The boyfriend and I have had more than a few discussions now
about potential dog ownership (this is exactly a few more discussions than
we’ve had about babies, thank goodness). The talks are interesting ones, for
many reasons, not least of which is that they are both serious and not.
Responsibilities are weighed, but so are sillier things: we discuss how names
like “Coach” would allow the boyfriend to get “pep talks” from the dog (“Hey,
Coach, I’m feeling down”). We generally come to the same agreement: Dogs are
great. They’re a big deal. We’ll get one at some point. That point is not now.

These discussions are also pretty indicative of our
relationship in general. It’s healthy, and full of things that are both serious
and playful. But the one dog-related point of contention that we cannot settle
on might be a clincher: He wants a Dog
dog. I want an easy dog.

There is a simple reason for this—he has never owned a dog
before. His mom is an avid West Highland Terrier fan (there’s a Westie themed
bathroom in the house) and his parents have a Westie named Shona. Growing up,
however, he and his brother never had a dog. This means that our dog will be
his first dog. So he wants a Dog dog.

What is a Dog dog?
Well, when you teach a kid to draw a dog, it’s usually a furry, long-eared,
long-snouted, happy, tail-wagging pooch. A variation on a lab. A dog you can
picture running in a field, chasing a ball. The dog that well-adjusted nuclear
families have on TV (like Comet on Full House). If you’ve never had a dog, and
you’re still a little boy inside (as the boyfriend is), then this is the dog
you want.

However, if you come from a past of many, many dogs, both Dog dogs and otherwise, then you’ve seen
some things. You* know what you like and don’t like. You want easy. You want
low key. You want shorthaired. You want the opposite of Dog dog.

So what’s going to happen here? Are the boyfriend and I
doomed to part, living our sad separate existences, because we couldn’t agree
on a pooch for us?

Probably not. Like most other things, we’ll probably figure
it out. We’ll either wait until we can agree, or, more likely, we’ll become a due-dog organization. I can see it now:
He’ll be tossing a ball to Coach on the lawn while Jean-Luc Picard and I are
sunning on the deck. Nothing wrong with that.


* And by you, I mean the universal You. By which I mean