Puppy Love


I have been spending a lot of time in Hoboken lately. Lots of great stuff in Hoboken, along with a high concentration of yuppies, baby carriages, and dogs. Coming from the Upper East Side, I’m beginning to wonder … Is this my inevitable fate? Yuppies, baby carriages, and dogs? And if so, the real question is: purebred or mutt?

Growing up, I never liked dogs. I felt that they were emotionally shallow animals. And really, who wants to invest all that time in an animal — all the training, playing, walking, feeding, poop-scooping — who will love up anyone and everyone? My thought was that if I’m going to do all of that, I want to be the undeniable favorite. In an ideal world, my pet would ignore, if not attack, anyone who wasn’t me (without incurring a lawsuit, of course, since we’re dealing with the ideal world). So, cats were my pet of choice. Then I went to therapy. Now I like dogs. They really are emotionally complex and super cute. Not to mention that as a single woman, I would like to avoid the stigma of owning cats. Oh, and there’s no good way to house a litter box in a 320 sq. ft. apartment. At least, not when you’re as lackadaisical (read: lazy and messy) as I am.

So, back to my inevitable fate. I have to believe that someday I will have a dog, since I am white, yuppie, and no longer harbor any principled objections to the canine disposition. Once I realized this, the question then became, “Which breed of dog should I get?”, which broke down into three inquiries: (1) Which breed is calm? After all, barking and jumping is unnecessary in the grand scheme of things and I would like a dog that shares this outlook. (2) Which breed is the least social? I work a lot and although I would hire a walker to hang out with the dog once or twice while I’m at work, I don’t want an excessively needy dog. There’s nothing more depressing than a depressed dog. (3) Which breed will complete my “look”? The small dogs that live in designer handbags are too prissy. Retrievers and labs are too … family. Boxers are too sporty. You get the idea.

Of course, I say all of this partly in jest, but I’d be lieing if I said that the thoughts didn’t cross my mind. Anyway, back in February, “I Love NYC Pets” month made me think, “Would I really opt for a purebred dog when there are so many homeless, unloved dogs right here in Manhattan?” In that moment I decided that a mutt would be the Right choice, despite the fact that the specific behavioral traits of these dogs may be harder to predict. I just can’t justify risking the life of a perfectly worthy, homeless dog just because everyone around me has carefully selected the perfect accessory canine. Or maybe a mutt is my perfect accessory canine, as I consider myself a non-conforming conformist. Regardless, I’ve decided that mutts are great and if I get a dog, a mutt it will be. Maybe even a large, black mutt, if I’m feeling particularly anti-establishment.

This past week, however, I’ve found myself shacking up in Hoboken with Mr. Zegna, who has had his heart set on an English bulldog since … ever. What is a mutt-lover to do? Not that we plan on getting a dog anytime so soon, but if things progress in the next year, how will I negotiate this impasse? Not to mention, does such a drastic difference in choice of dogs represent deeper, irreconcilable personality traits?

I guess I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. Before Mr. Zenga, I couldn’t see beyond planting tomatoes with someone. Now dogs? That’s a big step … perhaps I should just focus on convincing Mr. Zegna that planting big boy tomatoes would be a better idea than planting a strain of the lower-yeilding, yet trendier, heirloom tomatoes. Baby steps …


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