Sunday, November 1, 2009

In the family way

Today I'm considering adopting a new member of my family. I'm going to visit some rescued dogs. I would like to share my home with an adult dog who is calm and cuddly and who understands that outdoors is the potty place.

I have always loved animals. I don't think I've ever met a dog I didn't like, and I have loved very many in my life. When people ask if I'm a dog or a cat person, I have to answer yes. However, husband is one of those rare, unfathomable people who would rather not have a dog or cat in the family. I'm afraid it's some sort of disability. He says it's for practical reasons - you have to arrange care for them when you travel, they require healthcare, you have to let them outside, etc. Well, yes. Those things are true. And we have a fenced in back yard, he normally works from home during the day, and veteranarians and animal hotels are not the least bit scarce around here. Sounds like we have the perfect opportunity, doesn't it?

He finally has grudgingly agreed to just be unhappy about it if I bring an addition to the family home rather than kick us both out. The poor dear doesn't understand how much joy and love a pet can bring to its human, and that's to be pitied. My hope is that if we are blessed with an addition to the family, he learns.

My husband is going away on business for a few days, so today I'm going to the orphanage. I have talked with three shelters, emailed my applications, and am meeting a few prospects today. I have a tentative appointment to meet with a second tomorrow. What do you think are the odds that I fall in love with the first dog I meet? What do you think would happen if I brought home more than one?

I'm nervous. I have to go to work tomorrow. What if the baby has an accident while I'm gone? Well, an accident I can clean up, but what if the baby chews a chair or a rug? There would be precious little chance that my husband would overcome his disability any time soon if there was any evidence like that when he got home. And how will the baby do on it's first day at home alone?

Days before my first child was born I told my doctor that I was terrified. I had absolutely no idea how to be a mother. I didn't even know how to fold diapers. (I guess that statement dates me, eh?) What if the baby gets sick? What if he/she wouldn't eat? What would I do?

That baby has lived fairly healthily and happily to the age of 30. Her baby brother is 28. They survived my learn-as-you-go mothering quite well, possibly in part because they grew up with pets. Dogs, cats, fish, a bird, even a mud puppy. I'm proud to say I have two granddogs now, though I seldom get to visit them. My 86 year old mother has adopted a four-legged youngin', who is definitely part of the family and my brothers both have dogs and cats.

Wish me luck in this venture. My only hesitance is that bringing a bundle of joy into the house may cause my husband angst. On the other hand, we've been married two and a half years and I've wanted a pet the whole time. Surely compromise would say that it's time to have one now. (Oh, how I can justify). Surely he would come to love a little darling - I mean, who could resist?

That unconditional love that only a four-legged family member can bestow, the devotion, the peace that comes with just stroking him, the lessons learned from him about play and joy and acceptance - you just can't get that anywhere else. It's blood pressure medicine for the soul.

I'll let you know how it turns out.


  1. Good luck!

    You could take a day off work to spend time with your new love and family member couldn't you? Work is perhaps the worst idea humans came up with and the love of dogs predates it. It is probably in the Magna Carta (Clause K9) about always having the day off when your dog needs attention.

  2. Yes, I believe it's also the 11th commandment. Actually, she should come to work with me. I already have determined she's a better therapist than I am!
    I do like the way you think, Tao!

  3. Be sure to extol the quality of life and increased longevity of the parents of canines.