Christmas, 2010

I was 19 when we got our first dog, Mylo. Never one to go out to bars, or shake my “money-maker” at clubs, it didn’t really change much that went on in my life. Aside from my usual activities of work, reading, and limited social interaction, all I had to do to incorporate Mylo was to alter some of these things. I always had a soft spot for dogs, and though my family owned a dog kennel for a time, we never really got to have our own dog. So, once I found myself in a situation where I was able to afford and care for one, I went for it. I should say, we went for it.

But, as I learned and our family of animals grew, I started to realize just how dependent I had become on my dogs. After a bad day at work, I would inevitably let my mind wander to the impending arrival at home, where my dogs would be so excited to see me that they would cry as I unlocked the door. When reading a book, I learned to stroke whichever animal was beside me as second nature. When, on a rare occasion, I would allow something to upset me enough to the point of tears, I would stuff myself into a ball surrounded by fur and tell them all about my problems. On vacations, I call the kennel every day or so to check up on them because I feel as though a piece of my soul is missing and just hearing that they are doing alright makes me able to last another day away with some enjoyment.

I am emotionally addicted to my dogs. When sadness finds its way into the recesses of my heart, I look to them for comfort. I crawl onto the couch, feeling sorry for myself and call my boys. They run over, leap onto the couch and plop down on me. I bury my face into their fur and let my fingers get lost in their coats and I can actually physically feel the stress and tension leaking out of my bones. I feel my head clear, tears dry, and my muscles return to their normal state. I feel the nastiness of the day leaving me as if picked up and blown away by a warm breeze.

It’s this, among other things, that shows me that I am nothing without my dogs. I am hopeless without them. I am nothing but a husk without their comfort, and devotion, and need. They are what makes my soul swell into something that completes my identity and self. Because we have built our lives together, we are part of each other. Just as it is with my husband. Without these relationships, and these particular dogs (and cat and husband), I wouldn’t know myself half as well as I do now. It’s just another thing to add to the list of what I owe my boys.

My name is Brittany, and I am a dogoholic.


44 thoughts on “Dogoholic

  1. I feel exactly like that about cats (although I was raised with dogs and adore them as well)…..nobody “gets” me quite like Sammy (including my husband of 20+ years!). Pets are balm for the frazzled soul and ever so much more.

    Pam (confessed cataholic and mother of Sam)

  2. We’re dogaholics too – and cataholics – more people should shout this from the rooftops! So good to come home to them and have to listen to their stories of woe instead (starved and beaten, natch)

  3. I know exactly how you feel. After my Dalmation died, the pain was so great that I decided not to get another dog for a while. It ended up being a year and I found myself in a severe state of depression. As soon as I had a dog back in my life, I became the person I know. The happy person.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Herriot’s belief was that when you lose a pet, you should get a new one as soon as you are able. I’m not sure if that is something that I could do or not, but it makes sense in a way. Sometimes we need help to heal. I am glad that you are back to your happy self.

      • Thank you. It was quite a few years ago but I still miss her. Some animals just seem like soul mates. I’ll tell you though, I’d never go that long again before getting another animal!

  4. Are you my mother? Because you sound just like her. And between you and me, I love it that there area people out there like this. It gives the phrase “a dog’s life” a different meaning- a really good meaning!

  5. Brittany, what an amazing piece of writing! Not only are you a dog lover after my own heart, I need to tell you what a wonderful writer you are! Eloquent, expressive, you wrote with beautiful metaphors and syntax. Wonderful! Auntie Lise 🙂

  6. I need a big fluffy dog that gives me loves! My one year old is…well, still in the puppy faze. He has love bursts every now and again. Then its back to “ball, ball, ball, ball, ball?”.

  7. If there was such a thing as a “Dogaholic” support group, I would join in a second! I, myself, did not become a dogaholic until after I turned 30! They steal the hearts of ALL age groups! 🙂

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