D for Dogs: being a dogless dog lover

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Default photo from my phone. Look at those precious eyes.

The simple question, “what’s your favorite animal?” puts me in a dilemma. I should be answering “rabbit,” my spirit animal, but I adore dogs more than anything else.

Years ago for an assignment, I composed a waltz for the piano, titled “Dog Dreams.” As I explained to my audience before performing the piece, the A section is in a minor key to explain how sad I am that I don’t have a dog. The B section is in a happy major key to represent a dream where I get a dog. When the sad A section repeats at the end, it’s because I wake up from the dream to face a dogless reality.

Our family never got a dog mainly because my mom won’t go near one, even if she thinks it’s cute. She would also cite the difficulties of raising dogs whenever I got too idealistic about having one. Dogs poop and shed fur everywhere. They need walks. They destroy all your possessions. They can be as incorrigible as human babies.

But people raise dogs (and human children) all the time, so they must be worth the trouble. I’d pick up poop daily if it meant that I could cuddle with a puppy and stare into its large, innocent eyes. 

A dog’s love amazes me all the time. Sometimes we dogsit a beagle for a family friend, and he stays in the backyard. He often loses interest in me if I don’t have food, but he can sense when I need him. One day when I was upset, he plodded over and lay at my feet, making me feel much calmer.

I imagine that being a dogless dog lover is a little like being a childless couple trying to get pregnant. This Buzzfeed article can accurately explain the feeling. Anyone who hangs out me must accept that I will point out every dog in my vicinity and squeal “Dog!” as if I’ve never seen one before. When I’m bored or sad, I watch dog videos on YouTube to cheer myself up. One of my roommates thinks I’m too obsessed. The other sends me links to cute dog videos.

Dogs make me smile, whether they’re small or large, fluffy or smooth-haired. I love it when they hang out of car windows, or when people carry them so that their paws wave in the air. It’s especially adorable when owners, particularly in Taiwan, push their little lapdogs around in strollers.

I feel a kinship with everyone who has a slight obsession for these furry creatures. There’s nothing better than communal events centered around dogs, like Berkeley’s “Pet Hugs” program that helps students relieve stress. Or online platforms like Dog Shaming and YouTube, where people share stories, pictures, and videos of their pets’ shenanigans.

Some day, when the circumstances allow for it, I’ll get a dog. Until then, I’m happy to shower my love on every dog I meet. Dogs bring so much happiness to humans, it’s only fair that I return the favor.

This post is part of the Alphabet Project, where I write a post for each letter of the alphabet. It was inspired by Ash Huang’s Alphabet Meditations.

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