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To Dog or Not to Dog...

     I wasn’t ready to go looking for a new dog right away. And then, as the days turned into weeks, I noticed my mornings were easier. Hard enough, getting up and off to work in the mornings. I used to be a morning and night person. Now I’m only a night person.

     Anyway, it’s been kind’a nice walking out to the car in the morning and not having to stop to fill the dog dishes with food and water. Especially when I’m in my work clothes, which are office work clothes and tend not to look too good with water splashes and dog food crumbs and dog saliva spots on them.

     Son Paul and I wanted a dog. But when I noticed I didn’t have to get the dog food out in the morning and didn’t have to check the yard for you-know-what in the evenings, I remembered other stuff you have to do when you own a dog. Like remembering to get licenses and tags every so many years. Like having to put the dog in the car to go to the vet to get the shots. Like spending a Saturday morning at the dog groomer and leaving half the contents of your wallet there.

     But then… There’s no wagging tail to greet me when I come home after a long day at work. Paul gives me a friendly grin and asks, “How was work, Mom?” But no tail-wagging. And there’s no four-legged friend to walk with me in the evening.

     Our English spaniel used to join me. She’d slide off the porch swing as I walked by and amble over to the driveway with me. Sometimes she’d trot down the driveway and back up with me; other times she’d stop at the top and watch me go down and back up. Then she’d trot along beside me, around the side yard and behind the garage. Sometimes.

     She was plenty clever, that dog. After going all the way around with me a couple of times, she’d take a shortcut. As I headed toward the side yard, she’d skip on through the short breezeway that goes to the back of the house and wait patiently to fall in beside me when I came around from behind the garage. Cheater.

     By the end of the walk, I’m tuckered out. Not her. She’s fresh. Wagging her tail and waiting for her doggie treat. I could almost hear her: “What’s taking you so long?” I’m thinking, “Hey! You didn’t earn that!” But who could resist? I reach in my pocket, throw her a bone and take myself inside to cool off. No bones for me.

     Who could replace a dog like that? It’d take weeks to teach the newcomer all her shortcuts. She was always my guy’s dog, but I kind’a got used to her. A few months ago she came down with a super-strength virus that she couldn’t fight off and the vet couldn’t cure, so she’s gone now.

     I went down to the pound a few times, but all they have there are pit bulls and I want a softer dog. Lately I haven’t had time to get to the pound on Saturdays. I guess that’s when I started noticing all the stuff I don’t have to remember to do. Since my guy’s gone, my days and weekends are full doing all the things he used to do, so not having the extra care of a dog has been helpful.

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