Am I Responsible Enough To Have A Dog?
I want a dog. I want a man’s best friend to take on long walks in the park, to snuggle with in bed, and lay around the house with. I grew up having them around and am absolutely obsessed. I can’t even bother with cats because they’re such divas. If I wanted to have something that ignored me, I would just give birth to a teenager.
I’m that idiot dude who has to stop every time he sees a cute canine walking down the street and make those silly pet voices, “Oh my god, my precious darling sauce! Look at that little sunflower doggie!” Their owners see me barreling towards them and run for the hills, yanking their dog by the chain. I don’t blame them. I can get a little overzealous. But I can’t help it! I just love them so much! I want one of my own! But am I responsible enough to have one? I’m not sure.
In college, I only knew one person who owned a dog and she was this I-N-S-A-N-E rich girl who had NO business having one. She lived alone in a two bedroom apartment in the West Village and made the second bedroom her dog’s playpen. Even though the apartment was chic, it always reeked of piss and dog shit because she was too lazy to ever walk it. She would just lay down wee-wee pads and hope for the best! During the day she would take it to Doggie Day Care (even though she only had school for little chunks of time) and sometimes leave it there overnight if she didn’t feel like picking it up. Depressed and neglected, the dog eventually tried to kill itself by overdosing on the girl’s Xanax. Miraculously, it survived, which I’m sure the dog was pissed about, and the girl told everyone at school about it the next day.
“My dog like OD’d on my Xanax last night,” she said in this crazy deadpan Valley Girl voice that was incapable of registering any emotion other than indifference. “It’s really sad. Rushed her to St. Vincent’s and she’s okay but like…so traumatizing.”
The whole situation disgusted me. After seeing how irresponsible of a dog owner she was, I vowed to never get a dog until I knew for certain that I wouldn’t kill it. I spent most of my college years too hungover to move my body, let alone take a dog out for a walk. Since I’ve graduated, my life has considerably mellowed out but I’m still unsure if I should get one. My apartment is tiny, I travel a bunch, and I like to have the freedom of doing whatever I want, when I want. Having a dog would definitely change that.
My roommate also wants a dog, which makes it even more tempting to adopt one. Sometimes, when we get drunk, we’ll be like “Oh my god, we’re getting a dog. No, I’m serious. We need one. We’ll make it work. Team effort. We’re getting one tomorrow!” And then the next day, when we’re rolling out of bed at noon and dreaming of pad thai, we’ll laugh about how ridiculous we were. “Clearly we’re not fit enough to be pet owners.”
I want to be responsible enough to care for a living thing. I want to have something that depends on me but I also don’t want to spend a ton of money and invest in a life for selfish reasons. Sometimes I think having a dog will force me to make the final transition to being a grown up but that seems silly and unfair. It’s like those teen mothers who have children just so they can have somebody to love and that loves them. Good luck with that!
Someday I will adopt a little pug guy and we will live happily ever after. I’ll get married to some dreamboat and we’ll all live together in some impossibly chic brownstone. We’ll take the dog for four hour walks just so people can be totally jealous of our lives. “Look at that well-adjusted gay couple with a dog! A DOG!” And we’ll let out a smug laugh and keep walking. We”ll keep doing this until everyone in the neighborhood knows just how stable we are. And then when we get home, we’ll do the family Christmas cards and take photos of us holding the dog in ugly sweaters! And then I’ll just kill myself.
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.