Some Initial Thoughts on Having a Dog

Now that it’s starting to sink in that my dog is a permanent fixture in my life, I’m starting to absorb some of its implications.

One is that I’m grateful that my dog’s “problems”, for lack of a better word, are relatively few, minor, and manageable — and likely correctable (if not outgrow…able?).

Another is that I’m easy on myself for whatever mistakes I may make with him, because I feel certain that his life with me in just one week has been so much more stimulating — as far as places he’s seen and beings he’s met — than all his time with his previous family, if what they told me about keeping him full-time in the backyard is true.

So far his life with me has looked something like this:

DAY 1: On the evening I picked him up, his first stop was to visit friends and their dog in Queens. After they sent us away with some supplies, his next stop was at an Alphabet City bar whose crowd surrounded him with love.

DAY 2: He explored my neighborhood and made his first of now-regular visits to the local dog park. I can tell he hasn’t spent a lot of time around many dogs — as he’s shy and clings to my security — but his intensive in socialization has now begun.

DAY 3: He went to Manhattan and visited another pair of friends and their dog. They offered more supplies and invaluable advice. Then he went to my mom’s house, where he met family that was immediately smitten by him.

DAY 4: He met a great many more people (and a few dogs) at the Burning Man container load-out in Jersey City, and then he got to ride out to Brooklyn in a 26-foot truck. On the way back, he stopped at my cousin’s house in Staten Island to make her and her husband’s acquaintance.

DAY 5: He attended a pool party, where he went swimming and met many more people (and yes, another dog).

DAY 6: He went to the vet.

The more I think about all the places and people he’s seen, the more I think, ‘Wow, look at all the places and people I’ve seen.’ My dog is reminding me of what a great life I have, and I realize that to ensure that he has the best possible life means ensuring that I do as well.

Lastly, I had a revelation that for some time now I’ve been wanting very much to love and be loved by somebody. I’ve also been not liking that I want this, because I want to be free of desire and expectations. I got this dog just because I thought it would bring even more joy to my life. But what I’m realizing is that now I do have something I love on a very deep level, something that loves me like its life depends on it — because its life does depend on it. And suddenly, I don’t feel so needy.