Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I want a best friend

As in, the four-legged kind. It's been a dream my whole life. I want a dog! My family had one before I was born - a little toy poodle named Perry who lived to be 15. They like to make fun of me because when I was a kid I guess I claimed to remember playing with him (like I'd really know the difference as a youngin?). But really I think my claims were sad little cries for help - get me a dog! Unfortunately my sister is pretty allergic so I went without.

I'd dream of having a black lab like my neighbor or a lab cross like the neighbor on my other side. A golden retriever lived across the street and I had friends with Huskies, beagles, and terriers. I felt like I was the only person without a four-legged best friend. I'm an avid equestrian but it's not the same. Horses don't really chase Frisbees or give high-fives.

I attended college in Colorado and was dying for a pup by then. I tried to live with friends who had a dog but it never worked out. The closest I came was a boyfriend who had one. After college, when I came back to Connecticut, the only thing that stopped me was that I was working two full time jobs. At my last house, one of my roommates and I really wanted to adopt a dog and name it Brady (a combination of Tom Brady and Brady Quinn. In fact, in my book the dog's name would have been Tom Brady Quinn). A beagle preferably. We just never did it.

Excuses kept piling up, bringing me to today. I suppose it's a good thing I didn't have a dog because it would have been harder to find an apartment in NYC. As luck would have it though my building is pet-friendly. I know at least one tenant has a dog because I hear its tags jangling as it romps down the stairs for walks and I longingly wish it was mine.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking from work to the 6 train when I passed a guy walking an especially cute dog. Let me qualify this by saying I'm not the kind of girl who falls for the shi-shi Pomeranian-Chihuahua-Shit-Tzu-tiny fluff that most love. I want a dog who could live on the farm with me - a lab, a golden retriever, an Aussie Shepherd etc. But since I live in the city I'm willing to compromise with a Whippet, a mini Schnauzer or something like that. So that this dog caught my attention was surprising. It had a fox head and a bit of a fluffy coat and was about the size of a beagle. Man was it cute! I had to ask its owner what kind of dog it was. I found out it is a Shiba Inu.

I had to memo it in my phone, and I asked him to spell it to make sure I had it right. As soon as I got to my apartment I plopped on my bed and started researching. I checked the American Kennel Club first. Then I looked at several apartment dog sites to see if the Shiba Inu was listed, but it wasn't. Finally I checked to see if there are any breed rescues around. There is in fact an NYC Shiba Rescue. And how excited was I to find that there is a Shiba Inu named Roxy available to adopt right now! (Kind of corny I know. But I was excited.) I almost immediately filled out the form.

All important decisions are worth sleeping on, so I didn't take action immediately. The next day during my lunch break I made a list of pros and cons:

- I'd have a dog, fulfilling a lifelong dream
- my work is pet-friendly, meaning I could bring the dog to the office regularly
- i have a backyard. a fenced-in backyard.
- a dog would encourage me to get out and exercise
- a dog would be a great companion and would never leave the seat up
- a dog would fill the animal void left now that I can't horseback ride
- a dog may help me meet cute boys or make new friends
- a dog would be fun!

- I'm young and single. this means I would be out a lot. dogs like attention. it's hard to give attention when you're not home
- a dog needs to be walked every day. even in the rain, even in the snow. if i cannot walk the dog, i need to pay a dog walker to do this. $16/walk
- a dog needs to be fed at regular intervals
- a dog may eat my favorite shoes or mess on my brand new couch
- three words: curb your dog
- a dog barks. a dog usually barks when you are not home
- a dog will get sick when you can least afford it
- even a healthy dog is not cheap
- a dog needs to be groomed
- my apartment is small. do i even have room (i do have the backyard though)

My wits back a bit, I talked to a few coworkers who have pets. A couple of them were married or in steady relationships and two were single. The single people both said the same thing: it's hard to own a dog when you live alone. Especially in the city. It really limits your options for going out and partying. Sigh. I probably needed to hear it.

Lastly, I talked to my friend J the resident dog expert. She knew about Shiba Inus and recommended this site to me. Funny stuff, but also a wake-up call. J strongly recommended against me getting a dog. 'You'll want to explore, and this isn't Boulder (Colo.) where you can take your dog everywhere with you. It will stay at home, it will be miserable and it will mess up your nice stuff to let you know how miserable it is. Or it will be locked in a crate all the time. Is that fair? No.'

She was right of course. I think she could tell I was disappointed. In the end, she told me to wait a year. Then I could re-evaluate. In the meantime, I could always volunteer at a pet shelter to fill the void.

1 comment:

jg said...

Wow! For a young person, you sound very smart. You really thought through the pros and cons.

You could also volunteer for NYC Shiba Rescue if you want. We can always use the help. :)

We'll be at Madison Square Park tomorrow for Responsible Dog Ownership Day. Stop by and meet a couple more Shibas if you're in the neighborhood.

jenna gates
nyc shiba rescue, inc.