What IS appealing is having a faithful animal friend that is affectionate; a companion who doesn’t argue and insist on putting a big screen TV in the living room; a reason to go for a walk each day; another being in the house so I’m not just talking to myself.
I feel the way about dogs that I feel about children; I’m not crazy about all of them as a group, but there are individuals that I could fall in love with. I think I could have fallen in love with Buddy. Buddy was a stray dog that showed up at a friend’s cottage this summer. He was too big, too hairy, too mangy, and not too bright – but he was a happy loveable dog with a handsome face, despite having been abandoned and in rather rough shape.
Buddy hung around the cottage and we finally gave in and fed him some cat food (that’s all we had). By this time I was having crazy thoughts of bringing this large energetic dog home to my little town house with its small decked backyard. But what if I was too sick during my treatments to walk him and take care of him? Was this the right time for me to be taking on the responsibility of a dog? Would that be fair to him?
We walked him down the cottage road looking for his owners and found at least a temporary home for him with a neighbor who had another large dog and lots of property for them to run. I went back a few weeks later and Buddy ran down the road to greet us, with what looked like a smile on his face. The neighbor had been taking good care of him. He had put on weight and was in much better shape than when I had seen him last. The neighbor didn't know if he would keep him or not, but promised to call me if he didn't find his owner or decided not to keep him. I never heard from him.
I'm not sure what has happened to Buddy but I hope to go back in the spring and see what I can find out. I realize that bringing him here might have been a disaster, but I often mention my almost-dog Buddy when friends talk about their pets. Maybe there is still a dog in my future. And maybe I’ll regret it. But my dog-fantasy lives on…