When I’m Getting a Dog

I’m dogsitting this weekend. Before I moved to Asheville, I never dog-sat or cat-sat or any-other-animal-sat a day in my life. Now, it seems I do it every other weekend. At last count, I think I’ve kept ten different animals alive since moving here.

It started with one pet-sitting request at work, and it just escalated from there. Now I’m pet-sitting for everybody who has my phone number.

I enjoy pet-sitting. I do. I love animals. Animals are so faithful.

The little terrier I’m dogsitting this weekend can’t get enough playing fetch or sitting in my lap and being snuggled close, and she doesn’t even KNOW me. It’s so easy to connect with an animal — or, at least, for me it is. Maybe I just have that special aura about me.

“You should get a dog,” people tell me all the time. I laugh off the comment, but truthfully, the comment hurts the more I dwell on it. I used to have a dog. The best dog, actually. In a couple weeks, I’ll be observing the 10th anniversary of her death.

It’s hard to reconcile getting another dog when the wounds of the last one still linger a decade later.

Plus, I’m just so unsettled. How on earth could I get a dog if I don’t even know I’ll still be living in the same place three months from now? A year from now? And with all the traveling I do — gosh, who would dog-sit for ME when I go out of town once or twice a month?

Maybe someday, future dog. But not today.

In any case, I appreciate these sporadic weekends with animals that aren’t mine but still love me anyway. Animals that walk with me and listen to me talk to them and play fetch with them and let them sit on my lap as I watch TV.

Animals teach me to be a better human. To love without expectation of anything in return. To be present with every moment in every day. To be grateful for this thing called life, this messy yet miraculous process of aliveness.

If a mere animal can teach me such practicalities, how much more should I be teaching others — teaching myself?

This is Day 5 of #MakeNovemberTolerable. Keep checking back every day this month for new stories and discoveries of beauty where beauty may be hard to find.