I plan to blame everything I am about to say on the flu shot I just got at Target.
It’s the dog thing again. I can’t stop thinking about it. The hypothetical dog I probably shouldn’t get. My levelheaded self made the decision a month ago that I should give it enough time to see whether I really want one.
The thing is, I really really do.
There are a thousand reasons why this doesn’t make sense just yet. So of course I’m shopping for collars,
and dog toys,
and water dishes.
I haven’t actually bought anything yet. I keep re-making the decision to wait, and then I keep looking at pictures of dogs online. Online dating does not interest me at all, but I imagine it works about like the puppy search: you plug in what you want and how far you’re willing to go, and then all of these photos pop up, sweet pictures with cheerful profiles like “playful! loves other dogs and children! needs lots of room to run!” and you either think, “that dog and I could make things work” or “that dog needs something different.” I almost got in the car Saturday night and drove down to the coast to get this one.
He looks like a sweet baby lab, but he’s half Plott hound. Fine by me, but when I looked up Plott hounds, it said, “Not For Inexperienced Dog Owners. May Become Aggressive If Improperly Trained.” I love this one. But I’m not what he needs.
So what if I’m not enough, really, for any dog? Not home enough? Not patient enough? Not giving enough? Not flexible enough? Not strong enough? Not financially solvent enough? Not consistent enough? Not early-rising enough? (That last one is maybe the most true.) Maybe all the dogs I want would be better off with the perfect family, the perfect fenced-in yard, the perfect owner who gets up at dawn and goes on long runs and is home for the evening every night at five?
Which is why I was telling Julia this week I wasn’t getting a dog. “Oh, let’s go ahead and acknowledge that we all know you’re getting a dog,” she said. “You’ve already named it. You’ve already nicknamed it. It’s a question of when, at this point.” So I was telling Julia that I was flummoxed by being out of town overnight next weekend, and what would I do with a dog? I couldn’t take him with me, and Julia’s going too so she can’t keep him with her dog, and I wouldn’t leave a new puppy home alone all weekend with just a dog sitter dropping by, and I couldn’t afford to have someone come stay, and oh my goodness I don’t have a dog yet and I am freaked out about the commitment already. When Julia listed a pile of people who would be happy to babysit a puppy, I said, “I know. I just really hate asking people for help.” (I really am bad at that, in an epic way; you should have seen me fighting it the last time I spent three months on crutches. I’m like a two-year old, all I CAN DO IT MYSELF. I know. Ridiculous.)
Julia pointed out that it’s one of the many reasons why I should get a dog. All of the things about dog ownership that freak me out are probably things that I should work on, muscles it wouldn’t kill me to stretch. “And you don’t have to be perfect at it,” she said. “Your dog will just adore you, and be so lucky to have you, and you will adore him, and you deserve that.”
Then she threw in something about how we settle for the love we think we deserve, and in addition to not early-rising enough, I was off on the tangent of not pretty enough, not smart enough, not funny enough, not thin enough, not young enough, just plain not enough, and the thousand variations we come up with when our confidence wavers, and realized we haven’t really just been talking about dogs here.
Damn flu shot. I am all swimmy-headed. My right arm aches and everything is a little fuzzy around the edges. I am going to bed early.
I’m probably enough. I think I’m enough. Most of the time I’m enough.
I really hope I’m enough.