A 33-lb. bag of Science Diet costs $48 at the Petco on Hollywood and Bronson. I could skip that store and instead purchase a natural product recommended by the salesperson at Tailwaggers on Franklin, but that food might be more expensive.
I don't own a dog, but lately I've been haunting pet stores and imagining that I indeed have one. Not a large breed like Sasha or Buddy, the Golden Retrievers that once lived with Tommy and me, but instead, a mid-sized rescue. (Our dogs died at ages 9 and 14, their male owner at 77.)
Currently, I am renting a condo in Los Angeles, and my lease states that pets aren't allowed, so my store visits are more like fantasies. But, I have declared that at lease end, I will move to an apartment that permits dogs.
Having said that, I will foster a dog. By visiting the Adoption Fairs on occasional Saturdays at Tailwaggers, I've learned that an organization -- Dogs Without Borders -- "will supply all food, flea meds, leashes, collars, tags, and any vet needs throughout the fostering process. If you are fostering puppies, you will also be supplied with crates/pens and puppy pads. Food and care items are typically delivered with the dog and you are then resupplied at Adoption Fairs."
Doesn't that make you feel better? It did me; it reduces my skittishness at the cost of the 33-lb. bag of Science Diet and doodads that I was ogling. Also, I won't pick a puppy; it's an older dog for me. Tommy and I adopted Buddy at age 1-1/2. He was already housebroken, and I think because he was labeled an adult when we welcomed into our loving embraces, he was the sweetest, easiest dog ever.
Sasha, who was a purebred, was a bit of a handful from puppy to senior. We loved her dearly, but she did not like other dogs. And if you have such a temperamental bitch (allowed language), you know how difficult is to walk that sassy girl without her threatening to harass or bite another pooch. But, I must credit Sasha for leading me to Tommy. You see, he and I lived on the same street. It was 1996, I was divorced from my first spouse, and I was an early morning dog walker. Tommy was a fitness buff and jogged at the same hour. So every time we'd meet in the purple darkness, he would stop and pet Sasha. One thing led to another, and you know the rest of the story.
"Why do you want a dog?" my daughter, Jill, had asked when I was first pitching the idea. "You can come over and cuddle ours whenever you need a fix."
Jill's two giant Labradoodles are indeed lovable, but I'm seeking a mid-sized dog to hang out at my house; one who will welcome me with ecstatic whoops when I enter, and who will jump onto my bed at nighttime. (In my mind, there is no reason to have a dog if he/she can't be on the bed. Same with furniture. But, that's just me.)
My other daughter, Faith, said, "Do you really want the hassle? Whenever you're out, you'll have to rush home to walk the dog. Do you need that?"
I know my kids are trying to get me to slow down and think rationally -- actions completely foreign to my personality. What they don't understand is: despite my moving to Los Angeles to be closer to this family, these dear ones cannot assuage my particular loneliness.
Oh, I can book lunches with new friends every day of the week and I can visit with my concerned kin any time I desire. And, I can hug my grandchildren at will. But if you've experienced the emptiness once filled by a loving husband and a loyal, funny dog, you understand the void.
As any dog owner will tell you, potential spouses aren't the only humans one can attract with a canine at the end of your leash. Friends! At nearly every neighborhood I've lived in, there was at least one new furry friend for dog and one charming person for me. Perhaps we'll meet our duo at my next apartment building?
The only problem I can envision with my plan is the possibility of falling in love with my foster pet. What happens then to my budget? The $48 bags of Science Diet? The meds, leash, treats, vets bills that won't be funded if pooch and I skip from foster to adoption? Well, how about all of us just sitting and staying for now? Good girl. Good boy.