Dogs are like kids

Some people cringe if you say that dogs are like kids – especially people who have never been really close to a dog before. I have had the privilege of being pretty close to two dogs in my lifetime, and I have to say that in some respects, my life revolves around my dogs at least as much as if they were my children.

With my first dog, Detta, I felt it acutely as I was looking for an apartment right here in Minnesota. When I checked from Georgia, I could only find 6 apartment complexes that would even entertain the idea of renting to me, based on her weight and breed. Two changed their policies before I moved and were out of the running. Two more had no apartments available. One place never called me back and so we really just had once place available. In all of the Twin Cities! Who knows what they were thinking, just look at how cute she was!

She is totally looking at a bit of prosciutto here...

Later, when I was looking to purchase my first house, my list of requirements included more things for Detta (the yard (a fence), the neighborhood (not too close to other dogs), the kitchen (cabinets she couldn’t get in to), than there were for me (close to work, a big kitchen). Just after closing, I was told that the company who offered me my homeowner’s insurance had canceled my policy because she was a Rottweiler. Something they knew to begin with, I might add. I had to spend several days on a frantic search for a company that would cover – yes – the dog. There are pieces of furniture I selected mainly on their Detta-proof nature in my house. I had a whole door put in where there wasn’t one to keep her separated from the cat when necessary. There are modifications made to the hot water heater closet to keep the dog out.

One thing I never worried a lot about was the size of my place or the size of the yard. I knew that with my regular schedule of running and walking, she would get the exercise she needed. Detta was never the kind of dog to hang out in a yard, either. Even when we stayed with friends or at my mother’s house, she never wanted to be out there by herself.

Detta eventually passed (at the ripe old age of 13) and after a few months the silence in the house was too much for me. I then acquired the current dog, Bodhi, from a local shelter. He was tagged “a runner” as he had in fact, run from his previous owners several times, so he always goes out on a leash. While Bodhi has not had much of a chance to just hang out in the yard, he has never seemed all that interested in doing so. He prefers to nap in the chair.

Naptime!

With his recent heat stroke, a new variable has entered the equation. And the equation is in play again because I will be moving to do my internship next year. I have been looking at sites in Portland, Oregon, Denver, Colorado and New York City. NYC came up on the radar a little later in my thought process, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I would love to spend time in my dad’s city, see the places he used to talk about. And since it would be attached to the internship, it would not be like up and moving suddenly to the big city. I would be there on a limited time basis, one year or maybe two (if I manage a post-doc job there after the internship) and it would be with paid work and reasonable health benefits.

I checked in with my cousin, Nick, who was glad to give me some information about renting an apartment. I wanted to see how hard it would be with a big dog. So, here we are, talking about the next step in my professional life, one I am willing to grow my hair back for, and one of my big concerns is how hard will it be to find a place for the dog.

But wait, there’s more. Once I started looking, I started thinking about the new and diminished Bodhi, the Bodhi who can’t go running and who needs to be protected from the heat. What if I found a 3 floor walk-up? Would that be too much for Bodhi on a hot August day in the city? What about parks – how far away are they? Could he make it to a park? How sad would his life be if we could only get to the park once a week? How long would it take to get him used to pooping on the sidewalk? He’s kind of particular in the yard, even.

I really, really love the idea of spending a year in NYC. I do. But I don’t know if that would really work for the dog. I considered, briefly, whether or not I could get m y mom to “baby sit” him for the year, but that would be another crazy thing – she lives in Georgia and the heat is immense there. Plus I am not at all sure she would even be interested in trying. Meanwhile, both Portland and Denver have nice greenery, the rent is just over half of what it would cost me in NYC and the weather less extreme.

It’s a lot of thought to have to expend on the part of a dog…

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