The Story Of A Girl And Her Dog.
I’ve always been a dog person. My family had a Golden Retriever when I was growing up that was the sweetest, most loyal family dog ever, but once I left home for college I found myself missing the companionship of man’s best friend.
College was neither the best or worst of times for me. I have always been kind of “fringey”, which to me means that I have friends from various friend groups but no group of friends of my own. I guess I was lonely. I was living in an apartment with my roommate, Andrew, but Andrew was always very, very busy, (he’s at Harvard now getting his business degree. I guess that is why he was always so busy 🙂 ) so I had lots of time to myself. It was *almost* like living alone.
I found Bogart at a shelter in the valley. He had been brought to the shelter as a stray, was microchipped, adopted from the shelter, and then the mean owner decided they didn’t want him, but instead of bringing him back to the no-kill shelter from which they adopted him, they dropped him off at the pound. Luckily, because he was microchipped, the pound contacted the shelter, and the shelter took him back. I met lots of dogs at that shelter, but Bogart was the only dog that sat on my lap. To me, that seemed like a sign (maybe a fucked-up sign of what was to come, but a sign nonetheless). I took Bogart home with me. We were madly in love.
Something was off with this little pup, though. He wouldn’t venture very far from my room and, eventually, he started bumping into things. I naively thought for a time that maybe he was just shy.
Eventually, I was convinced the behavior was not normal, even for a newly adopted, older dog, so I took him to the vet. He had cataracts, of course, but I was told that could be easily removed with surgery. I was absolutely willing to do surgery to give this poor thing a chance at a having a great life going forward. Before surgery, I consulted with a veterinary optometrist (yes-they have those) and was VERY disappointed to learn that, yes, we could remove the cataracts, but that would not help Bogart see. He had a genetic condition and his retinas were degenerating. He would go completely blind. I would never be able to give him a perfect life like I had planned. I cried all the way home, wailing to my mom about how I would never be able to fix him! She reminded me that the shelter had offered to take him back, but I balked. He was mine now.
Looking back on it, we were the perfect pair. He didn’t like to wander too far; preferred my bed or laying near me on the couch. I was in college and then law school, so that worked out great for me. He was my best friend. He would rear up on his hind legs whenever I came through the door.
I even got really into the “blind dog” thing. I have a sweatshirt that I wear often:
He responded to commands Max and I made for him like “Step up” and “Step down”.
Around the time my father was diagnosed with cancer, Bogart was also diagnosed with cancer. It was slow-growing. Bogart outlived my dad by about 6 months, and he was the king of the house until the day he left us this last summer.
Whoa. I’m tearing up here.
I miss having a dog so much. I miss having someone (a dog) care when I come home at night after work. Don’t get me wrong, Smudge is my princess, but I’m a dog person to the bone (see what I did there?).
Still, I just don’t think right now is the right time for me to adopt. Max and I want the timing to work out such that we can get a new puppy when our imaginary kids are 5-7. You know they will want a puppy! So I wanted to adopt an older dog again, but I feel like I would be leaving Max out of such an important part of our life down here if I got a dog while he was living away. Max worries the dog might now like him. Then what?
Anyway, I can only hope that when I do adopt my next dog someday, that the dog is even remotely as amazing as my Bogart was. Miss him. Really do. Even if he stopped rearing up on his hind legs years ago.
Though I could never cure his blindness, I do think Max and I gave him the perfect life.