As you may know by now, my boyfriend’s line of work means frequent trips away (at least, frequent during specific parts of the year). To kick the relationship off right, within the first month or so of becoming a couple (at long last!) he left for 6 weeks to go shoot a film.
Six weeks. Yeah, you think I’m hysterical now? Delirium has a way of taking over in these sorts of situations, and we both decided something would have to change.
He suggested we get a puppy, and there was a short, albeit bizarre few days where things were turned on their head. I began acting slightly like a man whose girlfriend had just brought up marriage for the first time -I was completely spooked by the idea, despite being so gung-ho about the prospect of this relationship for more than a year.
On top of that, I grew up with dogs. Sometimes, lots of them. I was in 4-H with them and did junior showmanship periodically at AKC dog shows. In the middle of a rural bit of island on 5 wooded acres, these dogs were my best friends.
When I went off to college, I missed the heck out of those dogs and it was practically all I could do to keep from running around yelling, “I want a puppy! I want a puppy!” in an attempt to fill the void.
Thankfully, having been so involved with dog shows and training dogs, I knew what kind of attention and involvement having a dog really takes -especially a puppy. If I got a dog, I would be getting a dog for life. Not something I could dump off in an animal shelter if things didn’t work out.
So I waited. And, we waited a while, and I let the periods of Corey’s absence begin to stack up. Maybe being alone alone during these periods was more than I needed, and I wanted to be sure that Corey was fully aware that we would be caring for any dog/puppy we acquired, period.
The idea waned, and waxed. It would fade away, then return with a vengeance. I began looking into rescue groups, but they wouldn’t let us adopt because we lived in an apartment complex and not a house. The animal shelters in the area only seemed to house big dogs, and we needed a small one for the apartment. And, I admit, I have some rather firm ideas about the sorts of breeds I like, and the sorts that would be good for us and our living conditions.
I almost gave up until I found a picture of Luna.
Boston Terrier puppy, the last one in the litter. She was the smallest (the runt) but also the smartest and the breeder’s favorite. When I read that she was feisty, I knew she was the one.
When I called, she just happened to live in the same town Corey grew up in on the other side of the state. Upon further probing, I found out she works with his mother at the hospital! Small world, right? It was meant to be.
Having a puppy can be completely maddening. And expensive. And did I mention maddening? I lost my favorite hat in our battles, and a lot of my dignity in the portions where I was shoveling the shin-deep garbage she had strewn all through the kitchen when she was mad.
She just turned 2, and thank goodness she’s finally past that phase. We’ve cultivated a roommate, one capable of taking care of me now when Corey’s gone.
There is a balance. Having her around is much more work than not, and when I am stressed and alone I still have to take her outside, feed her, and play, even when I don’t feel like it. To be sure, that does make depression and irritability that much more difficult.
But, in exchange I have someone to focus on, someone to help me get out of my head. She doesn’t speak english, but she does talk with body language and little squeaks and gurgles. If someone comes to the door and knocks (even the UPS man) she growls and barks on my lap, terrified but always willing to protect me.
So even if she has woken me up at 6 am each day this week, she provides loads of entertainment and forces me to leave the apartment to walk her at least twice each day.
What I find really bizarre is that we are very much alike. She clearly gets anxiety if either of us are away for too long, and she can easily get depressed when Corey goes away. Luna is by far the most emotional dog I’ve ever known, and I can’t help but wonder if she would have turned out that way regardless, or if she picked it up from me.
Dogs are great. They’re the least judgmental friends you’ll ever have.