I have a problem with my new apartment. Namely, the possibility that I could have a dog there.
I am a dog person. I wanted a dog pretty much from the time I started talking. When I was 7 we finally, finally got a basset hound named Nora, who proceeded to slobber, cuddle, steal food and snore her way into our hearts for the next fourteen years. Losing her was awful, and we waited almost two years before bringing another dog into our family. Gus is now a 75-pound lovebug who bowls me over every time I go back to Ohio. I miss him terribly when I’m away; I’ve got two pictures of him on my desk at work, and every time I call home I’m regaled with the latest cute, ridiculous, aggravating thing he’s done.
Now, I am in love with my apartment. The windows are incredible, the neighborhood is quiet and tree-lined, the dishwasher is brand new and I’m itching to paint the walls. It is also, however, a third-floor walk-up with no elevator. Great news for my daily workout; less so, I’d assumed, for a heavyset creature with four-inch legs. Nora followed me everywhere up and down our three-story house when I was growing up, and Gus loves stairs too. (The sight of a basset hound coming down steps from below is a hoot, let me tell you.) However, basset hounds have short legs and long backs. I’ve read in some basset rescue websites that lots of climbing can be bad for the dog’s long-term health, and that rescue societies or shelters (both of which I strongly support as options for getting a pet) may not place a dog in a home like that.
There’s good news and bad news coming up. The good news is that Gus’s breeder keeps in close contact with everyone who owns one of her puppies. We get news, photos of new litters and, since she shows dogs, all the latest from the ringside. It’s like my own breed-specific feed of Cute Overload. This week she sent out a notice saying she had two female puppies available. I know my limits. I can’t have an eight-week-old puppy right now, no matter how completely wonderful she is. But I did write back to the breeder for some clarification about the stairs issue. Just, you know, to have in my back pocket.
The bad news is that basset hounds are fine on apartment stairs. The worse news is that the breeder has a nine-month-old female who may become available in the near future.
I can’t have a dog now. I know how much work they require, and how much time I would lose. I like my free and open schedule right now, and I like my quiet, clean, brand new apartment, all of which a dog of any age would destroy. But I am and always will be, to my deepest foundations, a dog person. My heart does the equivalent of a full-body tail wag every time I see a dog. I am doomed to be a dog owner in a year or two.
First, however, I have to move quickly and respond to the breeder. She could send a photo at any moment. My resolve to hold out is strong, but possibly not that strong.