For a very long time now, Dan has consistently expressed his interest in having a dog. And for just as long, I have maintained my deepest disapproval of the idea. For those of you who followed my bachelorette blog, you will know that I was very opposed to having a dog when Dan and I were dating (www.thereluctantbachelorette.com/the-irony-that-is-cooper/). In my mind, Dan wanting a dog was akin to me wanting a child. They both require time, commitment, work, money, discipline, patience, and so much more. And as childish as it may sound, I felt that if I could not have my child, then Dan was not getting a dog. It almost sounds like a punishment against him but it was just the way my mind made sense of the whole situation at the time.
After we got married, every so often, Dan continued to mention the idea of us getting a dog. Still dealing with the pain of being unable to have my own child, I always shot the idea down. I had considered adoption and Dan and I even went to a few seminars to learn more about the adoption process but the thought of adoption never felt right for us. As a writer, I tried very hard to put into words why adoption was something I no longer wanted to consider, yet the words never came. So when having my own child was not possible and adoption was off the table, I mourned silently and alone.
It was hard for me to talk about it with Dan because, for as long as I have known him, his heart was never really into having children anyway. His heart had always been into loving and taking care of a dog. Bringing a dog into our lives would be just like bringing a baby into our lives in the sense that it would need constant attention, protection, and love. I just wasn’t ready for that if it was not going to be a baby.
Very, very slowly, I softened on the idea. And I was very aware of it while it was happening. I softened a bit each time I saw a dog and its owner walking around the neighborhood. I softened a bit more when I befriended an adorable dog named Reed who couldn’t decide whether he should listen to his owner commanding him to “stay” or come greet me. I even softened some more each time I saw a cute puppy or dog expressing some sort of disdain for me through its persistent bark. I loved asking the same question to those dogs: “What’s the matter? Why are you so mad?”
Then, one day, a friend of mine expressed how happy she was that she and her boyfriend adopted a pair of cats. She looked forward to staying at home just to bond with them and according to her, she couldn’t be happier with her life. Instantly I felt that I wanted that same happiness. That was the exact moment I went from being softened to actually melting. I wanted a pet. If it was just me, I would get another cat because I have always admired their independence, beauty, and grace. But this was something for Dan and me. I wanted us to have something that we could love and take care of together.
And then I did it. I finally told Dan that I was emotionally ready to have a dog.
(To be continued…)