My bitch came back over one simple word. Adoption.
I took my dog to a dog park where a lady, let’s call her “Redjacket” asked me when I’d adopted my dog, seeing as how we were kind of new to the clique. I am not a Dog Person- hell; I’m barely a people person. I just looked like a dog person because I was at a dog park. I have a dog and I like her, and that is all.
My dog has a comfortable life. She has shelter, companionship, a good vet and a kennel. Treats. Toys. She is groomed and trained and sung to sleep each night. Pretty good for a dog, if you ask me. She is happy.
What she is not is adopted.
So Redjacket asked me when we adopted our dog, and I told her we’ve had her for about a year. Redjacket encouraged me to adopt another, as a companion for the first. She, by the way, had three dogs in tow.
“Get a pet for the pet?” I laughed. I thought we were joking around. We were not.
“She is not a pet.” Redjacket fumed. “She’s a member of your family. You make promises when you adopt an animal. She’ll need a pack.” She went on like this for a while, stressing the importance of responsible pet adoption. I nodded, and smiled, or maybe winced, and kept an eye on my dog, which was chasing in a circle after hers.
While she prattled on, I thought of the day my brother came home. My sister and I got all dressed up, and went to an office downtown with our parents. We all went into a little nursery where we met him, also dressed up. He was only six weeks old; his black wavy hair brushed down around his ears. He was lying on his back, gazing at a mobile, until I walked over and put my hand through the slats of the crib to touch him- our new baby. He turned his head and looked me in the eye. And then he grabbed my fingers. I felt like he knew he was my baby brother as sure as I knew I was his sister.
Suddenly, I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Animals aren’t adopted. People are.”
And then, I was a Bitch. Me AND my dog. And now, when we see that lady at the park, and our actual bitches run to cavort, Redjacket and I look the other way.
My brother was adopted.
My dog was not.
He is family.
She is A PET.
The dog doesn’t play a trumpet, or hold my hand when I’m scared or sad. Because she’s a dog. Off the furniture, eating dog food, and sleeping on her blankie – where pets belong.
Fine. I’m a Bitch. I can live with it.
November is National Adoption Month in case you’re interested in supporting a child as well as many support their dogs.