lesson. Truthfully I struggle with this particular concept, a lot. But as reminders go, I have a bare spot on my carpet that should help drive it home. 


  1. Why are you up at 4am?! Excellent self observation and I love your writing style.


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