Today’s Assignment: Stay away from the animal shelter.

I want a dog.

I want a dog desperately.

I haven’t slept right in the four years since my baby Roscoe went on ahead, to pick out the forever couch where he’ll flatten the left side of my body for all eternity.

My husband says I don’t need a dog.

I have cats. In fact, he and my daughter feel I have too many cats.

I love each and every one of them, but it’s not the same. A cat’s love is a wonderful thing…elegant, really… but it’s passive/aggressive. The cat will deign to be petted when it senses your need, but it will set boundaries. God help you if you trespass them.

But a dog? A dog’s love is constant, ardent, sloppy, physical, emotional, possessive and unquestionable.

I want a dog.

But a dog, unlike a cat, is a creature that demands some maintenance. Cats will not wake you at 4:00 am because they need to pee. They do not want to be walked (in fact, I suspect they really don’t want to be seen with you). They appreciate a gentle brushing every now and then, but they really don’t need to be groomed. Just pick up their hairballs whenever you see one, and the cat’s tonsorial needs have been met.

But I want a dog… and I have a sneaky suspicion that if I don’t get a dog now, I never will again.

You see, I don’t want to get a dog that I am unlikely to outlive. Shelters today are full of heartbroken animals  whose owners have passed on, and I don’t want to be responsible for any animal’s unhappiness. But I’m only sixty-one… and if I get an adult animal right now, chances are we could have a few happy years of companionship. Jeff and I should still have a few years left… and if anything happens to us, our children are both old enough to continue our stewardship, and dog-crazy enough to do so willingly.

Furthermore, I am finally… FINALLY! at a point in my life when I’m not commuting fifty miles each way, and being away from home for twelve and a half hours a day. While I was working at my last job (and considering Jeff’s very long hours), it wouldn’t have been fair to get a dog who craved companionship. I don’t know what they future will hold, but I’ll tell you this: I’m done with twelve-hour workdays.

So the question remains. Should I get a dog?

There’s one at a nearby shelter that looks a lot like the dog that Jeffrey had when I met him.

That could be our dog.

I like that dog.

But do I complicate our lives at this stage and drive out to get him?

And do I risk the (very temporary) wrath of Jeffrey by doing exactly what he has asked me not to do?

I have to think about it.

The shelter opens at noon.

 

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