Discover more from Love Letter Day X
Dogs are lovely
TW: death of pets
Though it should render the opinion largely useless because it is only when I read it on social media that I become upset, I became prepossessed with the position that people take on Twitter, that adopting a dog is commensurate to having a human child. I don’t think anyone doubts that loving a dog can be all-consuming, but to compare it with raising humans is inexorably an insult to children, or guardians, I think.
For reasons I can’t totally delineate—though my best guess is that I was triggered by a conversation with a dog owner in a professional meeting I’d had moments earlier with a total stranger. In the meeting, a member of the cohort seemed perturbed by an employee’s dog barking in the background while the rest of us carried on our pace of conversation. Another person broke the tension by saying they loved their dogs more than their children but understood they both could be disruptive. We all smiled and carried on. I fantasized having a debate with dog parents on my bike ride home from the office. I fake dialogues with myself often in the car, but if I’m on my bike talking to myself you know I mean it. Thoughts raced through my mind of how I’d get in a fight with the dog defender. If they argued it was possible to love a dog as much as a human child, I’d zap them with this riposte I had prepared:
Do you jolt awake worried your dog may become the victim of a school shooting? Do you make major financial decisions and locate your home based on arbitrary safety parameters of your school districts, knowing full well you have little control over your dog’s well being once they’re out of your supervision? Do you have life insurance policies on your dog that include clauses for acts of terror?
I raced on my bike belittling the dog owner’s lack of terror in their anxiety, when I turned the corner on my block and dismounted my bike a couple doors up the street. As I got off my saddle I noticed everybody from the house in front of me slowly processing something out of their vestibule.
Two sizable men carried a home-made gurney: a folding chair buoyed by two 2x4s covered in a blanket. Everybody who lives there was sobbing at the doorway, holding each other, barely able to watch the gurney descend their stoop. I recognized the silhouette of the blanket as their dog’s.
I clutched my chest and started panicking.
These poor souls have just lost their beloved dog. These people are in deep grief and I had just berated their kin in my mind, because of some small talk at a business meeting.
I stopped for the procession and whispered I’m sorry to the matriarch of the home. They all looked like they’d been crying for hours while their killer, a neighbor, me…I stood mere steps from their door, clutching her heart working up a sweat from imaginary anger. My face started buzzing numb.
I walked away and locked my bike, entered my home and looked my son in the eyes, who returned my stare and leaned forward so I could kiss his head.