I was heartbroken.
I lived alone.
I was getting stoned too much because I didn’t like spending time with myself.
Finally my mother told me “It’s just so helpful having another heartbeat in the house” so I started the adoption search.
Except, just like I was finding with men, the cool and cute and kind variety are hard to come by. I would visit the local pound and be met by these huge, evil, depressed beasts I just knew would not be down with co-op living.
I thought about a bunny or a cat but those are just too fucking self sufficient. I wanted something that needed me, cried out for me, that if I did not pay it daily attention- would die. I wanted to baby a creature in the same way I needed to be cared for myself. So then of course, after months of searching I was on a pitbull rescue site and I found her.
I have no idea what I was doing on this particular website. I am scared of pitbulls. When I walk by one I imagine them locking their jaws into my leg and tearing out my femur in one smooth move and walking away with my thigh. I had a friend with a pitbull stay with me once and I slept with my door closed in case it came for my jugular at night. So I was on this random (not true at all, because it was clearly not random) site and there she was.
A Chihuahua. Four pounds. Seven years old. Two broken legs and had just given birth to her sixth litter of puppies. She had been a puppy mill mom and I like to imagine how she escaped; One night she got her paws around the chain and with her overgrown nails picked the lock and opened her cage. After she jumped down from four stories up and rolled ninja style across the cement floor she found an opening in the chain link fence that led outside. She looked back at the other sleeping dogs, some of them her own newly born flesh and blood. She steeled herself and looked towards freedom. After years of forced rape and captivity she crawled through the tiny hole, ripping her own skin against the chain, found herself in a wet ditch at the bottom of a busy highway and came looking for me.
Someone found her actually, walking alongside the busy highway with milk dripping from her breasts or teets or whatever dog boobs are called. The woman who found her said after she brought her home she would round up all the plushy toys in the house into a corner and try to nurse them while she whimpered softly. Sooooo sad! Soooo cute!
All the other dog shelters were full so they dropped her off at the pitbull place where she fended for herself while awaiting rescue. Then the vet decided before she could be adopted she needed surgery on two of her legs and a hysterectomy because her uterus was falling out. This was my kind of dog. I picked her up outside of a Home Depot in the suburbs. I borrowed my friends Buddha Baby wrap and I tied her to my body. I carried her to work. I slept with her in bed. I did not leave her alone for one minute-ever.
I named her Midge and she sat on my lap while I was eating, pooping, on the computer and reading. We did not break contact. I went a bit dog crazy I suppose but it got me thinking about all the lunatics out there who walk their dogs in strollers. Here I am wrapping my dog in a fucking Baby Bjorn and going grocery shopping. I didn’t even thing about how it must look because I was too consumed with her wellbeing.
If one day you find yourself acting in some sort of socially abhorrent way that deeply hurts all parts of your intelligent self, like for example; pretending your dog is a baby- you know you are on the right track if you behave similarly to the way I did and don’t give a shit.
When folks would laugh and point and make comments like “is that a rat you’re walking” I would lash back with “fuck you man, is that the ugliest person in the world you are walking, oh no, that’s just a mirror…” and other really witty, incoherent jabs like that.
Later, I learned to be more socially couth but I always let these assholes know that it was not Midges fault that she was so small. It was like I was teaching the public not to shame my disabled daughter. Unpredictable like a mighty mama bear I would have none of it. None. You hear me.
Which is exactly what she needed- to have someone finally stick up for her. To have an ally who put her before their own personal needs and would beat the shit out of any dicks or bitches in her way. Through being Midge’s mom I learned what fierce love was and through fiercely loving her I in turn (you guessed it, do I need to even finish this sentence, okay I will just in case) began taking really good care of myself. Because it’s hard to make unhealthy choices if you have to be home every four hours to walk your pooch and no, I don’t think I want to go dancing and get stoned and end up feeling fat and old because Midge doesn’t like it when I leave and besides it’s raining out so I’ll probably just stay home and hang with her tonight. We nested. We chilled. We went to bed early and through no intention of her own the little ding-a-ling healed the shit out of me.
It was so nice to come home to another heartbeat, to have someone to talk to at night and cuddle up with. Midgey was the best boyfriend ever, (and once she even went under the covers and licked my vagina, I think because I had not bathed in a few days but I stopped her right away I swear to God because I’m not actually gonzo here, just lonely and her tongue would have been way to small anyway and she would have had no sense of rhythm). She was such a good companion that I started to notice that I was almost happy.
Six years later Midge is still here.
She is old. She is grumpy. She wakes us up every night with this high-pitched whine because she is bored. I came downstairs this morning and she had shat in five different places on the only carpeted part of my house.
The love affair has worn off but I still use her daily for my own personal healing.
When we walk down the street and kids exclaim “ooooo what a cute little dog” I pretend that they are talking about me. When passerby’s smile and point and want a photo of the furry little mini trotting along I imagine that we are movie stars and they have just spotted us and I smile and nod like the friendly famous woman I am. When I bought the stroller for our upcoming baby I put her in it and did some grocery shopping before I headed home. I pushed Midge up and down those aisles with pride. I let a man open the door for us and I smiled pleasantly when he looked in the bassinette and his expectant face turned to horror.
I am now that woman. Yes. I am.
Because fuck everyone who does not understand the love that a dog brings.
Midge will take a back seat when the kid comes.
She may even get shipped off to Grandmas.
We make jokes that when she dies we will finally get to have a real pet.
But every night, every single night I pet her and scratch her and let her ass stink tongue lick my nose because that little bitch saved me from myself.
She is the queen of everything.