A dog has acquired me.
It’s weird, isn’t it? Usually, humans go out and get themselves a dog. But that wasn’t how it worked this time.
Life was progressing as normal. Busy days: hospitals, yoga classes, writing and reading. Lonely nights: cookies, pies, muffins, croissants, endless cups of Sleepytime Tea. And the every-other-day visits to Mom’s good ol’ acupuncturist, Dr. Wong. He has this wonderful dog named Diamond, whom loves everyone and everything equally. He’s pure Shih-Tzu and sort of looks like this.
Don’t let the first-grader-without-crayon-to-hand-coordination picture fool you. Diamond’s actually the sweetest, gentlest dog ever. And luck be had, he reproduced with the Wongs’ Pekinese! Huzzah for puppies!
The first puppy to come out of Dear Old Mom was named One-One. And the second puppy was named…. you guessed it—Two-Two! One-One was snatched up right away by a willing family, which left Dear Old Mom with Two-Two. Those two romped happily in the backyard of Dr. Wong’s for a good year and a half with little-to-no human contact and absolutely no training whatsoever. Then, Dear Old Mom got given away to a family who needed a gentle, sensitive dog for their child with Down Syndrome.
And Two-Two was all alone.
When I saw her, she was sitting a corner of the laundry room, looking something like this.
And I made a sound that was something like this:
Dr. Wong scooped her up, dropped her in my arms and told me to take her home. If it didn’t work out, they’d take her back.
She spent most of the car ride as a shaking puddle of pure doggie terror at what was happening to her. She was so gooey that I thought she might have problems with her legs. That is, lack them completely.
And then suddenly came a breaking point.
And that was how Two-Two decided that she was my dog.
She would follow me everywhere, wagging her tail so hard that her bum would wag too, hope for LOVE-HAPPINESS-PET-ME-TIME in her eyes. She’d wait outside the bathroom while I was doing my business. She’d nibble on my toes while I ate dinner. And she’d become an unresponsive sack of goo when I left for yoga.
By the end of the second day, the sense of overwhelming oppression and responsibility was driving me insane. We needed to have a serious sit-down talk.
Of course, the sit-down did nothing except make her expect some sort of nightly Love-Time where she’d rub her dog smell all over me and lick my arms.
I had to get serious. I pulled up my laptop and showed her videos of skimboarding. Big. Scary. Boards. Big. Scary. Waves. Loud. Crashing. WAVES.
“Those waves are bigger than ME, dog, and I’m 10 times YOUR size! If you’re going to be my dog, you’re going to have to be able to handle that. You’re going to have to handle car rides and airplanes. You going to have to stop being scared of people. And smells. And the sound of leaves on the pavement. You know what, I really don’t think you’re qualified for this.”
She interpreted my talk as this:
So now I have a dog permanently attached to my calves. She’s patient and loving and happy and demanding. And while the commitment stuff still freaks me out, I cannot remember what life was like without her.