Belief in the Existence of Dog


At the ripening age of 48, there are many things I still haven’t done. There’s lots that I have done, too, some of which I’ll tell you about sometime, and many of which I won’t!

The one thing that’s been my mind lately is becoming a dog owner. I heard an item on the CBC yesterday that indicated that public perception of middle-aged single women who live alone with cats is “crazy cat lady”, but that a woman with a dog is considered to be quite balanced and normal (and y’all KNOW how I hanker for normality}. I’ve never had a dog, at least one of my brothers is allergic to them, and possibly both, if I recall. So, we’ve always been cat people. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kitties. They’re the greatest.

There is, however, something aloof about a cat. They don’t greet you at the door, and I get the sneaking feeling that they really just don’t need me all that much. They don’t do tricks, they certainly don’t obey, and talking them for walks is a fool’s errand.

My younger son will be moving away in the fall, to go to school. For the first time in my life, I will be living alone. I brought up the idea of a dog with said son, whose response was “if you’re going to replace me with a dog, at least have the courtesy to name it after me”. Frankly, I think that’s more than just a little weird, but I’ll take it under consideration.

How can I name a dog when I haven’t even met her? It would be silly to name a large, aggressive dog “Poopsie”, and just as silly to name a chihuahua “Fang”; funny in an ironic way, but still silly.

I’m taking this dog thing very seriously. I’ve done several online tests to see what kind of dog might fit my lifestyle, and I’ve come up with two major contenders: the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and the Miniature Schnauzer. I’m leaning very much towards the spaniel, because I think that schnauzers all look a bit like Robertson Davies, and it unnerves me.

From word-of-mouth, I’ve heard that the King Charles are excellent little dogs. Not too big. They’re not yappy, like Chihuahuas or Pomeranians (possibly my least favourite dog on the planet). They don’t need a ton of grooming or hours of exercise. They’re smart enough to train, but not so smart that they get bored and destructive while you’re at work all day. At one point I wanted a Standard Poodle, because they’re so gorgeous and dignified, but I think that they probably are too smart for me. The King Charles were never bred to be working dogs, so they don’t feel like they should be out herding sheep or dragging dead birds out of the water. Hounds, Shepherds and Retrievers are right out of the picture. The King Charles was bred to be a companion, and that’s what I’m after.

They sound like lovely little dogs, and they’re super cute.

My must-have, deal-breaker quality I need in a dog is simple:

Dog must be female.

Everyone has a “thing”. My “thing” is that I can’t stand looking at a dog’s junk. I just don’t want to see that, thank you Mister Dog. So, either I would need a long-haired dog (impractical, too much grooming involved) or – a chick dog.

Yesterday at work, I had a revelation. An epiphany – if I had a dog, I could knit dog sweaters for it! How fun is THAT? Well, plenty of fun if you happen to be me. Just go on and search “dog sweaters”. There are a zillion patterns. I happen to think that wiener dogs look particular adorable in sweaters, but I don’t really like them as I had a bad experience with one as a child. No disrespect intended to those of you who have good-natured, laidback wiener dogs, but they’re just not for me.

A dog would NEED me. Dogs offer unconditional love. Dogs get you out of the house and actively walking. I live on the perimeter of an enormous park with fantastic trails. I think a dog would love it here.

Names? I’m sort of liking Imelda at the moment, or Maya. Or maybe Kiki Dee.

I need to meet this dog.


8 responses »

  1. Oh, Lynne! I can’t tell you how happy this makes me! Can I help? CanICanICanICanI…pleeeeeeez? I have so much in the way of response to this post that I don’t know where to start, but here:
    1) You will LOVE being a dog owner. I just know it.
    2) Yes, for goddess’ sake get a female. They don’t hump your leg or walk around with a crayon hanging out.
    3) If you would like to spend some time with our Standard Poodle, we will arrange it. You’ll be sold.
    4) Our dear friend is a die-hard min schnauzer girl and she would have her own list for you.
    5) There is solid research to suggest that owning a dog is GOOD FOR YOU…body, mind and spirit.
    6) One of my favourite hobbies is helping people find great dogs (see CanICanI at start of this reply AND # 10, below)
    7) Our dog and two cats get along beautifully.
    8) Owning a dog is nothing like owning a cat. I used to say “better,” now I just say “different” (but WAY better).
    9) Check out poodle crosses, too: I think you’d love cockapoos (don’t be dissuaded by the name).
    10) Can I help? CanICanICanICanI…pleeeeeeez?

  2. Please reconsider the King Charles if in fact you are serious. Lovely dogs …BUT…and this is a biggy! They have grave health concerns and I mean grave. It is a little like Russian roulette when getting one because of the brain disorder they can inherit. It doesn’t present until they are about 4 to 5 years old and is so excruciating for them with absolutely no cure that you have to put them down but by that time they are an integral part of your life. An excellent dog that often gets overlooked because of its look is the Papilon , calm, loving, brilliant (3rd smartest breed in the world) not yappy. Equally happy cuddling as playing frizbee.

  3. I am, in fact, quite serious about this. I think all breeds have health issues. Like with any living thing, you take your chances growing to love something, because you just don’t know how long you will have it in your life. It sounds like a terrible disorder, but that’s a chance I’m more than willing to take. Better to have a few good years with someone who loves you, I think. Papillons just don’t do it for me. A friend used to have them, and I found them skittish and yippy, and not appealing in the least.

    Sandy, I love standard poodles. I also understand they’re more tolerable to people with allergies than most dogs. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t take too much to sell me on one! Any advice or assistance (or doggy visits) would be most appreciated. Is it Janet you’re referring to with the schnauzers? Cuz her dogs are pretty cute. But they still look like Robertson Davies…

    In short, yes, I’m quite serious. I’ve weighed the pros and cons, and come up very strongly on the pro side. I’m not one to leap blindly into commitments, I’m a long-term person.

  4. Hey, Lynne talk to Chantel about standard poodles, she used to breed them, has one and knows a breeder who’d probably love to have you go visit.

  5. Hi Lynne, If you’re thinking pure bred then be sure to find a good breeder who you can relate to, they are a wealth of knowledge. Dog breeders can be a little strange, but interesting. Sometimes the rescue societies (by breed) are a good source. Just make sure you’re not inheriting someone elses bad training. A standard poodle has been on my list for five years but I have to wait until I have a normal life. Her name will be Sadie. Italian Grey Hounds and Whippets are also kind of cool. They definately need sweaters.

  6. An Italian Grey Hound is a tiny little dog. Less than ten pounds and just over a foot tall. They are fragile so if you’re looking for a dog to take to the dog park or to rough house with kids this wouldn’t be the dog. These little guys always look cold, you might have to knit a bead cover, boots and hat as well. Grey Hounds are interesting too, but they need a much bigger pooper scooper.

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