I’ve come to realize that in the search for a decent relationship, a pet owner is an especially good bet, particularly when the pet is a dog. Ownership of any animal means that on a basic level, an individual can handle a serious commitment; it means they can remember to feed something besides themselves, and that they’re used to dealing with shit on a regular basis. But I think a dog is still a special case. A dog makes you schedule your life around its need to urinate. A dog will come at you with love in its eyes and breath that smells like a zombie’s ass. A boy who owns a dog is a boy who is not afraid to come home every day to a creature that jumps for joy and gives him a look that says, quite obviously, “I love you I need you I depend on you for my every requirement take care of me forever.” This is no small thing to face. A dog may not be a child, but it is still needy and dependent and has a knack for embarrassing you in front of people.

There is also something nice about being in a relationship with a pet owner, at least when you like the pet and the pet likes you back. It makes your duo into a nice little trio. It gives you some shared responsibilities that make you feel like a team, and that teach you how to rely on each other and work together to make sure the dog is fed and walked and bathed. These are fairly minor tasks, no doubt; you don’t have to send the dog to school or teach it table manners, and you can walk around naked in front of it. But they are responsibilities no less.

I don’t know as much about the trials and tribulations of cat ownership. I have never actually dated anyone who owned a cat. I guess this is good, because I am allergic to them. This puts a slight damper on my enthusiasm, which is further dampened by much of my interactions with cats. I tend to get along best with cats who act like pointy little dogs. In fact, I have noticed that people tend to brag about their cats by saying that they are like dogs. This to me is telling. If cats are so great, why are they even better when they act like dogs? Why not just get a dog and save yourself the disdain?

I think that’s really my main issue with cats, is that they don’t seem to care for you particularly. You call to a cat, and he just stares at you from across the room, and then turns and continues walking away. You call to a dog, and his ears perk up, and his eyes get this look like, ‘Who, ME?’ and he can’t get over to you fast enough. Granted, it’s probably because he thinks you’re going to take him outside so he can finally pee, but still. I crave that validation. I want him to want me. I need him to need me. I need therapy.

I face enough coldhearted rejection in my daily life. When I get home, I want total, complete acceptance and love. Even if it comes with breath that could flip a tank over.

 

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