today we got a dog.
i am not a dog person.
to be technical, sam and autumn and the babies got a dog. which means once a month for a week i now have a dog to love and care for.
this morning his name was dewie. up until a few weeks ago he lived in an apartment, and was too big and excited and awesome to be there. then he lived at the humane society.
now his name is bran, a good irish name, which is what all new beings to this home immediately receive. bran is house trained, but has no other visible forms of obedience. he loves chewing children’s toys, but he is discerning, showing zero interest in the dog toys that came with him. he barks at the fire as if putting another living creature in it’s place. he is mostly sleek black labrador, but has a slight sagginess to him that is apparently from his ‘coon hound lineage, as well as white paws and lots of spots, including one at the very tip of his long tail. he likes going outside, but doesn’t appear to feel any obligation to pee. he is playful and incredibly sweet and keeps bumping up against me until i scratch his hips.
he is ten months old, the same age as mairead, the youngest child here. mairead is the least interested in him. siobhan has tried twice to mount him, and keeps asking in wonder, ‘do we have a dog?’, while finn tries tirelessly to engage the dog in the massive overly directed production called finn’s imagined life.
i had my dog already. her name was sugarfoot because she was all black with white paws. we reveled in her mutt-ness, it matched our family. she was small and perfect, untrained, not interested in barking or conflict. we grew up with her, and when we went to college she became the primary confidant of both of my parents. during my last visit home before she died she took me out to look at the stars and we had closure. i knew i’d never need or want another dog.
i am not a dog person, i just loved her.
i am not a hater of creatures, not ever. in fact i am mostly not a dog (or cat, ferret, parrot, snake, mouse, or other pet) person because of my deep belief in freedom. the domestication of animals who cannot reason or choose such dependence has always felt like an entrapment. and particularly dogs, who love so thoroughly…how can humans ever earn that love enough to justify taking the wilderness away?
i know i am centuries late in this argument. still.
and yet…i loved sugarfoot. i grieved her death, i still get caught up if i find a hair in some parental storage or her picture comes up on my screen saver, and it’s been a decade since she passed.
and i love when i see people who truly love wild and unreasonable creatures, somehow domesticated and found. i see the difference when it is truly cross-species love. there are my politics and and then there is the current complex world.
and these kids are the kind of kids who will do well to love and care for a dog. my sister and brotherinlaw are the kind of people who will be soothed and amused and enlivened by the presence of this creature.
but of course i was surprised when i saw this dog in the yard and my heart trilled a bit. and then when he made eye contact and looked familiar. and then when i needed to take him on a walk, one on one, and i was giggling as he dragged me along. and then let him lay on my floor futon, albeit flipped over so he isn’t touching where i sleep. he loves it. he already, with some suspicion, but genuinely, seems to love me.
i don’t know. he’s awfully sweet. and curious, young, full of life. i am not a dog person. i was a sugarfoot person. maybe a decade is long enough to grieve and release and be loyal. maybe i can consider this friendship? maybe i can be a bran person.
we’ll see. regardless, we have a dog.