So, there I was, driving down the road, minding my own business, when the gravitational pull of an animal shelter in the next county overtook my vehicle. I struggled to jam the transmission into reverse, frantically fighting to escape the powerful puppy beam that was dragging me closer and closer to the shelter parking lot. Next thing I knew, my car came to a halt mere feet from the kennels. It refused to budge until I agreed to go inside and “just look.”
Forty minutes later, my body left the building with yet another collectible dog. This time, the culprit was an irresistible vixen with magical powers. Hypnotically wagging her pendulum tail east to west with the precision of a metronome, she lured me into her crystal-blue gaze, zapping my last molecule of willpower. Despite decades as a professional communicator, my brain could only conjure up three words: “Wrap her up.”
Hello. My name is Jan, and I am a dog-aholic.
As a kid, I was deathly allergic to dogs. Not just sniffle-and-snort allergic, but throat-closing, dial 9-1-1, rush-to-the-hospital-and-make-your-mother-scream, “Not again, you idiot!” allergic. I wasn’t allowed to get near anything with fur, so most of my close, personal relationships involved reptiles and an occasional grasshopper. (Cue the violins.) As anyone who has had a love affair with an insect will tell you, it’s not the same.
About 6,832 allergy shots later, I cautiously began sniffing freshly washed, hopefully sneeze-proof poodles and gradually snuffled my way up to golden retrievers. Now, I’m making up for lost time, and all my closest friends bark.
After performing extensive research and numerous relationship tests on both canines and Homo sapiens, I regret to report the dogs are winning. How those wonderful creatures end up in shelters is beyond me, although leaving certain people there might be a plan.
Let’s say you have a teenager who doesn’t obey and snaps at everyone. He was so sweet when you got him at seven pounds. But now, he’s grown much bigger and harder to handle than you expected. Wouldn’t it be nice to just drop him off at a nice, safe shelter and let somebody else feed him? (Be honest; we’re all friends here.)
Suppose you are moving to a new place and don’t want to bring your mother-inlaw. She needs a special diet and won’t play fetch anymore. Lately, she’s a drag. Let’s drop her off, too.
If you jumped into marriage without realizing the true cost of husband ownership, this is your chance to start over. Tow that lug and his twin-engine fish chaser down to the shelter. And donate his golf clubs for chew toys. While you’re there, find out what’s available in a younger, low-maintenance version.
The only downside is when you’re the one being dropped off. I can just see the intake sheet on my cage now:
- Owner surrender
- Senior; needs medication
- Not spayed
- Food and toy aggressive
- Not good with children or cats
- May nip
- Won’t stay in yard
- Shoe fetish
- Temperament test ended when she bit the tester
I guess the plan still needs some tweaking, but it will have to wait. Right now, four carpet culprits need walking. We could go to the dog park, but there’s an animal shelter only 37 miles away.
Jan A. Igoe has taken the first step and admitted her habit. If any kindred canine spirits would like to start a support group, write her here. Put “WOOF” in the subject line.