The other day, Sara referenced an article she had read and enjoyed immensely in The Atlantic about a woman who didn’t like dogs and was uncomfortable admitting it in public. I think Sara thought I might be annoyed or offended by the article or her enjoyment of it, but I read it, and honestly, it’s pretty funny, and some of what Olga Khazan says in it is actually true, not to mention deeply relatable. But coming from a cat person, which Sara is, I was a little skeptical. I too had been a cat person most of my life.
My experience with dogs prior to getting one was almost non-existent. Growing up, we had cats, lizards, newts, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. But never a dog.
Our best friend in junior high had a boxer, which might have been the most time I ever spent with a dog in childhood. I had no affection for the dog, and she had none for me. She was not fixed and often was in a diaper, on her period, and this repulsed me. My high school boyfriend had a dog, but I remember almost nothing about the furry pet. Twice in adulthood, I’ve dated someone with a dog, and twice I’ve thought to myself, nah, while doing so. It seemed to be so much work. And there was just so much poop, not to mention the early mornings, the vet bills, the constant correcting of the dog, and the "I have to get home to my dog" thing. None of it seemed appealing.
When I met Sofia eight years ago, she claimed to be into both dogs and cats, so I just thought, We’ll get a cat, or two when the time is right. By then, I’d met lots of sweet dogs, little and big, well-trained and not, but I still had no desire to have one of my own. Too much responsibility for someone like me; a person who travels most of the year. Plus, I was a city person, a lock-and-leave-the-apartment-for-months-at-a-time person. Untethered and unleashed, I couldn’t imagine settling down and tying myself to a needy animal.
In my opinion, dogs were for farms or sniffing out drugs; they should be trained to move and protect livestock, I thought. They should have jobs and purpose. They should not live in a fancy bag under some ladies’ arm or in cramped apartments in the city, and they certainly shouldn’t go to brunch with their owners. I have always found incessant barking as annoying as the jagged roar of motorcycles or muscle cars in the city, and pet hair of any kind on furniture or, God forbid, someone’s bed, made me feel gaggy and unclean. More than once, I have admitted that if someone I liked let their dog sleep in bed with them I’d break up with them (what a monster I was).
But then one day, eight years ago, something changed.