For months Wade has been saying he wants a dog. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not been an everyday topic of conversation, but he’s mentioned it enough times for it to be pretty darned clear he wants a dog.
The refrain was repeated after Thea and Paul visited in July with their sweet dog Lilly. It reached a crescendo over Thanksgiving when we were in the company of the adorable Sir, Desiree and Sagi’s miniature pinscher from New York City, and Zoe, Carmen and Justin’s sweet-tempered dog in Virginia. So, of course, after returning home from Thanksgiving, the topic was reintroduced. This time, we took it so far as to explore breeds and criteria – not a large dog, not a breed that sheds. A big step in the process, my opening the door for the conversation. The conversation, once rolling, included who would get custody of the dog should we break up. We were dog paddling in some serious waters.
While never opposed to the idea, I was also never jumping with joy over it. For one thing, I’m more of a cat person. The lazy kind of cat person – as in, if one starts showing up on my doorstep, I’ll give it kitty massages between its little shoulder blades and talk sweetly to it and feed it kitty food and lactose-free milk so it won’t barf on my floors. It can come inside whenever it wants and leave just as easily. Independent, low maintenance, can use a litter box and not require regulated walking and sweaters and booties. Perfect.
Consequently, I had reservations about the dog thing. Major reservations. There’s the dog walking and the potential for scratched hardwood floors and chewed shoes. But the biggest reservation, the one that sends cold chills down my spine and causes my stomach to turn, has to do with a feeling of obligation – of being tied down by another creature that depends on me to provide food, water, fresh air, attention, walking. Every day. I cringe at this sense of duty. I reel with dizziness at the cramping of my free-wheeling lifestyle of weekend trips, spontaneous activities and not having to come straight home from work.
I imagine this is the same panic that causes guys to blanch and freak out when a girlfriend mentions the words “commitment” or “marriage” and they are facing the perceived loss of, well, all freedom. Yes, that bad. Then I remembered. In three years I have taken maybe 7 trips, none longer than a week – not quite what I’d call the life of an active traveler. My passport is expired. I don’t get enough vacation time to be jetting off all the time. I don’t make enough money to be jetting anywhere ever. I’m too lazy to plan a trip. I hate traveling alone and Wade works every weekend. I was still living in the vapors of the fantasy life I had outlined for myself but never got around to executing.
The paperwork is completed, the adoption fee paid, and Moose, (soon to maybe be called “Jack,” but we’ll have to see about that) was shipped off to the vet for his mandatory neutering. We can pick him up tomorrow from the vet (conveniently located near the house). There is already a welcoming gift awaiting his arrival home, courtesy of the shelter – doggy treats, a cute bandanna, a stuffed chewy toy and lots of coupons for dog care and grooming. It’s going to be a Merry Christmas.