There are two kinds of people in the world. Dog people and Cat people. I am definitely NOT the latter! When asked I’ve always thrown myself into the dog box, no hesitation, until…I got a dog.
Now growing up my family always had dogs, and I always loved them. And we didn’t have little toy anything, when I say we had dogs, I mean we had DOGS! Great big ones! The bigger the better, so I never grew up afraid to be around large dogs, or made uneasy by them. None of that has changed in my adulthood. I still like my dogs big and intimidating. What’s changed since my childhood are the laws in which dogs must be maintained nowadays.
I grew up in the south so granted the weather was pretty moderate. No reason a dog shouldn’t make it out the house every day down there no matter the breed. However when caring for a big dog in the south the norm would be to keep the sucker tied to the biggest tree in the back yard (with enough chain or rope of course to allow him to freely roam his domain). We seldom walked the dogs, as they spent everyday outside, rain or shine.
The typical backyard setup was as follows: dog, chain, tree, doghouse, food dish, bucket of water. In the small town I grew up in that was all you needed to care for a dog, and from what I remember they (the dogs) were generally very happy. Of all the dogs we had…I never remember a single one, stepping foot into the house.
Fast forward into my adulthood. I’m 29, newly divorced, and desperately trying to prove to our children that I’m the cooler more fun parent to be with. I promised my son that when Mommy bought a house he could have a dog. Four months after closing, Muscogee enters our lives. Chocolate brown, vanilla frosted, and adorable. He won our hearts right away.
Now, puppies are like little children, I hear this all the time now, but no one was saying that before I got the dang dog! I could have easily figured out that this wasn’t for me if someone had taken the time to break that one simple little truth down to me ahead of time. I had two children already and was a new divorcee…why the heck would I want another child at that point?!
I expected a companion, you know, like ‘man’s best friend and all that, what I got was a hundred pound toddler! I was sooo not prepared for it. The crying, the pooping, the peeing, just like a little baby. The worst part of it was, I didn’t live in the south anymore. A dog can’t stay outside year round in our climate. Actually it’s getting so that a dog can’t stay outside period, but that’s coming up latter.
There are so many laws governing the treatment of these animals; what an owner can do and what we can’t. Honestly I dont walk my dog in my neighborhood because I refuse to be one of those people walking behind my dog picking up…well…poop! I thought it was ridiculous before I had a dog and having one (and smelling just how bad it is) hasn’t convinced me of anything different. You can’t keep your dog outside if he barks and disturbs your neighbors, even if you explain to them that he just needs to get used to being outside alone. They are even about to pass a law that says your dog can’t be chained while in the yard. Are you kidding me? Break one of the rules and see how fast a phone call is made and your animal is taken away.
When it comes to my neighborhood I feel like I’m always being watched. I’ve already heard rumors of one neighbor’s plot to have my dog taken from me because he thought I hadn’t left water in his water dish. Couldn’t be that the dog himself knocked it over, after I had left the house, but none the less, I feel like I have to keep him hidden away. Sometimes I just keep the dog inside to keep the prying eyes off me. And once we do come out, there are those dang rules…that I don’t follow.
“No I didn’t pick up that pound of dog crap he just left…it’s in the grass where it’s supposed to be!.”
“No I don’t brush my dog’s teeth OR send him to the groomers.”
“No, I didn’t put a doggie sweater on him…he’s wearing the coat God gave him today.”
This whole thing is getting unbearable, and my house stinks of dog poop cause the poor guy still isn’t house broken yet. I feel bad cause this isn’t the dog’s fault. I’m the one who wants to stay out all night if the mood suits me. I’m the one who wants to work late and make a little overtime. I’m the one who wants to fill her day as well as her nights with as many activities as possible. Dare I say it? Am I not a dog person?
Recently I have been brought to the conclusion, I am NOT a dog person! I love my Scogee dearly, but I just can not bear sharing my home with an animal. I hate the smell, the extra chore of cleaning up after him, and honestly, I really don’t even enjoy the companionship all that much. When I have a quite moment to myself the last thing I want is a hundred pound puppy (who obviously still thinks he’s twenty pounds) jumping onto my lap trying to get a belly rub outta me.
Why continue then, if I’m so miserable? I do it because I have to, but that only serves to make me that much more resentful and disenchanted. I don’t want to send him to the pound cause there is no guarantee that he won’t be euthanized, which I couldn’t bear. I’ve tried giving him away but no one seems to want him. A used dog is about as useful as a worn out pair of gym shoes, only the gym shoes don’t smell as bad.
Ultimately I think I may be stuck with the old boy. I tell myself that he is a test to my capacity to love and be loved. He didn’t ask to be here. He didn’t ask for me to be his owner. He can’t care for himself. He truly needs me and is depending on my capacity to love. Seems like every time I look into those puppy eyes I melt. There is no question I love him, and one thing’s for sure is he’s got a lot of love to give in return. Perhaps this Goddess is being tested for the patience to care for the needs of her own helpless creation. A test of sacrifice, a test of discipline. I sure hope I don’t fail.
Aset Musheera (Shemeka Hollis) is a DC artist, poet, essayist, mother, sister, student, lover, awesome best-friend, and enthusiastic liver of life. She revels in the journey of the life experience and encourages everyone to explore the inner passions keep tucked away in the vessel we mistake for our identity. She is silly. She is cogent. She is loving. She is present in this experience. She IS. Bless