When We Got Our Dog
I knew I had to do something because I was so envious of anyone with a dog.
I was driving home after Run Club one Saturday morning and had to stop at a red light. On the sidewalk was a woman with long dark hair motoring along in a red electric wheelchair. She had a red leash in her hand. The other end of it was attached to the collar of a black lab who was trotting happily along beside her. I watched them for a moment and then burst into tears.
I missed my old dog so much. SO MUCH. She was nearly fifteen when one day she could just no longer stand.
There was nobody beside me at the light and the woman and her dog had turned the corner. Their backs were to me and the distance between us was increasing. Nobody saw my ridiculous tears, which was a tiny consolation.
Even though it’s hard to be objective about your own thoughts and feelings, I knew being so envious of anybody who had a dog was kind of nuts. Six months without a dog was too long.
I was in my late thirties when my husband and I got our dog. I had always wanted, craved a dog when I was a little girl. I visited pet stores and begged my parents, all to no avail. I read everything I could get my hands on about the different breeds. I played with the dogs in my neighbourhood. I tried working on my parents, but they worked on me.
“You can never go on vacation when you have a dog.”
“They cost so much to feed.”
“They’re a lot of work.”
“They always make a mess and ruin things.”
Slowly, slowly, pretty much without me noticing, I gave up on the idea of getting a dog. I bought into them being “too much trouble.” My parents and teachers always called me “irresponsible” so I just ended up deciding they were too much responsibility.
And then one day we got asked to doggie-sit Tia.
Friends of ours had the smartest, sweetest, and gentlest collie. When we went over to visit we liked seeing her as much as we liked seeing them.
They were going to Mexico and didn’t want to put her in a kennel so they asked if she could stay with us. I felt a little…