A good friend of mine, whom I’ll call, Amy, recently got a dog.
Before the dog came into the picture a typical outing with Amy went something like this:
- Meet at Starbucks for iced mochas around 2pm.
- Window shop on Rodeo Drive, Melrose Ave or Robertson Blvd.
- Drive to Saks or Barney’s to just walk around and check out the latest fashions.
- Have dinner.
- Find another restaurant to have desert (my idea).
- Go to a club or crash some private party.
- Part ways around 3am.
Oh, how I miss the pre-dog days.
Now that Amy is a “mommy” (her words, not mine) to an 80-pound lab, everything has changed. Our outings are completely scheduled around her dog’s play-dates, training sessions and dog-park runs.
Our last meeting lasted a mere few hours because Amy thought her dog was getting too much sun and needed to go home before he got too tired.
Our recent outings are reminiscent of the 80/20 rule. Amy spends 80% of our time together either talking about or to her dog. Our conversations are less meaningful because every minute or two she stops talking with me to either kiss, re-assure, pet, comfort or feed the dog.
We can now only dine at restaurants that have outdoor seating because well, the dog goes everywhere we go. And yes, she orders for both of them.
The dog goes into every shop with us and there’s always a staff person who will scramble to find treats and water for him.
Eighty percent of the people with whom we come into contact don’t even speak to me – they only see the dog. Each encounter with a new dog owner lasts several minutes. I just stand there listening to the exact same conversation Amy just had with a previous dog owner – not even five minutes before this latest encounter. It’s like I’m not there.
The dogs, of course, are having a blast sniffing each other and being doted upon by their owners.
If you know me, then you know I do not have any difficulty expressing my feelings. I have shared my thoughts with Amy and she’s made it clear that the dog is like her child; he goes where she goes. End of story.
She also told me that her dog has never eaten dog food. She cooks all his meals.
I understand her connection with her dog. I really do. I see how much she loves him. Amy tells me all the time about how he’s better than a child because he doesn’t complain and is always happy to be with her.
I finally asked myself the following questions:
- Am I being unreasonable?
- Am I asking for too much?
- Am I jealous of the dog?
- Do I need to accept that this is the way things are going to be?
- Do I need to appreciate what’s good here?
I realized I was being pouty and unreasonable in wanting things to be like they were. I reminded myself that nothing stays the same; everything is always changing and evolving.
I had a choice. I could either continue to be annoyed with Amy or embrace my evolving friendship with her.
I decided to let it go. I decided to evolve and to grow.
I now accept that the dog is part of the deal. The back seat of my car is now covered with dog hair. I’m ok with that.
I’m guessing it will take another couple of outings for me to stop referring to him as “the dog” and to use his name.
Give me time – I’m still evolving.