“…a half-dog high and a dog-and-a-half long.”
So I got a puppy a little over a month ago. And so far, it’s been a pretty awesome decision. I’ve wanted one for a long time. I was always planning on getting a French Bulldog and naming him The Colonel but it was way off in the distant future. My girlfriend would bring it up once or twice a week “I thought you said you were getting a dog.” I would make some excuse about how I would do it after I got paid for this or have that settled down or how I was waiting for the right moment. It was all bullshit.
And then one day it hit me: What am I doing? Why am I putting off the one thing I really want to do when everyday I readily accept shit that I don’t want to do? I thought I had priorities…so then I just did it. I got the cash from an ATM, picked it up from some family and named it after an elephant. We walked around Petsmart in the leash and collar we hadn’t even bought yet.
I only get to see her on the weekends and it breaks my heart. For some reason, I’ve been a very cold person my whole life. You can imagine the problems that has created. But it’s started to go away. I sprint inside to see her. She sits on my chest when I do situps. She licks the phone when she hears me talking to her mommy from LA. She had a reaction to her shots last week and I spent all day in a fit that made it impossible to work. When you come home after leaving her by herself you can see the marks on the floor length mirror where she tried to play with that other puppy that keeps teasing her. She drinks from her water dish too fast and then she gets the hiccups…every single morning.
Who knows, maybe it won’t work out. Maybe it will be a stupid decision. I’ll take responsibility for that. I’ll clean up whatever mess I create for myself. I’ll try not to justify or rationalize or project whatever the ramifications are. If something happens between my girlfriend and I, I’ll navigate whatever difficulties come up. All that is just logistics. And logistics–well, they’re nothing to live your live by.
If you can find something that brings you joy or contentment that isn’t destructive or dangerous, I think you should do it. My benchmark has always been this: When you’re sitting alone, quietly, your mind blank and unfocused–does it bring you peace? If your answer to that question is yes then you have found something rare, something that should be followed until it ends. Even if it’s fleeting.
Now imagine what it must be like to have your first child then? I’m constantly hearing all the same pride and love from a couple of new parents that I know.
Which leads me to perhaps an interesting talking point inspired by your comment: “Who knows, maybe it won’t work out. Maybe it will be a stupid decision. I’ll clean up whatever mess I create for myself.”
This got me thinking about the parent/child corollary…
What I find interesting is that our culture doesn’t seem to have too much of a problem with giving up a pet to a shelter if it turns out to be the “wrong decision”. Afterall, getting a pet is often a somewhat spontaneous decision, and I’d hazard a guess that this is partly because it’s easy to make “the problem” go away later.
And on the other side, many children are born into situations (reasons other than spontaneity exist of course) where they’re raised in environments of damaging neglect because they “turn out to be problems” for their parents.
So if the feelings towards pets can be so similar to those we have for children, why then the contradictions in how we choose to deal with these situations?
Some of the answers to that question are obvious I suppose, whether they make sense to our morality or not. I guess it just strikes me as odd that human nature can look at nearly identical situations and have such differing reactions to them.
I’m not even sure what exactly it is that I’m trying to say here (I did only call it a “talking point” afterall).
You’re clearly commited to accepting the ramifications of your decision and dealing with it come hell or high water, which rational people would consider the only path.
It’s too bad that this isn’t always the case though. Whether it’s pets or children, there are often victims of irresponsibility simply because others don’t wish to accept it for themselves.
Anyhow, another great post Ryan…hope I didn’t kill the buzz.
I’ve got the same puppy, except in black and brown colors. I named it Hulk. It’s the only thing that brings me pure, unconditional joy in my life, and even though it’s likely I’ll lose it to an ex-girlfriend (and rightfully so. She takes better care of it) I don’t regret it for a second.
I like your line: “When you’re sitting alone, quietly, your mind blank and unfocused–does it bring you peace?” I find myself describing this to people all the time. Although, I’d add a slight change to the “mind blank and unfocused” part because up until the moment I drift off to sleep, my mind is rarely blank. I am most at peace when I am quietly lost in my thoughts. Even stressful thoughts like love and money can bring me great contentment if I am free from interruption so that I can thoroughly process everything. It happens to me at weird times too, like at the gym as I’m lying down to do a bench press set. I think it’s the most important happiness in life to be content in your own mind.
Sadly, it is on this very point where a vast majority of the people find a disconnect with my beliefs.
I personally am not a fan of how you Rudius writers seem to talk about your dogs all the time.
I guess some readers think it’s cute. It doesn’t do it for me.
You should make a baby.