One day this past summer, I received some very troubling news that left me feeling very anxious. I went over to a friend’s house who was also going through a stressful time. She and I decided that we needed a surefire way to cheer ourselves up. What better activity than to go look at brand new puppies. She knew of a litter of adorable uniquely cute pups that were available for viewing about 30 miles away. Before we hit the road, she offered me a klonopin, an anti-anxiety drug that I had actually not yet tried: how intriguing! This would be a very fun day. I popped that pill, and away we went for a drive in her car to go play with puppies.
A few hours later, the klonopin began to wear off. I knew this because everything seemed fuzzy, and I couldn’t remember how we had spent the previous hour. I knew I was still in my friend’s car, but for some reason, I was holding two things that I hadn’t been holding when I got in the car an hour ago. One was a bank receipt with my name on it which showed a recent withdrawal of a couple of thousand dollars from my account. The other, was a puppy.
Soooo….. putting the pieces together, I concluded that while under the influence of klonopin, I bought myself a very cute, very expensive, little puppy. An 8 week old puppy. My friend had bought one too. She was thrilled. I was horrified. What had I done?
Now, I love dogs. I have been a dog owner for the past twenty years. When I got divorced, I willingly gave the dogs to my ex-husband, as I was too worried that I couldn’t handle my new life and our very active dogs. And I had been fine with that decision for awhile. But then the kids went away for the summer and the house got quiet. I knew I had the itch, but I wasn’t really ready yet. But “an afternoon with klonopin” decided otherwise.
My kids got home from camp a few days after I brought the puppy home. It was a great surprise (to all of us!) that I had gotten a dog. But after a few days with a brand new puppy in my brand new house with my three very busy children who were getting ready to go back to school, I realized I was high on several levels to have gotten myself a dog.
What the hell did I do? No one wanted to help me feed him or walk him or to help clean up the poop. What they did want to do was to take cute Instagram pictures of themselves holding the dog and then to quickly shout, “MOM! Take him out of my room! He’s so annoying!” They were mostly using him as a photo op.
So, after a short period of deliberation, when the kids went to their dad’s for the weekend, the puppy went to live with a new family (my sister’s!) I then decided what I really needed to do with my spare time was what I had been putting off for so long: online dating.
As the months went on with that endeavor, i learned how to maneuver the dating apps, and could scroll, swipe and date as I felt the need to do so. Late at night, after swiping, or coming home after another date, I would go back to the sites to see what was new. It was all so odd to me, this online dating. I didn’t really enjoy it. Frankly, it sucked. I felt more alone than ever when I was doing it.
And then, recently, around the holidays, it hit me. Maybe I didn’t really want a boyfriend right now. I just wanted a friend. But not one whose stories I have to listen to or whose opinions and thoughts might differ so sharply from mine that it drives me crazy.
And so, slowly, but surely, I thought of the type of partner and friend that I would really like to have around. One that could provide unconditional love, and one who didn’t care that I was a single mother of three kids over the age of 45. And that led me to another set of exciting apps and websites to play with late at night: dog rescue websites. So much potential, so much excitement in these potential playmates for myself. They were all so adorable!
So I started dividing up my time at night for what I called “online research.” 30 minutes were devoted to playing on the apps and searching for men that I would actually like to date, and 30 minutes surfing the web looking for possible dogs to adopt. So much potential out there! Someone to cuddle with late at night. Someone to take walks with and share adventures with. Someone to wake up with in the morning and to start the day with lots of kisses. The conundrum became: do I choose a Boyfriend or do I choose a Dog? The decision I made: It doesn’t really matter. They are both basically the same thing.
In searching for a man or a dog, you are dealing with the exact same concerns:
Q1: “How old is he?” A1: “Oh, that’s too young for me. He will have way too much energy at night. He won’t want to chill out on the couch and watch t.v. He will want to stay up way too late and have fun.”
Q2: “How old is he?” A2: Oh, that’s too old for me. He won’t wanna play very much or go on late night walks. He will always be tired and ready for bed.”
Obviously, you want one that’s good with kids. Housebroken. One that’s not too dominant or aggressive, one that gets along with others, and of course, one that enjoys tickles. You want one that will listen to your commands and who will “sit” and “stay” when you tell them to. Having one that will “lie down” at your request, whenever you are in the mood, is just a total added bonus.
You ask a lot of questions before taking him home, introducing him to your kids. What’s his story? Why has he been alone for so long? He’s adorable- why does no one want him? He must have major issues. What are his issues-am I equipped to handle them? Why doesn’t his family want him anymore? Why doesn’t he want his family? Has he been “fixed”? What time does he like to go to bed? What time will he want me to wake up with him? Will he shed? Is he cuddly or stand-offish? How will he behave around my family and friends? Will they like him? Do I really want someone else to have to clean up after on a daily basis. I am very particular about how I like my house. What if he messes that up or changes things? What exactly will he want from me on a daily basis? Can I have my freedom, or will he expect me to continually be rushing home to him? Will he want to sleep on my side of the bed- or will he want to spoon or worse: sleep part-way on top of me? (I hate when I feel someone on me or near me when I sleep. I like a good 2 mile radius around me at all times whilst I slumber.)
So many things to consider.
The other night, there was a terrible storm here in Arizona. The wind was roaring loud, and the rain felt like it would penetrate the walls of my home. My kids weren’t home and I was all alone. I lay in bed trying to picture who or what would comfort me the most in a night like this.
My man: drawing me into his arms, making me feel safe, making me laugh, even finding time for romance. Or my dog: curling his body up next to mine, licking my face, making me laugh.
It’s a tough choice. Man vs. dog? So hard to decide. Maybe I can even choose one of each. Maybe I’ll just do like my yoga retreat taught me and let the universe decide what happens next.
Or maybe, I’ll just close my eyes, pop a klonopin and hope for the best.