The college experience evokes many a fond memory from most of us: meeting new people, cramming for tests, drinking too much, becoming a robot, and puking up power cords. Something we can all relate to, surely?
He’s a one year old Schnauzer living at the Humane Society in Westport, Connecticut and he is perfect.
I took a trip there today to look at cats (duh) because I’m moving in June and cat ownership is an imminent reality in my life, but I made the mistake of going into the dog room (always the heartwrenching, tear-your-organs-out-through-your-butthole, hope-you-planned-on-sobbing room at any shelter) and being so pleasantly surprised.
Press (great nickname potential) is the sweetest emotive gentleman and I’m dead at the fact that he is alone and without someone to love in this world. I’m dead that I don’t have a yard for him to run in. I’m dead that he goes to bed every night and feels lonely (CHRIST).
His cage is next to a five month old Pitbull who, bless her heart, is a nightmare, so Press spends a lot of his time at the back of his cage in order to create some distance between him and his tweenaged demon neighbor. The result is: a) he looks shy and, b) standing next to his crate is stressful and all your organs are telling you to hurry away from the banshee next door and move on to dogs farther down the line. I feel like Press doesn’t get fair playtime as a result.
Upon entering the room, I noticed his little ghosty silhouette though, and his one-flop, one-up ear situation and needed to investigate. All it took was my fingers through the chain-link and he came over with a ginger enthusiasm. An, “I’m curious, but I’ve been down this road before,” brand of excitement. But when he reached my hand and smelled my smell and let me pet his cheeks he gave me tiny polite kisses and I died. I actually died, because people who think there’s a cat/dog binary just don’t understand that there are dogs like this out there. He is so polite and friendly and everything a little boy in the 1950’s would want his dog to be. Like, waiting-at-the-fence-for-you-to-finish-baseball-practice-so-you-can-walk-home-together-by-golly-gee-willickers status lifetime friend and companion.
Feeling my inner tides start to roll with that deep, ass-wrenching brand of empathy I reserve for animals and never loved ones, I decided to stand up and take a lap around the room. Surely there were other dogs — other sweet, lonely pets accustomed to suburban Connecticut homes and thrust into this warehouse format of living — whose former lives I could flesh out like a masochistic Mad Lib.
No such luck. There were your typical depressing 13-year-old Shih-Tzus and too many Pitbulls and one Scottie who wanted to be near you but not touch you. I circled back to Press. I read his sheet.
He has sensitive skin, so he has to use special shampoo when he takes baths (possibly why he’s there), but that endearing (and entirely manageable! people are the worst!) ailment aside, I just didn’t get it. Who gives up a dream dog? Who in their right mind has that dog in their life and is like, “Ya know what? Thanks, but no thanks.”
My sister noticed my crisis and came over. I introduced them to each other, and she agreed. He’s perfect.
“We have to leave,” she said. “We have to get you out of this room.”
And so we went back to the cat room and looked at the cats again. Before leaving the shelter for good, I stopped in the lobby to look at him through the glass door and this was his face.
Waiting. Standing. Up front.
His little broken heart and his little wagging tail and his little mismatched ears. I have all those things. We all have all those things. We all have our special shampoos and our one-up one-downs and our optimism despite all of it, and I felt so guilty for leaving. So evil for spotting a good thing in this world, for looking at another organism and saying, “Yes, I see you. I understand,” and then betraying that trust.
And I drove around town. Ran some errands, returned a pair of shoes that I’d already worn once (my first time ever pulling that stunt — I Windexed the bottoms — being 15 is gonna be great), but every once in a while I’d inadvertently shake my head or go, “Ugh.”
And my sister would say, “What?” and I’d say, “Preston.”
And now it’s hours later and I’m back in New York and I still feel guilty. Still feel like I let my bud down.
So basically, if you’re living in the tristate and want the sweetest boy to be part of your family, I did all the legwork for you and will dogsit and oh my God if it can’t be me can someone just give him every hug he deserves (infinite) and give him a pair of feet to sleep at and a pair of eyes to look into and a chance to share his life with someone. He is other-pet AND baby AND child friendly.