What Puppy Lust Has Taught Me About Baby Rabies
I’ve done my fair share of poking fun at people with full-blown Baby Rabies. You know the type – the ones whose biological clocks start BRRRRRRINGING at the very sight of a double-wide Bugaboo stroller. The ones who make new moms a little nervous with such comments to the baby as, “You’re so cute, I could just STEAL YOU!” I’ll admit, I’ve been giving these crazy ladies a hard time. But that’s all going to have to grind to a halt because it’s recently come to my attention that I’ve developed a raging case of PUPPY LUST.
When we’re on The Strand and people are passing by every two seconds with some prancing ball of fur on a leash (or in a stroller – this is Manhattan Beach after all), my IQ dips to that of a three year-old. I point at every single one and say, “Doggie!” or “Look at him go!” or “So tiny!” and other such intelligent observations. If there’s a car driving past with a dog hanging its head out the window, forget it. I’m done. My day is made, but Drew’s is ruined because I won’t stop talking about how there’s truly nothing that expresses sheer joy better than a dog with his tongue in the wind.
I didn’t grow up with dogs (my Mom would dash across the street if she fancied there was a Chihuahua looking at her the wrong way), and I’ve never really considered getting one in my adult life. They always seemed to be about a diaper genie away from having a baby, what with all the waking up at ungodly hours for morning walks and never being able to just set out a bowl of food and water for an overnight trip. But with my puppy obsession reaching new heights, I decided to start volunteering at a local animal shelter to get my fix, hoping this would be enough to cure me.
Drew was a nervous wreck on my first day, convinced I’d be rolling home with a Toyota Highlander stuffed to the brim with Pomeranians. I won’t pretend that wasn’t a real possibility, but to both his and my surprise, I’ve been going the The Lange Foundation* every week for a few months now and have yet to add another four-legged friend to the house. Is it because the dogs aren’t overwhelmingly cute? Oh, I don’t know, why don’t you ask my friend Barney here?
He’s pissed you even asked. Is it because I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of worth in knowing that I’ve made their day a little better? Ricky here does this little lip-smacking thing when he’s satisfied with my petting skills that just about kills me.
Is it because they don’t do the darnest things and make me laugh every time I go in? If you could see Confi’s hilarious gait, with his tiny legs kicking up from side to side when he walks, you wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face either.
But do any of these things make me want to take any of them home on a permanent basis? Well, of course. For about two minutes, until I really think it through. Do I want to surrender the currently un-destroyed state my furniture, take a shower every time I’m covered with slobbery licks, leave work when they get sick, feel terrible about boarding them for a weekend or asking our friends to take them in when we go on vacation? Much as I love them, they just don’t fit with my lifestyle and I don’t feel that I’m missing out on some incredible life experience that would make it all worthwhile to me.
So why can I come to this conclusion with such clarity when it comes to dogs, and remain so confused when it comes to babies? Whom, incidentally, I do NOT excitedly point out on the street. Maybe it’s because the life experience I’m missing out on with a dog is a little more clearly defined to me because of the time I spend walking with them, or because I have cats. But the whole having-a-kid thing remains just a giant fuzzy Unknowable. Perhaps the answer would reveal itself if I experimented with taking in a foreign exchange student or volunteering at a baby-walking facility. Perhaps I should stop making things up like “baby-walking facilities” and just take one of my friends’ babies out for a walk.
Anyone have a baby they want to loan me, in need of some fresh air and exercise?
[insert chirping crickets]
Fine, then does anyone have any words of wisdom about whether spending more time around babies might clarify things for me? Is it only because I’ve never had younger cousins or siblings (Matt, you don’t count since we’re only a year apart) and almost none of my friends out here have babies yet? Am I going to have to go all Elisabeth Shue on everyone, feather my bangs and start having weekly Adventures in Babysitting to get to the bottom of this?
*Boy, I did a terrible job of convincing you all to adopt a dog at Lange! But for those of you who are better people than me, Lange is a wonderful place to find a furry friend (they have cats too!) OR volunteer – we’re always in need of more walkers!