After two years of my whining – puppy! now! please! – Dave and I are finally, seriously, entertaining the idea of getting a dog.
He’s acknowledged that he’s on board – a sharp departure from his previous stance (“I won’t pay for it or care for it. I might love it.”) I’ve spent my evenings scrolling through photos of labradoodles, cockapoos, mini poodles and wheaten terriers online. We even called a few prospective residencies to make sure their housing options allow friends of the canine variety.
And still, I cannot stop crying.
I totally wish I could tell you that it’s because of some cuteness overload, that all those tiny paws and fluffy fur and wagging tails have me hot and bothered in a way that somehow translates itself into hot, salty tears.
But alas, that’s not the case.
The truth is, I’m plagued by self-doubt and fear. I’m afraid that all those people (cough, momanddad, cough) who completely doubt my ability to care for another living creature are right. I’m angry that we live in a fourth-floor walk-up and have unpredictable schedules and that our lives don’t mirror those of the perfect caretakers – unconstrained by time and money – profiled on the breeders’ websites. I feel overwhelmed and unsure and defeated and just can’t figure out the right thing to do.
Mostly, I feel stuck.
And, if we’re being honest here, it’s not just because we don’t have a yard or the breeds I like happen to cost $2,500 (plus shipping charges, to have our precious pooch airlifted from Oregon!) It’s because, in oh so many ways, I feel like I’m being denied access to the world of the grown up, even as I’ve put so many parts of my young, single self to bed.
I want to raise a puppy, but I’m still the girl who can’t throw a party without vomiting, and who happens to be dating a med student. I’m in-between.
Dave says I should just live a little, get the dog and figure it out as I go, but I still feel paralyzed. How can we make decisions when we don’t know where we’ll be living in seven months? How can we take steps toward our future when we’re saddled with debt and the knowledge that we’re living off of one, very meager salary? Everything around us keeps shifting and I’m not sure where we’re going to land.
So. It’s not the right time to get married. (Hence, April 2012.) It’s not the right time for a career change. And it’s not the right time for a dog.
I know this, and yet I can’t stop mourning the loss of the life I think I should be living. And checking out labradoodles online.
And thinking, how will it ever be different? How are we ever going to get there?
And, most importantly, where the fuck are we going?