The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive
 

I want a dog. It would have to be a little one to keep it at my apartment. Probably not too high energy, I am not a very high energy person and I doubt a dog will change that. But we could watch Bones together on my couch. Or sit up on the roof of my building in matching sunglasses. I would name my dog "Boyfriend" because it would be funny, but in an endearing way. I want a cute, fluffy dog so bad.

For months now, I have found myself on the verge of bursting into tears any time I so much as see a dog. I am not sure if this is my biological clock saying "Hey, you are almost 30. Time to get all maternal up in this bitch!" or maybe all that estrogen I have been putting in my system is finally kicking into gear. Driving to work in the morning can be tricky, what with neighbors walking their dogs, gotta keep both hands on the wheel. Tumblr is a field laced with landmines.

Sometimes when dog mania hits me really hard I think about what kind of dog I would want to get. Like everyone who went through an anime phase, I have wanted a Corgi for a while. Or maybe an Alaskan Klee Kai, those are adorable and the right size. I dated someone whose mom trained show Pomeranians, and no thank you to those yippy little beasts.

My parents had a Husky in the years before they had me. Her name was Mia and she was put to sleep before I can remember. Apparently she had a bad temper and would bite people, and then after she was gone my parents had me, their replacement pet. There was never discussion of getting another dog.

Growing up, the only pet I had was a beautiful orange goldfish named Angel. She killed herself by jumping out of her bowl onto the kitchen floor while we were on vacation in Wisconsin Dells. We returned home to find her lying motionless on the floor. I gave her a tearful burial in the lake outside our house, not that an inland lake was ever her habitat but it was better than flushing her. My mother kept the empty goldfish bowl in a closet for a while until it too disappeared one day, there was never discussion of getting another goldfish.

Having a pet just seems like one of those things that other people get to do, like getting manicures or having one-night stands or going to dinner parties. It feels like I was out sick the day in school they taught everyone how to keep a pet alive. I can barely keep a plant alive. No wait, scratch that, all the plants I have owned are dead and a plant is not going to cuddle you back. Fuck plants.

I know that my life would have to change significantly if I got a pet and it scares me. Responsibility scares me. Right now I am only responsible for keeping myself alive and while I am really bad at it, my continued breathing has more to do with the human body's resilience than any of my efforts. But another living being relying on me? No creature deserves that premature death sentence.

When I think about what I would need to do, I start making excuses almost immediately. Walking a dog would be okay, though I hate exercise and am not a fan of handling poop. Feeding it on a regular basis might be tough, though I could probably get into the habit. Training it would be tougher, the idea of having to punish a dog for pooping inside the apartment or chewing up something valuable seems preposterous.

I work a lot, which is bad for dogs; and I would have to be home more, stop by after work on days when I am going out. But I would have a cute dog to keep me company, waiting for me to arrive. Maybe I would want to stay home?

(Side note: moving across the country in either direction is apparently okay, but needing to check on my cute dog to make sure it is not dead is too much to ask. I am such an adult.)

So I look at Petfinder.com and there are plenty of cute dogs. But none of the types I think I would like (of course, this being based on having never had a dog before), and I have heard horror stories of pet adoption agencies requiring a background check and home inspection so rigorous, you will end up S.H.I.E.L.D. Level 9 when you complete it.

So then I think about finding a breeder, but you have to spend a lot of time calling breeders and their references (while also providing your own references) and I hate talking on the phone, so I throw my hands up for the time being.

And then I think "Maybe I could just get a stuffed dog plush toy instead. There are some cute Corgi plushes on Amazon." That is when I realize I have to stop because that line of thinking leads only to madness. Is a crazy cat lady still a crazy cat lady if all her cats are plush toys? I will take my answer off the air.

The thought has not escaped me that all this pet obsession is just my subconscious manifesting my loneliness, with a sprinkle of my depression in the mix, and transposing it to a creature who is known for unconditional love. But I will sooner be waist deep in a pack of German Shepherds than start dating again.