Being “Dog Free” Sounds Like the Worst Idea Ever

I’ve always assumed that my life would include the companionship of at least one dog. That’s been the status quo for five decades so I feel like it’s a pretty safe bet. Then the other day I ran into a friend and she shared that when their elderly dog passes on they’re going to experiment with being dog free. This shocked me. My friend is the ultimate dog lover. But her reasoning was sound. They’re empty nesters who want more freedom in their lives to come and go without dog drama.

I totally understood the freedom part. When my husband and I go out-of-town it’s a whole scene. My son has to come and stay at our house to take care of the dogs but because his job doesn’t include time for running home to let the dogs in and out a couple of times a day our neighbor has to step in for that duty.

Then there’s always a medical issue. One of the dogs either sprains something or gets the dreaded stress-iarrhea. Of course, I could board the dogs but that always results in an acute depressive episode which then manifests itself into a physical illness which has included a case of “hysterical paralysis” where our smaller dog decided she could no longer use one leg. (The situation was immediately resolved once the dog was brought home and reunited with her favorite spot on the couch and Boar’s Head thinly sliced roast beef.)

Before we even begin to plan a vacation the first phrase we utter is, “What are we going to do about the dogs?” Now I know to non-dog people that right about now I sound crazy and you wouldn’t be wrong. When you look at the situation logically it is cuckoo. Who allows their pets to rule their lives? Me, that’s who.

I blame it on many things but I did have one friend tell me that because I had children later in life I manifested all my maternal instincts on my dogs. Hmm, maybe. But I prefer to think that I’ve always been infatuated with my dogs because, unlike other members of my family, they never get tired of hearing me talk.

My predilection for non-stop chatting stems from being the youngest of four children and wanting to be heard and then there’s the little tidbit that I’ve always found myself rather fascinating. Sadly, as it turned out, I’m the only person that thinks that. 

Now please note I did say “person” because canines, as a rule, find me captivating. At least with my dogs the more I talk the more they seem to love it. I’m not ashamed to admit that during this pandemic some of the most profound conversations I had were while I was staring into the luminous eyes of my beagle. Granted it’s technically not a conversation if you’re the only one talking but I felt like we were communicating on a higher level. 

This is why I can’t imagine my life without a dog. Who would listen to me with such rapture? Think of the pressure this would put on my husband. He would be the de facto full-time listener. I doubt our marriage could survive and I’m not throwing shade at my husband because it would be a lot for any human.

This is why, after talking it over with my beagle and bichon, I, well better make that we, have concluded that being dog free would be inconceivable. As in file that under “never going to happen because let’s get real here – I’ve got too much to talk about.