Dateland: A Dog’s Life

By Jennifer Parello July 10, 2014

Categories: Dating & Relationships, Our Lives

I’m sitting in my “writing chair.” As the name suggests, this is the chair I sit in when I write my column. (Although, it should be called the “watching television and drinking wine chair” since that’s its main function.)

I like the chair not because it’s comfortable (it’s not), but because its threatening design (it looks like a cross between a pterodactyl and a meatloaf) discourages my dogs from climbing on it.

I’m not one of those fancy people who do not allow their dogs to jump on furniture. My dogs are allowed anywhere I’m allowed! In the bed. On the couch. On top of my chest while I try to perform yoga at home.

But I don’t like them to sit with me while I write. Why? Because they are jealous of my computer. It takes attention away from them, so they hate it. They swat the cover shut so I can’t type. They bite it. They slap the keyboard with their paws, creating typos. (Yes, they are to blame for every typo in my columns.)

I have two miniature schnauzers and a French bulldog. The Frenchy was a good dog when we first got her, but the schnauzers have corrupted her. Very similar situation to when the Germans occupied Paris. The Frenchy used to be my ally. Now she’s a willing collaborator with my oppressors.

The dogs also hate my girlfriend. She, too, steals my attention from them. They form a literal dog-wall between us in bed, preventing the slightest possibility of physical affection. Occasionally, my girlfriend will lure them out of the bedroom with a chew-treat. However, they quickly realize the ruse and then all three hurl their pot-roast-sized bodies against the door until we let them in.

When you’re a young lesbian, no one tells you what your life will become after you tire of late-night bar hopping and senseless romantic drama. When you grow up and stop looking for “the one” (because there isn’t “the one” but rather “the latest one”), you start collecting creatures.

When I was in my 20s, I played host to the occasional cat. This is the perfect pet for your 20s. It lives its life and you live yours. You can’t imagine being mature enough to own a proper set of steak knives let alone another living thing. But by your 40s, you’re entire life revolves around your pets.

This is how it happens: You get your first dog when you move in with your first serious girlfriend. When that ends badly, you engage in an ugly custody battle for the dog. You lose. Grief stricken, you get drunk and adopt a couple puppies via the website of a local pet shelter.

A week or so after getting the puppies and vowing to never again enter into a relationship with a human being, you meet a woman and move in together. She has at least one cat and a couple of dogs. (You are too wise to become involved with a woman who owns a reptile.) Together, you adopt a few more. Eventually, you break up. Another ugly custody battle ensues. Somehow you wind up with a couple of her pets in addition to your own.

So, by your mid-40s, your house is overrun with animals. You don’t go out at night because you feel guilty leaving them alone. You don’t have sex, because it upsets them. You choose their needs and feelings over your own. They’re little brutes who destroy your shoes and demand your undivided attention. You’d never put up with this behavior from a girlfriend. But because they can’t talk, which allows you to use your powers of denial to ignore the fact that they only love you because you feed them, you forgive their slobbering, their shedding, and their bullying. Because they make you happier than anything else in life.

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