I’m thinking about a T-shirt we bought our (then) senior art director years ago. “Spellers untie” ran unceremoniously across the back. He couldn’t spell to save his life. Actually, I’m thinking about the word picture of that knot, how twisty I am and how paradoxical our lives can be. I can’t get the romantic, placid side of me to unite with my sensible, everything-in-its-place-and-here’s-a-great-storage-solution-if-you-don’t-have-a-place self.
An oil of Madame Fréret d’Héricourt (French, neoclassicism, 1769) dressed in a pink brocade gown and seated holding her dog on her lap hangs at the Nelson Atkins Museum. The gallery label says of the sitter that her “pose and gaze are relaxed but self-assured,” and the “inclusion of a favorite pet indicates a capacity for kindness and affection.”
Well that’s me. I’m over-the-top kind and affectionate to our circus pup, and alarmingly, screamingly Mrs. Clean. This creature came with a gallery label that said, “sheds minorly. Expect her to blow her coat twice a year.” We should own stock in rollerbrushes. I am a little bit of the ilk of my dad who believes that animals belong outside or on a farm, and my mother, who has not met a state of disorder she will not work to overcome. Want freedom? Want a clean home? Want order? Want not to replace shoes and books and rugs and eyeglasses more than once a lifetime? Do not get a dog.
But oh there is another side. What else will so ensnaringly ensure that you see a sunrise, get more steps on your Apple watch, visit every fountain and revolving hotel door within walking distance, mourn your absence, acrobatically cheer your return and entreat you to add to your curated collection of English dog pillows? How would you so easily meet so many lovely dogwalkers and hear their stories?
And did I mention that after experiencing the unbelievable talent of a pastry chef in an Australian bakery this morning, then sidestepping from curiosity to see a cordoned-off statue, we ran head-on into an immaculate, beautiful, rolling-like-an-English-meadow, private and off-leash dog park? Well if that isn’t a reason to get a dog, what is?
Most sincerely, I love our rescue pup and rue the day we got her. But here’s my bottom line. Some things cannot be made to be black and white. Things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. A pet and [read freedom, order, cleanliness] can exist in our home at the same time with a little more observation and work. And like the early-morning rising at 5 am and … training before we bought jingle-bells-on-watch-plaid that hang from our door, this heightened inconvenience will pass. Like a bull in a china cup.