Here are a few things you should know to fully understand the contents of the following post:
1. I love dogs. And when I say "I love dogs" I don't mean I am a fan of dogs, I enjoy dogs, or I admire them from a distance. I mean I love dogs. If a dog is in the room--as has happened at a few parties here, the culprit primarily an overweight boxer in a scarf named Hank--I have trouble interacting with other people because I only want to hang out with the dog. If I see a dog pass by while brunching downtown on seafood omelets and fresh orange juice at a sidewalk cafe (that's right you wished you lived here admit it), I will stop eating and interrupt whatever Rob is saying to announce, "TINY DOG TINY DOG TINY DOG" or, as the case may be, "BEAR DOG BEAR DOG." Annie can vouch for this because that's pretty much all we did while in Vienna--that, and eat perplexing breakfasts. Vienna, by the way, is full of dogs. It might even be governed by dogs. The cruelty of it all is how you are not allowed to pet any of them because they are so austere. Like the rest of Vienna. Oh, those swanky, swanky Viennese and their breakfasts.
2. The month of February was, hands down, shit. Just shit. Plain, awful, sloppy shit. I tried to post about it probably a dozen times, but no amount of wisecracking could mask the truth of this fucking terrible month, and seeing the ugly facts of it gussied up by my meandering clauses only doubled the stress and depression--what you could call strepression (depressss?). Yes, my birthday was fabulous. Yes, I'm still doing that Coterie of Hungry Overweight Women (henceforth known as C.H.O.W.) business and it is equally uplifting (slow but steady progress aiming always for boots!) and intensely terrible (I can no longer indulge in my one true love of buffalo sauce).
Moreover, though, Rob lost his job, which he discusses at length in his own blizzog. There are details, but you won't find them here--all you need to know is it felt like a tornado had come through and tossed what we'd made of our life into some trees, inaccessible by any ladder. It was August all over again and not in a good way--the whole what are we doing here, how do I manage the guilt I feel for bringing you here, what should we do, what the hell are we going to do rigmarole in rerun. Fun fact: this kind of stress will eat an ulcer into any relationship, and it definitely did ours--a few new bruises, a few old sores reprodded. If you consider a relationship an apple, sometimes I think ours would be better off mashed into sauce. Which is not that brutal of a thing to say, considering applesauce is delicious and loved by Polish people as a condiment to pierogies as well as babies everywhere.
But this is cryptic Xanga-esque shit! We will leave it at this: February was bad, bad, bad. But there were some good points--I finished a story, won a little contest, we went to our first grown-up dinner party and ate venison for the first time, Rob got started writing again, I took a lot of baths and drank a lot of chai, we both watched inordinate amounts of The Twilight Zone and cooked some snappy dinners on the Goddamn Good George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine (the GGGFLMFRGM as my father calls it).
So that's the disclaimer. Now, this:
One Sunday, Rob and I decide that nothing will cure our respective liquor-hangovers (margarita for me, bourbon for him) like some fancy downtown brunch. This was, as a matter of fact, last Sunday. Less than a week ago--that's how rapid and exciting the following story is.
We have our paninis and omelets and soups and water, water, water, and then we go strolling because yet again it was 60 and sunny and charming and there's a river and benches and a big stone courthouse and some fat little palm trees and you get it, it's lovely.
Dogs are a staple of the downtown area. Frequently I'd try to go to the outdoor Saturday market in the warmer months not for some overpriced tomatoes, but because I was pretty sure I'd get to pet a dog, or at least ogle one and chant in my head tiny dog tiny dog tiny dog.
Well. As we are ambling along the riverside, what is there before us but a gaggle of children and two tiny adorable puppies. And us, being us (because Rob is also a dog lover though I think he has his infatuation a little more under control), stood there weirdly, watching these children heft these puppies around like living teddy bears, until this lady--presumably the owner of both the flock of children and the two puppies in question--snags both and walks over and says "I see you looking" and hands them to us.
And this is how my brain goes: JOY! RAPTURE! DELIGHT! OH MY GOD I LOVE PUPPIES SO MUCH
One of these puppies looks like an Ewok. Really. All fluff and nothing else. But the other puppy is shorter-haired and camel-colored and falling fast asleep against me and I think "Oh goddammit I'm in love." Too soon, one of the forty-six assembled children tugs on my hem and asks for the puppy back, and I let it go, knowing, as we've been saying to this lady the whole time we're holding these dogs, oh, we can't get a puppy, we have no money, we have no room, etc. etc. But at the same time I'm thinking this is about the most content I've felt in weeks, maybe months, maybe years, holding this little sleeping mutt, who was found under a piece of cardboard, alone with his siblings, in some terrible frigid field. That being said, he is outrageously mellow and happy to nap on a practical stranger.
I only forget about the puppy that day because we spend the entire afternoon driving around North Carolina--first we find the ocean, then we find a lake, and in between we find a lot of little highways. We have dinner, we watch a movie, we remark on what a wondrous day we've had, and then we fall asleep.
Monday I do something stupid. I have gone on a long walk and realized I want nothing more than to walk a dog, and that that dog will be named Pinto, and that if I word it right, I could put up a craigslist ad hunting for that same little yellow puppy I held yesterday, and he could be ours, and everything would be good in the world again.
Long story short: That's exactly what happened.
The ad is half missed-connection, half-imploring request, and I think it's foolish and impossible and I should probably take it down before someone attacks me with one of those "SAVE THESE SHELTER DOGS GIVE THEM LIFE YOU ALONE CAN BE THEIR CHANCE AT EXISTENCE" posts when through the wires of the internet, lo! A response. The puppies are being fostered by a local humane society, but yes, call this number, fill out this application, we'll see you on Thursday.
All week I fret. I fret that Pinto will not be as cute as I remember. I fret that he will be an enormous, unruly beast and he will eat the couch whole. I fret that he will chew a hole through our patio fence and choke on splinters and catch puppy cancer and die. I fret that he won't be happy, and that I'm making a huge mistake. A huge mistake, or maybe the best choice I've ever made.
See? That's how I feel about everything.
Then it's Thursday, and we're at the foster house, and the Ewok still looks like an Ewok, and there's our Pinto, and holy fuck how can anything be that cute and real at the same time, and he rides in my lap all the way home, and we walk him around on his little blue leash, and I just realized the level of love and detail in this post might be overtly weird to some of you reading this because I'm getting a little self-conscious but then, really, all you need to know is we now have Pinto and he's amazing.
So March is going to kick major ass for several reasons.
1) March is a verb and march is exactly what I'm going to do--to the future! To progress! To success and contentment! plus 2) KARLI RIGGS IS COMING TO VISIT ME!!!! and 3) I'm spending my entire spring break with my boyfriend and my bike and my dog. Because I have a dog now. And his name is Pinto and he's amazing. And if you are in Wilmington and this post has made you puppy-envious, Pinto's littermates are up for adoption on craigslist right now (all fostered by the Columbus Humane Society, the headings all list them as 7 week puppies).
Can a dog save your life?! Can this dog save mine?!
Yes, yes, yes, oh my god, yes.