Puppies with a side of clarity

I am 3 weeks into puppy motherhood. Kika has been a welcome energy into my home during the pandemic. I had been going back and forth on the idea of rescuing a dog since January. Ultimately I decided against it until I felt more ready and had a better sense of what this year would look like. Then COVID came and changed everything. I was now stuck at home struggling with my many hard thoughts. Doing my best to manage my anxiety and stress and feelings of loneliness. I thought this was the best time to get a dog. So I got myself on Petfinder.com and began my search for my fur child. 

It was interesting to see how my urge to swipe was fed by using this website. As I searched for the perfect furry companion I thought to myself that it was just like using a dating app. You look at pictures and make judgements about personality, temperament, and compatibility. Dude’s gym and travel pictures are replaced with pictures of puppies in baskets, wearing bowties, or even costumes. The profiles have the same useless information about background and age. Quotes or song lyrics or Myers Briggs personality types are replaced with simple statements like “I am a good boy” or “I love to play catch.” Just like on Tinder or Bumble, a statement like that is still not going to tell me exactly how many dumps this creature will take on my floor or in my life. For a moment I cried about this. I cried when I thought back to the many bad dates I went on and thought “this whole time I could have been swiping on puppies instead of insecure dudes, fuck boys, and weirdos.”

I always want pizza when I cry. There is something about the sauce and cheese that I find comforting I suppose. I wanted to order some but realized I just paid all my bills and so I was broke until pay day. I needed to make dinner out of whatever was in my fridge and pantry. To add to this complication, I hadn’t been grocery shopping in a week and a half. I got up and went into the kitchen ready to be disappointed at whatever thing I would need to prepare that was not pizza. As I dug through my stuff I realized something magical: I had all the things I needed to make something resembling a pizza. Then I was hit with another moment of clarity. I grocery shop the way I do for moments like this. I am smart enough, wise enough, awesome enough to have the ingredients I need on hand to make a pizza happen when I am broke. That is how much I take care of my future self! I thought “no man will ever have my back like that but a puppy might!” I prepared my pizza-ish dinner and continued my search on Petfinder. Over the next several weeks I applied at numerous dog rescues attempting to procure the furry love of my life with no luck. It was lots of obstacles and questions and bureaucracies and by the time I would get close to meeting a dog I’d get the same rejection: “oh we want this dog to go to a home with other dogs” and then I was back to square one. It was frustrating but I was trying to be understanding. I know that many animal rescues across the county have been seeing more applications to foster and adopt pets since the start of the pandemic. I decided to take a different approach. 

Rather than make a puppy happen via this website I was going to manifest one. Just put it out in the universe and let it come to me. So I made space for the dog I had yet to meet throughout my home. I put a comfy cushion in a corner and bowls with water and fruit on the floor. I told myself my companion was on their way and then I waited. While I waited I mentioned to a friend that I was having trouble with adopting a rescue pup and was giving up the search. Two days later she text messaged me two pictures of puppies and said “Both of them are girls. Which one do you want?” Her neighbor, and brother’s mother-in-law, had a dog who recently birthed a litter. Among them was Kika who is in my home now. I was immediately attracted to her caramel color, big floppy ears, and the kindness in her little eyes. There she was. My manifested furry companion who came to me the moment I stopped trying to orchestrate a connection. Yet another lesson I can apply to my dating life.

Over the last three weeks since Kika has been home with me I have been overwhelmed with emotion. Particularly at how much I missed having dogs in my home. When I was married we had two dogs, Guapo and Pippi. When we divorced I decided to let the ex-husband keep them. It was the hardest decision for me. I loved those dogs deeply but I didn’t have the heart to separate them. I was also devastated by the situation and in that devastation decided that I wanted no memories of the life I shared with this person as I moved into my new life. Looking back, I wonder if that was the right choice. I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that Kika’s puppy energy was always meant to be here. Its not coincidence to me that the way I ended up with Kika was the same way I got my second dog, Pippi. My co-worker’s mother where I worked at the time, had a dog who had a litter of puppies. One of those puppies was Pippi. She was the only girl in the litter and very shy. I picked her up from an apartment in east LA. I brought her home in a cardboard box at 12 weeks old weighing two pounds and nurtured her through all her puppy phases and beyond. She was my girl. She knew when I was sad. She laid on my stomach when I had cramps. She was nothing but love. I don’t know where Pippi is now, but I know that all I learned from nurturing her will serve me well as I care for Kika. I am also certain that Kika will have my future self’s back too. Together we will cuddle and watch TV and eat pizza like snacks I make from pantry ingredients. I plan to enjoy every minute of it.

Thanks for reading

-D

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