Even with billions of people on this planet, humans are lonely. Why else would we find small creatures, clean them up, put leashes on them, and take them for walks? Why would we let them sit in the passenger's side of the car and talk to them the entire trip down to LA? Why would we buy them sweaters and special bowls and fluffy beds? Why would we mourn them when they were gone, refusing to even buy a rat because the grief of losing a creature is just too much?
I don't have a dog now and haven't had a dog since I lived at my mother's home, but if I ever anthropomorphize, it was when Pippin was alive, our Doberman. Pippin, as far as I could see, was a person, had a personality (slightly sneaky but caring), loved us (enough to take nips out of those who seemed to be after us. Pippin took care of us, watched over us, and was a part of the family. She even smiled. It was a scary Doberman smile, one that made my mother afraid at first--that raised lip, those exposed teeth--but it was a smile.
My friend Karen had a dog named Martin whose smile used to make me walk away from her front door until I realized it was a smile. Smiles can be dangerous.
I am not a dog person--my last pets were cats. My boys grew up with cats, and in the last three years, I've had to put two cats to sleep. So I'm not in the mood for an animal, much less a dog, who would pine because of my strange hours away and my travel. Even though I am lonely in that human-need way sometimes, just wanting that warm animal body to sit next to me on the couch, I don't think I can take care of another life right now.
Also--and this is crucial--I don't want to deal with poo. Separately, I walk with two friends regularly who bring their dogs along with them on our walks. Because we are walking in a park area, one carries the requisite plastic bag (my other friend is a renegade dog poo person, letting Mickey poo where he wants, and I worry we are going to get caught by a homeowner with a rake!). Often we end the walk with a warm bag of poo. Now, this is somewhere I don't want to go. I have had babies, done the cloth diaper routine, and I've seen enough poo for a lifetime. I've had kitty litter boxes in the past as well, but mostly, cats are really wonderful caretakers of their own poo. We don't have to deal with it.
But dogs? I have seen things on the trail that boggle the imagination. And I just won't even tell you because it might be close to your breakfast time.
But I love dogs, feel the craving we have for them, these sentient creatures who are smarter than people in so many ways. I have dog longing sometimes, looking across traffic and seeing the man and dog in the car. There will be the dog sitting in the car seat, looking out the window,fur blown back by the wind, tongue hanging out, a canine smile on its face. There is nothing and no one who loves the person driving the car like that dog, and the person carries on a conversation with the dog, stroking it, patting it. The dog is having the best day of all time, just like every day, because the dog is out with its person, that very thing being exactly and perfectly enough.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org