Ok, now I get it.
Why all those single, 40-something guys have dogs. You are a god to your dog. You are Mick Jagger in 1965. You are a revelation whenever you walk into a room. It’s sick. . . and I love it!
My family campaigned for a bout 5 years for us to get a dog. I had the attitude handed down to me by my mother, who said, “Having a dog is like having a 2 yr old child who never learns anything. ” That’s right. You have to feed them, wash them and clean their poop for their whole lives.
Then, after 20 years, my independent, super cool cat, Strat, passed away. (Yes, her name was Strat, after my guitar – a black and white Fender Stratocaster). It was awful. I cried a lot. My husband, who railed against the cat for our entire marriage of 15 years, cried a lot. The cat had come with me in the marriage deal. Months went by and I saw how alone I was in the house when the kids were at school and my husband at work. I’d sit at my computer and do my work for my clients or the bills and suddenly realize – oh my God….I’m a-l-l A-L-O-N-E in this house. There is no other living being here but me!
It freaked me out.
So, finally, I agreed to get a dog. I listed the conditions to my family: 1. I would not have to ever pick up poop. They, collectively, would be doing that. 2. We would get a “rescue dog.” 3. We would get an ADULT dog – no puppies or adolescents with their baby needs. 4. Said dog would be between 30 and 40 pounds in size. No yappers and no large bear types.
Once I made the decision, it only took a few weeks for me to hone in on the right dog. She was a “child” of a divorce. A shepherd mutt with a heart of gold. Already house trained and almost 4 years old. She had good manners and was smart and basically well trained.
She came home with us a on a wednesday evening, riding the back of the van with three excited children who all called her name over and over for her to look at them. The excitement wore off soon enough, after the daily walks, feeding, and pooper-scooping. But the real doom for the kids was the growing admiration the dog was nurturing toward me.
I was home all day. I am the obvious person who brings the food. I was alpha dog!!! I had dreaded the concept. I couldn’t get my kids to pick up their underwear off the floor of their bedroom, how was I going to get a inarticulate beast to mind me??? I started watching Animal Planet and National Geographic shows – “the Dog Whisperer” and “It’s me or the dog” so that I would get it right and be in charge,
Well, it worked
Now,after a couple months together and the dog adores me. She sleeps plastered up against my side of the bed and does not move until I get up in the morning. She sits right outside the bathroom door, when I need to leave her stranded in the hall for three minutes. She follows me from room to room in the house. She lies next to the front door when I leave and acts like it’s the second coming when I return – even when the rest of the family is still home with her. She sits when I say “sit.” She moves 6 feet away from me when I say, “out.” No wonder people love having a dog. You are their god.
But, I’m a cat person and this is the reason why — sometimes, I’d like to be alone. Having a cat was more like having a roommate. If you were there, great. If you were not there, great.
Now, I feel guilty when I have to go to the grocery store or the gym and leave her behind. She does that head cocked to one side confusion look and then the stereotypical sad puppy eyes. It kills me every time!
But, y’know what? I’m getting to love my dog. She’s a keeper. And maybe the I’ll get used feeling the burden of adoration. After all, things could be worse than being a rock star in your own house.