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Gone to the Dogs


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I have a new cookbook called, The Dog Ate It, Cooking for Yourself and Your Four-Legged Friends. The first chapter is called “Bone Appetit.” It starts, “It’s Saturday night, you’re all alone with your best friend, and the telephone doesn’t ring. What better way to spend the evening than cuddled up before the fire eating a delicate dinner?” The recipe for “Puppy Sitter de Veau” follows. Recommended drink selection: champagne for you and a bowl of water for your date.

I have a friend who adopted a Yorkie about a year ago––her first dog ever. “I should’ve done this years ago,” she told me. In her estimation, the dog is a better companion than any of the men she used to date.

I adopted a small pup a few months ago: Lily. She looks like Meg Ryan: 12 pounds, tousled blond fur with black roots. My boyfriend, who I’d only been dating for a short time, began calling her my “mate.” He hadn’t wanted me to get a dog because of his allergies. Perhaps that’s why I wanted one. The relationship didn’t last much longer than his comment.

Last year I tried eHarmony for nine months. Almost every man I met off the Internet had an incredible divorce story. Most of them had crazy ex-wives. What a coincidence.

One had a wife who was convinced the entire family had caught Lyme Disease. He told me she was wrong and when he tried to tell her that, she went after him with a piece of broken glass. There was another man with another wife who also came at him with glass, sans the Lyme Disease—apparently the choice weapon when going after husbands is indeed broken glass.

There were the men whose wives had called the police on them and the men who’d called the police on their wives. All in all, I felt pretty lucky to have gotten out of my marriage with only a scratched ego.
“Women shouldn’t be allowed to file for divorce.” That was one date after he’d told me about his ex-wife, who he’d renamed “The Wicked Witch of the West.”

And then there was: “I hate women these days. They’ve become rude, inconsiderate, and arrogant, but I haven’t lost my optimism. I’m hoping to find a woman who feels the same and doesn’t have many of these characteristics—even though I probably won’t find anyone like that.” He also complained that women didn’t wear dresses anymore.

Fair enough. I’ve heard women generalize men like this. I’ve heard myself do it. For years we’ve lumped men under stereotypes. And why do we so often equate men with animals (pig, rat, snake, skunk, etc.) if we love dogs so much? Maybe we wanted a pet all along and were confused. That could account for the rising female-initiated divorce rate.

Are women really going crazy left and right and does the fact that I hadn’t noticed indicate anything about my own sanity? If these men are right, women are packing broken glass and open aggression in a time when we’ve had the most freedom we’ve ever had. I guess I didn’t not believe their stories, but wanted to ask the same question I ask my 9-year-old son when he tattles: “But what did you do before he/she/it, hit/bit/spit on you?”

I have to admit, even with all the home cooking, and the occasional mess on the carpet, living with Lily is easier than living with another person. Maybe like men, we need someone to need us, but not too much. Maybe we crave the constant affection dogs give without expectation. Maybe we prefer dogs because we can control the relationship.

Recently I bought Lily a booster seat for the car so she can see out the window. Last night we went for a drive. We had the windows down, the radio on, and the breeze blowing through our blond hair. I feel so lucky to have found her. But I wonder, will I end up like my friend with the Yorkie and will I be happy with that?

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