Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Dog Days of Winter

Every once in a while I go to a website for one of our local animal shelters and browse to see if any of the dogs catch my eye.  Heather and I live about as unencumbered a life as possible, considering the fact that there is nothing that depends upon us for life, be it child, pet, or even plant.  I suppose the dust mites in our bed sheets might wither away without the flakes of skin that we contribute to their diet, a sort of manna from heaven for such tiny creatures if you will, but I don't know if they would actually perish or not.  Besides, if you are microscopic you don't count.

Needless to say, I was actually interested in the look of a small-medium sized dog that was estimated to be a terrier mix.  Surprisingly, when I showed the picture to Heather she also was interested, so we decided to pay a visit to the local pound.  Unfortunately, this particular dog was adopted before we got a chance to see him, but we did stroll around and look at the rest of the inmates.  If you have never been to an animal shelter, it's pretty depressing.  The dogs would approach us from behind their chain linked cages and look with sad eyes at us as if they knew that we, like most visitors, would probably not be taking them home.  Some shivered in the cold, others barked excitedly, while some just looked at us as we passed by.

It's hard to get a feel for a dog's personality in such confines, but we did get to spend some one-on-one time with three of the dogs.  Not surprisingly they all spent the majority of their time checking out their new surroundings when we took them for a walk, and focused mainly on investigating the smells they encountered while ensuring they left their own scent behind in various locations.  I'm thankful that human beings developed the handshake to introduce ourselves, so there's no need to urinate in various high traffic areas to say hi to others.

Unfortunately, none of the three dogs we checked out seemed the right fit, although one, a lab mix wouldn't be a bad dog at all.  She had the look and more importantly the temperament of a black lab but was more medium than large sized, due apparently to whatever other breed was involved in what was undoubtedly a passionate but unapproved exchange on a sultry night in Texas. (I wonder if dogs call it "doing it our style"?)  I think Heather and I are ready to take on the responsibility of having a pet, but we will have to wait a bit longer to find the right one.