6 Things A Week of Dog Sitting Taught Me About Being A Human

Nov. 14, 2012
Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 4.48.25 PM 1Stephanie White lives in New York City. She has curly hair and horrible handwriting.

1. I’m really picky. I already knew I was picky when it came to my taste in men, but who knew I was so picky when it came to my taste in man’s best friend?! Not me. I literally have to fake my interest in most other dogs in an effort to not come off as some sort of heartless, frigid bitch. I used to think of myself as true “dog person” but it turns out I’ve been living an absolute lie. I’m more of a “Labrador person” or a “medium-sized-dog-who’s-mellow-and-doesn’t-bark-at-the-sound-of-wind person.” You know those people who squeal/yell/cry/use baby talk when any/all dogs come within petting distance? I am not one of those people. Apparently it takes a while for me to warm up to canines, which makes sense because it takes me even longer to warm up to most humans.

2. I’m impatient. And obviously caring for another living thing requires immense amounts of patience, which apparently I do not possess! Taking this dog on three walks a day and waiting for her to go #1 and #2 was just about as fun as it sounds. I can only imagine how horrible it would be if the roles were reversed and someone was tugging on my leash to “hurry up and go already!” Sometimes I would try using a deeper, more assertive voice to command her to “go potty” but I’m pretty certain this just made me sound like a person getting into character for an off-color monologue or something. Apparently I’m impatient AND a terribly weak authoritative figure. There goes my political career!

3. I attract creepy older men. This, of course, I already knew. However, I seem to attract creepy old men far more quickly and in dramatically higher quantities when my wing-woman is a canine. And I’ve noticed that it’s way easier to avoid/dodge creepy old guys when I’m sans-canine. Dogs tend to linger, sniff, lick, and do other affectionate things that encourage loitering from the demographic I so desperately try to avoid. I know innocent Ella was just being friendly and was merely an innocent pawn in this uncomfortable/unrequited game. However I think I’m guilty of having channeled a large amount of resentment towards the poor pup. Now who’s the bitch? (Hint: I’m the bitch).

4. I’m not so great at sharing. Ella is rather large and she has absolutely no concept of personal space. She’d walk in on me going to the bathroom, she’d wait for me/trip me/nearly kill me each time I exited the shower, she’d trample me in bed, and she’d knock me over every time I had food in my hand. Basically she taught me how much I value having control over my space. And she also reminded me that unless you’re my boyfriend, I probably don’t want to spoon with you. Especially if you have that much back hair.

5. I hate/am awful at small talk. Sure sure, dog parks exist to provide a space for dogs to run around and play or whatever, but I swear they’re mostly a place where people can look forward to making small talk and humblebragging about their pets. And whenever there’s a situation where small talk is expected, I tend to enter either one of two modes: 1) personality removal mode, in which my personality literally disappears and I’m left with an avatar version of myself who has a two word vocabulary consisting of “cool” and “totally” OR 2) fake personality mode, in which I appear overly excited and intrigued by everything the people around me are saying, making it quite obvious that my level of enthusiasm is neither sustainable nor genuine. And I must say, the only thing worse than being forced to make small talk is being forced to make small talk in confined, gated settings filled with dog poop.

6. I have intimacy issues. As the owner of the dog I was sitting forewarned me, “Ella just loves to snuggle.” When I first heard about her snuggling habits, I found the idea endearing and was looking forward to all of our cozy moments together. But when the time came for me to actually “snuggle” with her, I had like ZERO interest in doing so. Maybe it was because she’s not MY dog and I’m just so incredibly loyal and modogamous (get it??) that I can’t bring myself to show love towards a dog that isn’t technically mine. Or maybe I have a hard time showing affection towards other mammals PERIOD. My money is on the latter, which just confirms all of my major relationship fears/anxieties/hang ups and leaves me feeling entirely too introspective. Thanks for that girl! TC Mark

Stephanie White

Stephanie White

Stephanie White lives in New York City. She has curly hair and horrible handwriting.

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