While we're discussing the ever changing and evolving "me" . . .
You didn't know we were discussing that? Then you missed my last post.
Ok - now that you're up to speed, here's another area where the "authentic me" may be counterfeit. Dogs!
My see-sawing thoughts on dogs, including some excerpts from this very blog:
Me, at age 50: " I will never be over dogs. Dogs are best friends, comforters, companions, healers, and much more."
Me, at age 50 yrs, 2 mo.: "With the addition of Gabby to our household, and the subsequent squabbling between the two dogs, I may be closer to “over it” than I thought".
Me at 50 yrs, 5 months: "I'm over them. SO SO over them! I will never voluntarily bring another dog into my home. So just scratch this one off the list."
Me, at 50 years, 6 months: We became temporary foster parents for a lost puppy and I got slightly attached.
Me, at 50 years, 7 months: The Big Red Idiot Dog ate my nativity. Not a good day for human/dog relations.
Me, at 51 years, 10 months: We bought a camper and I actually made plans to take the mutts with us.
Me at 52: "They have all been loyal, loving friends and each time we lost one, I swore there would be no more - but a house without a dog just doesn't feel right."
Me - at various times over the past year,to daughter begging to get a dog: "Why would you want a dog? Do you know how much work they are? Do you know how much they cost? Do you know that they tie you down? Do you know that they have to go out to pee at 7:00 a.m., even if YOU didn't go to bed till 4:00?"
Me - at the Humane Society last week, helping said daughter, who obviously doesn't listen to her mother, select a dog: "I want to take them all home!"
So what is my authentic feeling about dogs? I love them -- in theory. In reality -- not so much. I hate dog hair in my house and on my clothes. I hate dog hair in my car. I hate having the dogs who shed the hair in my car, drooling in my ear and trying to climb over the seat. I hate paying to board them when we travel, which we do frequently. I hate not being comfortable having people over because we don't have a good place to separate dogs from guests. I hate combining dogs and guests because the dogs become the focus of all activities and conversation. I hate holes in the yard. I hate being woken up by dog nails click-click-clicking on the hardwood floor. The list goes on...
I love that we rescued Gabby from "death row" at a shelter and gave her a second chance. But, to quote Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams - "What's in it for me?" I am struggling to answer this question, so I decided to poll some of my favorite dog owners and see what they get out of dog ownership. Though their responses varied, they all centered around companionship and unconditional love. And I understand those things - I really do.
We got our first dog on our first anniversary, at the same time we decided to start our family. During the next seven years of infertility issues, that dog was our baby. She filled my need to mother. Once our children were born, I never felt quit the same about another dog.
There are other benefits. I have been in a few situations where one or another of our dogs acted as my protector. Occasionally, when Dave is out of town overnight, I appreciate having company in the house. But for the most part, Molly (Springer Spaniel) sleeps under the kitchen table and ignores everyone who is not offering to play fetch with her. I've played enough fetch to last at least ten lifetimes. Gabby-the-Big-Red-Idiot-Dog, makes up for Molly's indifference with her overwhelming, in-your-face attention. She training to not express herself with such exuberance - but it's a time consuming commitment.
Maybe I'm just getting old. After all, I devoted twenty years to full-time mothering. Maybe I've reached my limit of caring for helpless creatures. Maybe I'm just selfish and resent the time requirement and invasion of my space. Whatever the reason, I'm "dog tired" right now.