The first true love of my life was my golden retriever, Molly. My ex and I got Molly early on in our marriage, and in many ways, that dog held the marriage together – she was our baby. She certainly was the alpha dog in our house: far smarter than we were, she ruled the roost with iron vocal chords.
It’s been 11 years since she died. Living on my own – in a house now for the first time since the divorce – I’ve been toying with the idea of getting another dog. One day I arrived at my office to find an email from a friend down the hall: “You need a dog. It will help you sleep. I will convince you tomorrow.”
Frankly, I’d put my money on a dog keeping me awake, but I get her point. To have someone to come home to at the end of a hard day – someone who loves me unconditionally – is awfully appealing. Of course today, when the wind chill is 4 above zero, the thought of having to go out again and walk the dog before I turn in kills any warm and fuzzy illusions.
There are a lot of reasons not to get a dog: the money, the commitment, the hassle when I go on vacation, the shedding, the baths, the poop, the barking, trips to the vet. I’m not sure I could leave a dog alone all day, 5 days a week. And then turn around and go out later, even to meet a friend for dinner? Can you say, “guilt”? I’m not sure that I’m ready to fall in love again, only to have my heart broken when I have to say goodbye.
I treasure my independence. And yet…. I think about that soft fur curled up next to me on the couch. A dog would make me play, make me smile, wouldn’t argue with me. A dog would force me to get some exercise in even the worst weather. Getting a dog would be like having a boyfriend, except with less bother and fewer arguments.
In short, I’m torn. Maybe I’ll be lucky, and one day I’ll be browsing through an adoption site and some handsome young thing will look out at me from the screen with big, soulful brown eyes and my heart will melt. Maybe, when the time is right, I’ll just know.
Love’s like that.