Friday, May 18, 2012

I can't win

So lately I've been really, really missing the presence of a dog in my life.  I miss my own dog so badly, every single day.  I miss her wagging tail, her constant happiness to see me, and I miss the presence of a companion like a dog.  I love my cats more than anything, but it's simply not the same. 

I thought it would be a long, long time before I would consider getting another dog.  I'd told myself that maybe in a year, when my car was paid off.  Trade one large expense for one hopefully much more reasonable one.  I figured that would give me a year of time to recover from the loss of my baby.  A year to be the person I couldn't be without a dog:  the one who goes out after work without worrying about a dog walker.  The one who can go out of town unexpectedly if wanted.  The one who can spend all night out and about and not feel guilty about it.

But then I started hanging around dogs again.  Dogs of friends.  Puppies.  Adults.  In betweens.  Big dogs, small dogs.  And I miss it.  I miss it fiercely.  I miss the routine of it.  I miss the unconditional love.  I miss the comfort dogs offer. 

So.  I started sneaking glances at animal shelters online.  Checking out local dogs up for adoption.  Just looking a little bit.  Then I actually followed up about a couple yesterday.  My stomach did flip flops while I did all of this, and when the contact person for one of the dogs got in touch last night, I was nervous.  I felt like I was cheating on my dog somehow.  Like getting another dog would overshadow her memory.

I went through the phone interview.  It's a shelter with a pretty thorough process.  She asked me a lot of questions about what I was looking for in a dog, and about the environment the dog would come into.  She asked about how long I'm away from home each day, and I told her the truth.  I leave at about 7:15 and get back about 6:15.  It's a long day.

I'd never really thought about it.  My dog was older and slept a ton, and so the long days weren't an issue for her.  Anytime before she got really senior like that I'd lived with someone, usually someone who was home more often and could take her out and break up the monotony of the day.  But now it's just me.  It's just me and my stupidly long day, mostly because of my commute.

My work day is 7.5 hours.  But I'm gone for about 11 because of my commute in and out of the city.  I can't change it.  The most I could do is take a bus to the Metro about 15-20 minutes later in the morning, but that would mean no stops before work for coffee or oatmeal, and if Metro glitches, I'm definitely late.  Not ideal.  I absolutely can't do anything about my arrival time after work as I bustle out of here as it is, and still can't get home before 6:05 at the earliest.  It is what it is.

I'm frustrated.  I know it's irrational, but I feel like this is just another way the world is punishing me for being single.  Because I'm alone, because it's just me and I have a job in the city and I live in the suburbs and I don't want a random roommate as a 33 year old adult, I am not an ideal dog owner.  If I was better off financially I could change this because I could swing a dog walker every day, but I can't.  Okay, I probably could if I budgeted for it, and especially once my car is paid off I could.  But in the meantime, not easy.

Sometimes it just feels like I am not enough on my own for anything.  I'm not present enough or wealthy enough or accommodating enough to be a good caretaker for a dog because my life isn't wrapped up in a nice little box of my own design.  Really, can't I just have this one thing and not have it be contingent on needing someone else?

There are so many dogs out there that need a home and need the love that I have to offer, and yet I feel like my hands are tied because I am only one person.  Maybe I really am just better off tabling this for a year.  Then I will have a chunk of money freed up to go towards a monthly dog walking package, and I won't feel like I am in inadequate dog person for having the life I do.

I just hate the idea that everything I want in life has to be put on hold for this vague hope of finding someone to move forward with.  I shouldn't get a dog until I have someone else to be around to help me take care of it.  I shouldn't buy a home because what if the person I meet has a home and one of us has to get rid of it.  I should be the changeable one, the temporary one, the one who relocates my life and preferences and desires for someone else, LIKE I ALWAYS HAVE. 

What about what I want?  What about the fact that I'm tired of waiting on the what ifs?  What if there is no what if?  What if I am just destined to be alone for a month? A year?  Five years?  Do I really want to keep putting my life on hold for the possibility of something better?

I don't need to buy a place right now.  I'm generally okay with waiting on that one.  But damn, I want a dog.  Now, or in six months or a year, I want a dog, and I don't want to feel like I am not enough to do that on my own.

Sometimes I just want to give in to the hand I've been dealt.  The one where I rent indefinitely, throwing thousands of dollars away.  The one where I am not suited to be a dog person anymore.  The one where I am beholden to no one and nothing, where I go out just because I can and I don't come back sometimes just because I don't have to.  The one where I'm single so screw it, I can do whatever I want.  No one can tell me what to do or suggest I grow my hair out or make me go to awkward work functions I don't want to go to, or make me feel bad about watching too much junk TV on a weekend, or having ice cream for dinner. 

I want to do everything I couldn't do if I had the life I think I want in my head., the life of being in a happy relationship, in a home I love with a dog I love and my cats wrestling around.  If I'm alone and accountable to no one, then I can kiss all the strangers I want, I can go out and drive for 3 hours and go nowhere.  I can go on 20 dates in a month and not give a damn about any of them, or I can be a recluse for a month and not give a damn about that either. 

Times like this make me feel reckless and unmoored.  I can't get anything I want by doing everything theoretically right, so I may as well just do everything blatantly wrong. 

Boy, this post turned into something else.  I guess I am even more frustrated than I realized. 



  1. I loved my dogs growing up. I don't have any pets, for several reasons, but if I could get a large dog, I would. It's not practical for me right now and I do the same thing: well, if I had roommates (no way)/husband to help, if I had more money for a dog walker, if I had a place with a yard... yadda yadda yadda. That's not my reality and it can be really frustrating to me, too. Do you think maybe volunteering at Saturday adoption day for PetCo or PetsMart would be an acceptable alternative for now, like until your car is paid off? I've thought about doing this before because every time I go, these pups are so happy to be inundated with my attention and it makes me so happy to see them happy. Of course I leave wanting to adopt them all but maybe just being around dogs a day a week would be gratifying for the time-being?

  2. I have thought about that. I just know that, in particular, if I'm going somewhere where there are dogs I know need homes, its going to be really hard for me to not want to bring one home.

    I'm really torn. A year feels like a really, really long time to wait, but its not going to be financially smart to do on my own until then.

    I really wish I could stomach the idea of a roommate, as I could save SO MUCH MONEY. Sometimes I wonder if I'm being ridiculous by not even considering it, but I love having my own space. I think that comes from years of sharing space with various boyfriends and never really totally living on my own, in a place no one can even remotely claim, until this year.

  3. I hear ya on the roommate thing. And now that I've lived on my own for 5 years, I can't imagine taking on roommates. Financially, soooo much smarter but sanity-wise, I can't do it and you can't put a price on your sanity. I also hate the whole scrambling to find a new place to live if the roommate decides to move in with their SO or move out of the area. That's just so stressful to me. I always thought if I bought a place with two bedrooms I would consider bringing someone in to help with the mortgage and then if they left, I wouldn't be homeless. I'm not even sure I would do that unless I was really strapped. On the other hand, having the RIGHT roommates can be a lot of fun, too.