Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Thoughts on getting a puppy, part one

At this point, I consider myself an adult--maybe not the most shining example of adulthood, but an adult nonetheless. Months fly by. I work 7 days a week. When people ask me how I've been, I sigh and say, "Busy."
When I was younger, I did not do this.
And I like my life, mainly because it is mine. It's kind of a "because it is bitter and because it is my heart" situation (thank you Stephen Crane). But I always want to change my life--this is not one of the factors that sets me apart, I know. Yet, it was this compulsion that recently brought me into the world of puppy ownership and grander still, the world of a multi-dog household.
Puppy ownership is very different from dog ownership. Where dog ownership is comfortable, puppy ownership is fragile. Dogs are beacons of consistency; puppies are Murphy's Law. With the little guys, you become very familiar with the cold, hard wall that is communication breakdown.
Growing up, there were, on average, 4 dogs in my house at any given point, and I always considered this to be one of the the more agreeable aspects of my homelife. I deeply valued their reliability, a quality that stood out in sharp contrast to the non-canine members of the Woodham house. We loved them. They amused and sometimes even inspired us. We had a black lab named Sam that was particularly magnificent; he really did inspire feeling in a person. It sounds stupid, but I'll never forget it. Many of my friends will never forget Sampson, perhaps not because of his legendary grandeur, but because my Dad kept his balls in a jar.
This dog had such a majesty and my dad had such a drinking problem that when Sam was forced to divest himself of his babymakers (by threat of legal action, I might add), my dad pleaded with our vet to save the ball bits in a jar of preservative. Somehow, despite the predictable disgust and protest, they ended up mixed in with the dusty knickknack clutter on one of my mom's antiques. For years.
In case Bob Barker is reading this, I'd like to clarify that spaying and neutering was always a must in our house, save this very peculiar exception. I will also spare you gentle readers a description of the ball tissue, but I will say that it's nothing worth saving. I personally threw the jar out a few years ago on a visit home. Yet, I digress.
All that was just to nuance my previously stated familiarity with dog ownership. Basically, even though I want to incorporate precious few aspects of that home environment into the life I'm building now, a house doesn't really feel like home to me without a dog. I also have a preference for the big mutts. At one point my sister, Apryl, told me that she always imagined me as the kind of person who would want a purse dog--with outfits. To this day, I take that statement to mean that she thinks I'm horrible.
I'm not saying my big rottweiler/shepherd/chow mix, Herbert, hasn't worn a blazer once or twice in his lifetime, but it's apples and oranges, my friend. (One day I'll learn how to upload photos in this thing for the dual purpose of proof and humor.) All I'm saying is that I appreciate the utilitarian aspects of pet ownership as well as the comforts. With the larger dogs, they can feasibly protect you and scare away cowardly evildoers. I think it's cool that my dog has big teeth yet lets me put a blazer on him from time to time. My tastes run closer to wild animal than stuffed animal, let's say. Okay, maybe Herbert has a pink cupcake collar. Contradictions are interesting. Ah, my savage little cupcake.
Herbert and I have a good thing going. He, in many ways, is my ideal and there's an airtight bond. Then I brought little Roscoe into the picture who is, quite distinctly, not yet a cupcake. Coming to the decision to get a second dog--and a puppy at that--with my non-ideal situation timewise and moneywise, was complicated. I have some interesting reasons. And I'm sure some of them are bullshit. (to be continued)

1 comment:

  1. Herbert may have worn a blazer or two... but he has never EVER ridden in a purse. Unfortunately.