And then there were two.
My new boyfriend snores. He has to supervise all the household chores in case something isn’t being done to his satisfaction, and he thinks everything in my house is his. But despite that, we’re deliriously happy and in love.
Well, let me add this little detail first and then you can decide. His name is Griffen. He’s a dog.
I am a singleton. Almost always have been, and probably always will be. As I’ve said before, I’m not the fondest of human beings. I find that I don’t understand them a lot of the time. I don’t understand senseless destruction or hate. Or manipulation. It’s partially why I love animals so much, because their motivations are so pure. In fact, recently, when someone suggested to me that perhaps what was missing from my life was a relationship, I laughed and said, “My stronger inclination is to get a dog.”
It wouldn’t be the first. We had a dog when I was growing up, a miniature poodle whose name was Coquette. My parents got her for me when I started crying that I wanted one when I was 6 or 7. Of course, at that age, Coquette became my mother’s dog more so than mine. She lived to be 17, and that was the end. There were no more after that, mostly because I lived in places where dogs weren’t allowed.
When I got to Bainbridge, I initially lived in an apartment complex where certain buildings were designated pet friendly, though not mine. But anyway, I was just getting my bearings in a brand new place and a dog was a lifestyle I knew I wasn’t ready for. Maybe when I bought a house. However, I didn’t figure on being unemployed a year later, so the dog got put on hold once again.
This past January, a woman on one of my local island Facebook groups advertised a dog she was looking to rehome. They had an elderly Pomeranian that this dog didn’t like, and since the Pom was also blind, they decided to send Griffen on to his next gig; they’d only had him 7 or 8 months. The picture she posted was beyond adorable, a little brown face with white circles around his dark eyes. Sounds like a chocolate lab, right? Well, in this era of odd designer dogs, Griffen is a what the internet calls a Labrahuahua or a Chihuahuador, a lab mixed with a Chihuahua. And before you ponder that too hard, I don’t know how it happened either, just that I hope the mother was the lab! Anyway, my poor, icy heart melted at the sight of him. And I had a dog.
He was so scared when he first came. He didn’t know what to make of the steps in the house or the very slippery hardwood floors or the onslaught of strange sights and sounds. But he bonded to me immediately, from our first meeting – mostly because I fed him more treats than could’ve been good for him. Definitely the way to a man/dog’s heart! We agreed that he would spend a “sleep over”, but the next morning, the troubles started. He refused to go down the stairs, which meant, how was I to take him for a walk to do his business? And I panicked a little. All over Facebook. There was really no question that he wasn’t staying, but I didn’t know how I would be able to get him over his fears. Suddenly, this whole vaguely nebulous dog concept was all too real. What in the hell was I going to do? I didn’t live in any show palace, but I surely didn’t want my house turned into a dog toilet either. So I called his former owner and she came right over. Together, we managed to get him down the stairs and out we went. Phew. First crisis averted. He still wouldn’t go back up, but at least I could carry him until he got the hang of it. And that’s how we started off, somewhat limping.
I discovered some interesting things about myself during the first couple of months of him being here. First, that I was more used to being on my own with no responsibilities than I suspected. Being thrown into the deep end of the pool as it were didn’t give me time to really think through how much of my freedom I was going to lose. And frankly, there have been times that I didn’t relish it. Not to mention, still being unemployed, the dog only compounds the worries over being able to pay the bills. Surely the benefits – the love and companionship and all that other great doggy stuff – supersede the slight tang of annoyance that I occasionally feel at having to be home at a certain time for Griffen’s walks or supper. But not 100%, if I’m honest.
And I found out, rather unhappily, just how much I am my father’s daughter, and how his legacy of abuse is still present in my daily life. Not that I’ve abused Griffen, but I’ve yelled unnecessarily, and I hated myself for it. But rather amazingly, I find myself understanding on a deep level, surely for the first time, how my father’s frustration and anger shaped the way he interacted with me, and how frighteningly easy it is to take it out on someone vulnerable. So it’s given me a chance to walk in his shoes, so to speak, and I’m better for it.
Griffen is a joy in my life. He’s smart and funny and sweet and all the great things that dogs are supposed to be. He’s a champion pee-er, my guy. He can balance on three legs like it’s no one’s business. He should join the circus. I hear The Flying Wallendas are looking for someone like him. He’s also stubborn sometimes – the Chihuahua side of him, I think – and he tests his boundaries like a child would. He’s not allowed in the kitchen when I’m cooking, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have to correct him a hundred times anyway. We’re still working on getting him over his fears, although he effortlessly scampers up and down the stairs these days. But he barks at people and dogs we meet on our walks to the point that I want to curl up and cry. Or shoot him. Or both. In the end, though, in spite of me being a somewhat novice dog mom, it’s all moving in a positive direction.
And on that note, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for 3PM walkies. Mind the dog toys on the floor when you see yourself out.