Dating and The Dog

Let me preface this by saying I love dogs. I love all animals, but in my heart I truly love dogs most. If I could afford it I would live somewhere with oodles of acreage so that I could have the ability to rescue dogs from shelters night and day.

That being said, I actually only have one dog. More like a quarter of a dog, if we are judging by size. I’ve seen footballs larger than my dog. But he is mine, and I am his and all that koo-koo-ka-choo.

When I state “I am his”, I mean it. He won my heart over with his hyper bouncing antics when I went to the shelter. I was suffering from a broken heart, and another dog I was meant to rescue slipped thru my fingers, only causing more heartache. This tiny little guy who had to have special fencing in his kennel because he could otherwise slip thru the bars, jumped and yipped a tiny little yip and smiled his goofy little smile, as if to say, “HAI THERE!” I passed him by, because I didn’t want to be one of those girls. You know, the ones who cart their tiny little pups around in silly clothing, carrying them as if their precious paws were simply too delicate for the likes of the ground. This guy screamed, “Dress Me! Carry Me! Pamper Me!” (For the record, I do dress him now – but only for weather. And holidays. Oh, and special events. – OK, I AM one of those girls.)

I passed him again, and again he grinned at me, and bounced and made his buggy little eyes, even larger. I stopped and talked with him and laughed at his antics and then asked the shelter assistant if I could look at him. Long story short – I immediately fell in love and completed the paperwork that day.

I was amazed and taken back when the shelter approved me on the spot (I had been having a helluva time getting accepted by a rescue foundation, because I was single and working. Two of the largest sins when it comes to rescue foundations.). So taken aback, that I actually hemmed and hawed. This isn’t a sale item, that given you don’t like it later, can go to the back of your closet. This was like passing an adorable little street urchin in the street, commenting on the cuteness and then being offered to take the child home to raise as your own.

Slow down! Ya move too fast!

I panicked and made excuses to buy me time. Truth be told, I wasn’t physically prepared for a dog that day, so my excuses weren’t far from the truth. For the next four days I talked to everyone. I weighed his opinion, and hers and theirs and wrote pros and cons lists. I wanted the dog, but did I want the responsibility? No more drinks directly after work, because I had to head home to walk the dog. No more impromptu weekends away, because I had the dog to consider. Was this a flash in the pan thought? Was this my grieving heart trying to find solace? Yes on all counts, and on the fifth day I headed back to the shelter with my newly purchased leash and my adorable little kennel carrier (which he has only allowed to be placed in ONCE, and that was the day I took him home) and picked up my new dog.

Dogs are tricky little bastards. They inherently know they are being judged, so for the first two weeks you have this wonderful dog, you’ll feel like Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer. Why look at how well dogs respond to you, you might think. I’m a natural at this, your ego will tell you. No tugging on the leash, no potty in the house, and look at those polite eating habits. Then the third week sets in, and the dog knows they are pretty set on the cushy life and like a fat man after dinner, they unbutton their pants, and let it all hang out. They crowd the bed, and pee on your favorite rug, and eat a half a cushion. Your favorite shoes are now their favorite chew toy and soon the only thought going thru your throbbing angry head is that this little bastard is heading back to the shelter! Then you look at them, and they take those invisible heartstrings you inadvertently gave them, and they tug. And tug more. You suddenly remember you didn’t like that rug all that much, and you can learn to put your shoes away, and maybe even consider a new couch.

The dog is settled in now. It’s been four months. We have a good routine, and he is mine, and as I’ve said repeatedly, I am his. Literally. His possessiveness is something I never considered while my heart was in the broken mode. Neither did I consciously think, “Little Guy will never have to worry about sharing me, because I won’t ever date again.” I should have. Because sharing is not this guy’s strong suit.

The first … date? .. let’s call it a male friend, that I had over tried everything he could to win this little guys heart. Patience, and treats, and even getting down on the cold tile floor to play with him. I had never seen my dog react like this and it put me on edge initially. All the barking! And the glaring. And following him, while nipping at his pant legs. Until finally when out of my eyeshot he fully bit, drawing blood.

Ok, Houston, we have a problem.

Other dates since then have incurred nearly the same, but no more bloodshed. I know his capabilities now. I also know what frightens him a little more, and that because he doesn’t see close physical proximity to me and other humans on a daily basis that it makes him feel he has to protect me. But I am the one in charge, and he will have to be the one to learn to deal with things.

But what happens when (and I say when, not if) I find someone that is a more permanent fixture? Have I painted myself into a corner? Yeah sort of. My time frame as it stands now is limited for long excursions from home, unless I kennel him ahead of time. No long afternoon dates that spontaneously linger into dinner dates, because someone has been holding their bladder for a while.

So it boils down to this; While people with children look for mates with the same, I find myself looking for men with dogs. Because no one understands the limitations of being owned by animal, like a dog owner.

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