Somehow, during the not so dog days of August this year, I thought it was time to get a dog. I know how that sounds, but please know the two are not connected. Or perhaps they are, the humidity this summer as opposed to the dry heat we’re used to saturating my perspective on daily life.
It’s been nearly four years since our old Jones passed on, and as much as I would rather not admit to life being easier since, can say it’s been different without her ever present self, devoted gaze, and soft muzzle nudging me to give her a pat. She was such a sweet girl.
But I’m not a dog person. I know people draw a line and stake their claim to whether they like dogs or cats, and although I’ve loved both, cats have been a part of my life far more than dogs. I remember a dog named Cookie when we lived in Spain, then there were Misty and Greta when I was in Junior High. They were more my sister’s dogs than anyone else. Yogi, a beautiful pedigreed Doberman, was a part of our family after I’d had my first child — and he was lovely — but we were not the family for him and so he went to live with an older woman who needed company.
Years went by before my youngest decided I needed a dog for my birthday, and so we adopted Jones, a mixed breed puppy who was found abandoned on a school playground, full of worms and advertised as a Chihuahua. It’s no matter that she grew to be 60 pounds or so. We were happy to have her be a part of our lives. I know I was, at least after she outgrew puppyhood. I still have furniture that bears the marks of her teething phase.
When my very best friend realized I’d brought home a puppy, she said, “Really?” And I knew what she meant. I’m sure I told her more than once how confined to a house a dog can leave you, their neediness requiring so much more thought than a cat’s might. Oh, the time devoted to living with, being around, and training a puppy. I understood what she meant having observed her with her Maddy, a beautiful, large, highly spirited Golden Lab who accompanied us on all our morning walks — or dragged us, to be more accurate. Maddy’s life did not end well and I know an experience like that doesn’t fade quickly.
I think at this point in my life I have no reason not to spend time with an animal who loves as intensely as a dog can. Although I have three grown boys, not one has an inkling of a sparkle of the possibility of a grandchild in mind, and I’m perfectly fine with that. But I also think that I need something to balance my time, or I’ll spend all day in my head weaving whatever it is I weave all day, every day, with seemingly little to show for it. Besides, a dog is a perfect excuse to procrastinate doing whatever it is I promised myself I’d finish by October.
There can be so much less to look forward to each day than a puppy who lies at my feet, allowing me to softly run my toes over her smooth coat as she sleeps, occasionally waking when I stop, wondering what she’s done to cause it.
I’ll save the ins and outs with her daily habits for another time. Suffice it to say, they’re kicking my butt and reminding me of what it was like to have an infant in the house minus the sustaining energy of youth that accompanies such a life event. But I’m determined to nudge our Wanda into a place she’ll be comfortable knowing she doesn’t have to be in charge, because I will be. So far, she seems to appreciate that as long as it doesn’t have anything to do with dishtowels hanging from the rung on the oven door.
My life is rarely boring, but these days, it is even less so. I’m even realizing with my Mac downstairs to keep an ever vigilant eye on Wanda, that I actually don’t have a valid reason to not get my writing done.