A few months ago, on the phone to my mom, I said "we slept in today." My mom said, "WE??" (As in, who is this other person that is a "we" that you've neglected to mention until just this very minute?) The we I referred to was me and my Lulu dog. I don't let men spend the whole night because I don't like to cook breakfast or make morning small talk. And if I did, I probably wouldn't drop it on my mother so casually.
pointed out that I am "we" with my dog in a way that I've
never been with a person, a love, a guy. Then I stumbled across this article on Salon, which puts the woman/dog relationship in such beautiful perspective it made me feel like I knew the person who wrote it because she could be me:
"Tova and I became a "we": We’re moving in the spring;
we sleep late on Sundays; we favor cafés with outdoor patios. I’d never
been a "we" with anyone else: There had been me and there had been him,
and there had always been more him than me. Love meant indulgence. But
all those times I made Tova sit for her supper, all those tussles in the
dog park that I broke up, all those moments I pulled her to my heel and
let the squirrels go by—that was love."
(from "My best relationship is with my dog" by Laura Bogart, Salon.com)
Like Bogart, I have considered that I might be using my dog as armor, as another reason not to get too attached to another person in my life. An excuse not to make room for someone else. Considered, then dismissed. This is what I want from my life right now. I love the simplicity. I'm rarely lonely, and if I am, it's only for a fleeting second. I listen to friends talk about their relationships and, rather than making me wistful and wonder why I avoid intimacy, it makes me grateful for the every day that I have right now. It's easy to live in the moment when you don't have to work to maintain a marriage or long-term relationship. My dog is not a "stepping stone" to a "real" relationship. In fact, I have made real and lasting connections with other people because of my dog; being out and about with her makes it easy to talk to strangers. She makes it easy for my introvert self to put on the extrovert cloak for a while, gives me a reason to smile at people I pass on the street, and she's a hell of a social dog, which makes it harder for me to be antisocial.
I never thought I would be a dog person. And now I can't imagine not having mine in my life. And this, this one line from Bogart's piece after meeting her dog, brought me back to the cold November night in 2008 when I met my little one for the first time and she buried her tiny face in my neck and I was a goner: "I have no idea what I’m in for, but I’ve never been more certain of anything."