How We Got The Dog
So I still have to tell you all how I got the Boyfriend, but today, I’m going to tell you how we got the Dog.
The Dog hasn’t been mentioned much on the blog, but he definitely deserves his place in the pantheon of my life. He’s weird, he owns it, and thus he belongs with us.
A little over 8 years ago, the Boyfriend and I moved from our first shared apartment to our second apartment. The first apartment was a trial run, though neither of us intended it to be that way. We found a couple looking to sublet, because they were moving to the suburbs with their newborn. Seemed like a good deal, except they didn’t tell us that the building was going condo in 7 months.
We found that out when we went to sign the lease with the landlord, two weeks before our move date. So, we sucked it up and went with it.
For our next apartment, we had several requirements – dishwasher, central air, and the Boyfriend pushed to have a place that would accept dogs. I’m terribly allergic to cats, and he wanted a pet.
As mentioned before, I’m usually strongly against many of the Boyfriend’s ideas, and the dog was no exception. I’m a bit of an introvert and don’t relish change – the Boyfriend usually has grand plans that result in our having a kitchen, two closets, and a storage space filled with discarded Cuisarts that seemed like a good idea at the time. Over the years, we’ve learned to balance each other out – he pulls me forward, I trim him back – and we each accept the other’s input as necessary balance.
But we’re not there yet. Not 7 months after having moved in together. I was unemployed (long story), he was unhappy with his job, and money was running low; but he kept pushing for a dog. So, to at least remove some of that pressure, I asked if we could hold off until I was employed again and had payed off the debt I’d incurred while on the dole. He grudgingly agreed.
As if the Fates heard the deal, and had my head on a block, I got a job a week after the deal was struck. A few months later, I had payed off the money I owed and was in the clear.
In fact, I walked in the door, having just mailed the last payment, to find the Boyfriend sitting on the couch with a flyer.
“There’s an Angels with Tails event tomorrow. Do you want to go? There will be several adoption agencies there with lots of dogs. We can walk up and down the street, look at the dogs, and just … get a sense of what type we might want.”
Ugggg… I thought. But I’d promised, and so with an angry grin, I agreed to go.
Now you probably assume I’m a dog-hater, but I’m not. I grew up with dogs and consider them an important part of family life. I’m the guy that stops other dog walkers on the street in order to pet their dogs. I don’t watch movies where dogs are the main characters, because I know I’ll burst into tears. I’m pretty much a dog whore, in the platonic sense of the phrase. And if you can’t think of a platonic sense of the phrase, you’re a sick bastard and I don’t want you commenting here.
I had two issues with getting a dog. First, as previously mentioned, the Boyfriend gets really excited about stuff and then loses interest. If that happened, I’d be stuck with the responsibility of caring for it. Second, we’d only be living together a few months – I’d spent most of that time unemployed and life was generally stressful. I’m not saying I was planning on breaking things off, but it was something I was acutely aware of at the time. If we had a dog, it would be that much more difficult to untangle our lives.
Up until this point, even though we were going to wait to get a dog, the Boyfriend had been researching breeds and rescue agencies. He’s a veritable Wikipedia of whatever subject he’s currently interested. Great for buying a television… kind of meh over sushi. So he’d narrowed us down to a few types of dogs – Greyhounds, Whippets, German Shepards, and a few others.
My narrowing of dogs was the following. The dog had to be able to run with me, even though I don’t run, I figured having a dog would force me to. No miniature dogs, I’m a klutz and don’t want to accidentally break a small animal. No pitbulls, because I grew up in Detroit and Detroit pitbulls are the spawn of Cerberus (look it up!).
So the next day, when it came time to go to the pet parade, I hemmed and hawed, suggesting maybe we should do something else. But the Boyfriend just looked at me and said, “We won’t get one today. And you promised. Afterwards, we can go for ice cream, I’ve already found a place near the rescue extravaganza. They have gelato!”
Well, shitballs and hollyhocks, I was in.
So we took the train to the pet showing. As advertised, four blocks of a major street were crowded with dogs, cats, and rabbits looking for homes. We walked up one side of the street and down the other, talking to rescue workers, petting a few dogs, and overall being very disappointed. The dogs were gorgeous, but we both expected an immediate spark, a “That’s the one!” moment. The Boyfriend was getting depressed and I felt bad for dragging my feet for so long on the dog thing.
We were almost back to our train stop, when we came by a rescue group that was there with just one dog. The poor thing was curled up next to a no parking sign, in front of a bar. “Hey there!” One of the guys called to us, “Why don’t you meet our little guy here?”
The Boyfriend stopped to chat with the rescue worker. I bent down and scratch this lifeless, lump of a dog. He wasn’t mistreated, just hot and tired. He wagged his tail as I scratched his ears and I did my usually dog talking thing, “Hey there buddy. It’s hot out, isn’t it? Yeah, I know.”
The Boyfriend swooped in and started scratching the dog’s back. “Who’s a pretty dog? You are, aren’t you? You’re just gorgeous.”
“Would you like to walk him?” Asked the rescue worker. He’d been joined by a few other folks from the same rescue group. Peer pressure was setting in. I didn’t want to be rude, but I was skeptical that this dog could actually walk.
“Yeah, sure. That would be great,” I said.
So we took the dog for a walk around the block, the rescue worker in tow. He asked us questions about our living space, our history with dogs, already interviewing us for the application.
The dog seemed nice, but he was lethargic and a pitbull. So no running and definite breed restriction issues. I was already feeling bad about having to say no to the rescue worker. He seemed like a nice guy.
But the Boyfriend was really excited about the dog. Cooing him up, petting him constantly, he was quickly falling in love.
When we got back from the walk, I was talking with the rescue guy, when suddenly the Boyfriend jumped in.
“Do you want him? Let’s get him. What would it take to get him? Is there a wait list?”
“So… you want him?” The rescue worker asked.
“Well, let us have a quick conversation first,” I said.
“Okay,” the worker said.
“Don’t give him to anyone else while we’re gone,” the Boyfriend yelled over his shoulder.
We had a quick talk about getting the dog. The Boyfriend was so excited, I couldn’t say no. But I wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of having this dog. But I tried to remind myself, this was what compromising was about, and hoped that this was the right thing to compromise on.
When we went back, there were seven rescue workers from the agency waiting. None of them had dogs with them and the rescue event was coming to a close, so I figured they were getting ready to pack up.
“We’ll take him,” the Boyfriend said.
And I swear to God, every one of those seven rescue workers broke down in tears. Some of them were sobbing uncontrollably – men, women, it didn’t make any difference.
The Boyfriend and I gave each other a look. Well, we gave each other different looks. Mine said, “What the hell is going on?” His said, “Damn, hippies!”
The rescue worker we’d been dealing with most of this time got himself under control and explained why everyone was crying.
“We were all there when he was rescued, two years ago. His previous owner had chained him to a tree and left him there, under fed and malnourished. He was about 30lbs underweight when we rescued him. Since then, he’s been held as evidence in the abuse trial against his former owner – and pitbulls of his age don’t usually get rescued. But we’ve all worked with him over the years, he’s one of the favorites, and he’s just the sweetest dog any of us have ever met.”
Well if that’s not a fucking endorsement of a canine, I don’t know what the fuck is.
They were so excited, they sped up the process and dropped him off that afternoon. They did the apartment check, had us fill out some paperwork, and then left us alone with the Dog.
The three of us stared at each other with the same expression, “What the fuck have I gotten into?” Then the Dog curled up and took a nap.
A few months later, the Boyfriend and I were talking about how lucky we were to have gotten the Dog.
“You know,” the Boyfriend said, “I didn’t even like him. But you were so excited about him, I figured it’d be my only chance to get a dog, so I faked my excitement.”
“Shut up. I faked being interested in the Dog too, because I thought you liked him so much. I mean the way you jumped in to ask if we could adopt him right then and there.”
“Oh THAT! Well, there were these two girls in the bar, total Lincoln Park Trixies, eyeing the Dog and talking about how they wanted him. Like I was going to let a couple of trixies take something away from me!”
So, between misunderstanding and a feeling of competition, we came away with one of the sweetest, most gentle dogs I’ve ever known.
And like his Daddies, he has a problem with humping.
A perfect fit for the family!