Unconditional puppy love

Kristine Gill

I am not looking forward to having a child. It’s not the money it costs or the time investment that worries me. It’s not even the actual pain I’d have to endure for the birth that I’m scared of. It’s not having to take care of a little life. I’m just really scared the kid won’t like me.

I like me. I plan on getting hitched with someone who likes me. I’ve heard rumors that some of my friends and family like me, too. But this poor little kid who is going to one day come into the world might not like me. And, well, there isn’t going to be much we can do about that situation.

This horrible idea recently occurred to me because I just moved into my apartment with a dog. His name is Dublin, and he is the closest thing to a kid that I’ve ever had to look after. My aunt was taking care of Dublin for me this past year until I got an apartment. She dropped him off a little over a week ago, and I freaked.

First I freaked because Dublin is one of the cutest dogs ever to have graced this planet. Then I freaked because he almost escaped when I was opening the door. I freaked majorly when I was left alone in my apartment that day for the first time with just Dublin.

I can feed a dog, bathe it, clothe it and play with it. I can take it to the vet and give it heartworm medication each month. That’s no problema. But when I watched Dublin yelp as my aunt pulled away in the van with my uncle and cousins, I was crossing my fingers that Dublin might one day like me that much. I was crossing my legs too because he had wrapped the leash around my entire body.

When we went back inside he played with some toys and then stared out the window. He whimpered when there wasn’t anything going on and followed me to every room in our apartment. He was bored and I didn’t know what to do.

But I think I’m figuring it out, and Dublin has been nothing but supportive of my efforts.

See, the thing with dogs is, they can’t help but love you unconditionally. I’m sure there are extreme cases when a dog could hold a grudge, but for the most part, they love you. And I think Dublin is falling for me. It’s got to be easy from his perspective. I take care of him and I talk to him and he is completely oblivious to my flaws. He doesn’t care that I didn’t feel like showering for the second day in a row or that my room is a mess. He doesn’t know I didn’t do that thing I said I would do or that I didn’t do my best on my homework assignment. For all he knows I’ve never lied or cheated, I’m not greedy and I don’t have guilty pleasures.

What’s weird is that I can pinpoint all of Dublin’s flaws. He smells. He chews things he shouldn’t, he tips garbage cans and eats the stuffing out of his toys. He mounts friendly visitors and would rather dump a load on our carpet than in the grass. He doesn’t always listen, he’s stubborn, he leaves the toilet seat up and he’s a compulsive liar. But I love him anyway, because he loves me despite those flaws of mine that don’t technically exist in doggie land. So it’s easy to love him right back despite the very real flaws that stain carpets and have a strong stench in human land.

So I’m not as worried as I could be about having kids who like me. For starters, it won’t be anytime soon. Once it does happen though, and I find myself alone in a room for the first time with some baby who apparently belongs to me, I’ll just think of Dublin. I’ll think of how much furrier Dublin was, how much more he bit as an infant and how much he loved me because I took care of him the best I could. And assuming that kid of mine eventually learns how to use the bathroom and avoid tipping garbage cans, I’ll be able to love him right back.

Kristine Gill is a junior newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected] for parenting tips and tricks.