As I get older my vices become less risky and more sinful in my eyes only. I used to hitchhike and mountain bike on real mountain crags and rock climb and para sail and other stuff but then I wanted to survive and become a mother and not just give birth to them but one who could watch her daughters grow up and develop independent living skills. People who think they know me are surprised that I’m an admitted reader of PEOPLE magazine. I argue it’s a way to keep my finger on the pulse of America. I also not so secretly fantasize being featured in an article in that magazine as the pinnacle of success, preferably in the do gooder section having something to do with increasing the human animal bond in positive ways. I am contemplating letting my subscription lapse, but as the deadline nears and the renewal notices start to increase, I’m feeling that I will probably succumb to pressure and renew — maybe for 3 years!
One of my favorite habits is to get up early on Sunday mornings before anyone else and do my obligatory trudge out to the driveway — in any weather — with my trusty dog Bean who does his morning constitutional pee mail on the front tree lawn and drag in my Sunday New York Times. I make a pot of coffee and crawl back into bed. The first section I usually read is the STYLES one, sort of the PEOPLE magazine section of the hallowed NY Times; today what caught my eye was an article in the WEEK IN REVIEW called Sit. Stay. Love. by Erica Goode (who writes about human behavior for the NY Times) about the use of pets as a substitute by some people in lieu of human relationships.
What really struck me, though, were paragraphs 20 and 21 and I’ll quote:
“Dr. Gavriele-Gold [a NYC psychoanalyst in private practice in Manhattan and the author of WHEN PETS COME BETWEEN PARTNERS] described one patient as a ‘total control freak’ who became a dog trainer.
‘It worked out really well for him,’ he said. ‘He was able to marry a woman who was totally laid-back, and he had no desire to control her because he was able to do it with the dogs.”
I’m concerned about those control issues. Does becoming a dog trainer, albeit as a positive non force based one, make me a control freak? I think I’ll have to read the book before I pass judgment but I can tell you this–
— for me from the ages of 21-32 a diminutive English Springer Spaniel, Teisha, was the most significant relationship I had and outlasted friends, partners, jobs, apartments, cars, cities, and so much more. Her fall from grace as the primary happened with the birth of my first daughter. Now the balance is complete — the kids, family, close friends, dogs and cats are definitely in that order the most important to me and I’m going to let go of control and not sweep anymore today! I do however, plan to have dogs about me even when the kids leave the nest!