Whenever it rains a lot, as it did a great deal last week, the resulting mud in the back yard forces me to be less lazy and actually walk the dog, instead of just taking him out back to meet his morning needs (with a feeble “I’ll walk you later” promise that I almost always break).
As we trotted around the block one grey morning, we caught the eye of Mrs. G. Mrs. G. is not just a neighbour. She is one of The Spouse’s most important clients. In fact, her late husband was our first client; he gave my husband his start in the consulting business, referred him to others, and was always supportive and loyal. When he passed away a few years ago (way too young, I might add), his widow picked up the business and continued on. She made it clear to us at the shiva that she was counting on The Spouse to get her through, and we made it clear he would always be there for her and the company.
Back then, they were by far our largest and most important client. Times have changed; The Spouse is now in partnership with two other geeks, and I don’t know if Mrs. G.’s company even makes the top ten anymore. Still, because of the long-term and special nature of the relationship, The Spouse is very committed to Mrs. G. and her business, and she is always very cordial and warm to me when we meet around the neighbourhood.
However, like many of our neighbours, Mrs. G. is not part of the dog culture. When she saw me pass in front of her house, sporting a large beast on the end of a leash, her eyes popped out and she said, “I don’t believe it! How long have you had that thing???”
Considering we live literally right around the corner, she sees my husband on a regular basis, and her immediate next-door neighbour is one of my husband’s best friends, I was kind of surprised she didn’t know. “You didn’t know we had a dog? We’ve had him two years!”
She just kept staring. Finally she said, “I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. Why would anyone want one of those things?”
For once in my big-mouth life, I wasn’t sure what to say. Mrs. G. is one of the rare people in the world I won’t be a smart-ass to. I simply called Our Best Friend to me, leaned down, and hugged him. “No one on this planet,” I told her, “loves me as much as this dog does– no matter what I do or who I am.”
“So it’s the unconditional love,” she said.
“Mostly.” I thought a minute more. “And he has the softest ears in the world.”
Not worth it to her. Not for her the fur, the expense, the poo (which she noticed, much to her horror, I was holding a bag of in my hand). No matter how much love is involved. Dog love doesn’t interest her.
As I walked the half-block home, I considered what else I could have said. How dog owners are generally more fit and healthier than non-pet owners. The company. The warm cuddles on the couch. (Ew– fur on the furniture– another turn-off for many.) The ecstatic greeting one gets after being gone even a short time. And with Our Best Friend in the house, I feel much more comfortable my heart leaving the girls alone in the evening, knowing there’s a big dog guarding the fort.
I have always, always loved cats and dogs, but I know there’s no converting some people. I would never be an entomologist, own an ant farm, or otherwise truck with bugs (the lizard cage notwithstanding). Tarantulas are fuzzy, but I wouldn’t want to own one. Hard as it is to imagine, I suppose to some people, a dog is just a four-legged spider. With poop.
Picture on the left courtesy Wikipedia. Picture on the right my own doing. Isn’t he cute???