Today, I miss my dogs.
My roommate's job takes her to faraway places; mine takes me to the suburbs. So, I've been taking care of Charlie, her dog, this week while she jet-setted to Seattle. Charlie and I are pals now, but it wasn't always that way. He's what you'd call a recovery dog. The kind that was either mistreated or neglected, left to his own devices to live on the streets. My roommate found him years ago, and since then he doesn't take to strangers very well. I was no exception when we moved in together, even though I ooze a love for dogs. I thought that the kind of love I have for dogs was palpable; surely they could smell it. Not Charlie, though. No way. We had our standoff. He growled at me for two weeks' straight, until one night, durihg a wicked storm, he crept in my room for surrogate mothering while his real "Mom" was away. I obliged, told him that he'd be OK, and we've been buddies ever since.
I've had many dogs in my life. In fact, I can't remember a time when I didn't have one. Or two. They're like earrings. Once you have them, you feel naked without them.
If I could give a 32-year old, almost-divorced woman advice, I'd tell her not to give up her dogs. The china, who cares...never liked it anyway...the furniture, what the hell...and the house? Don't need it. There's always a studio apartment that needs to be rented somewhere. Boys, acquaintances, even some friends walk in and out of your life. But dogs...those precious pieces of unconditional, never-ending, always-giddy-to-see-you love. Fight for the dogs.
I can still smell my hound's feet...like a bag of Fritos. And, my collie...he used to bite his nails when he got nervous. He was slightly psychotic and overprotective. Sort of like the really mute and hairy brother I never had.
I tried to fill the void by fostering a pit bull back in Atlanta, but that didn't really stick. She made me sneeze like a crazy woman. And she was about 2 seconds away from killing me in my sleep. Otherwise, it would've been a match made in heaven.
I study the city dogs I see everyday. The kind of dog born and raised on concrete and small patches of grass. They're confident...they walk different, with that sort of "yeah, I know where I'm going" thing. Loud horns and cars and busy streets don't phase them at all. I suppose the dogs here really do own the place. A dog does his business, and the man in the three-piece suit stoops down to put it in a baggy. Let's face it. We humans are the city dogs' staff. No doubt about it.
I'm on the lookout. It'll be time soon...time to get another friend for 15+ years. I already have enough earrings.