September 18, 2012 § 7 Comments
My very first childhood friend was a beautiful (and infinitely patient) Golden Retriever named Treevor. I was just a baby and didn’t know anything, but Treevor took me places and kept me safe and taught me how to be nice. Since then, dogs have been one of the great joys of my life. Few things make me happier than seeing (and even better, snuggling with) a smiling, wiggly dog.
Unfortunately for my mental health and wellbeing, I’ve not lived long-term with dogs since 2002, when I left for college. I have loved dogs during this period, oh yes — my family dogs, the dearly departed Pookie, as well as Rowdy and Sophie, have been my long-distance dogfriends for the past decade. But visiting dogs isn’t the same as being a full-time parent; I have long felt a dog-shaped absence in my heart. But how to fill it? Until recently, adoption wasn’t in the cards, for all kinds of reasons. Too much moving, instability, immaturity — I just wasn’t ready.
But now I am. Now we are. And so yesterday, Chris and I made that commitment (he chronicles the adoption process here). This is a big deal for both of us, in fact is the first time I feel like a proper adult. The PhD had absolutely no impact on my own sense of identity, and certainly didn’t make me feel any more capable or secure in the world. But this does. Because now I am responsible for another creature’s safety and happiness. I am a caretaker now, and that feels different. I already love the shit out of him, and promise to do my best.