Less than 7 full days after I returned home from 4 months in Italy and 3 days of traveling through 5 airports and 4 cities, I broke my self-imposed 14-day quarantine. I left my house and entered two businesses. With a mask, of course, and trying to keep a 6-foot distance from others. I took a risk. A risk to myself and to others. And I didn’t do this lightly. To some, who don’t know me, my actions may appear impulsive. To others, it was a long-time coming.
I broke quarantine for Mazie. Or Carlee, as she was known at the time. But if I’m honest, I broke quarantine for me. For my emotional well-being. I wanted a companion. Could I live without one? Sure. I have. And could I again? Of course. Only, now, back in a country experiencing so much turmoil, I know my emotional health requires something more than sleep. More than prayer. More than solidarity and friends. It was time for a dog.
Pets are a relationship. Not possessions. They have personalities and needs. They require trust and bonding. They complicate our lives. And make them better. So much better.
Mazie was rescued from a hoarder. Two years old and only 11 pounds, she is a red & white Terrier mix. Now truth be told, I was hoping to find a non-allergenic dog. Cuz yes, I’m allergic. Not as bad as my allergy to cats (where I struggle to breathe), but years of taking allergy meds and cleaning up furballs made me committed to a different breed – something smaller that wouldn’t make my eyes sting. But as with all relationships, we miss out if we keep our search too narrow, if we insist on “perfect.” As Katherine Hepburn famously said, “You can’t pick who you fall in love with.” I wouldn’t say it was love at first site, but look at these eyes. This was her profile photo on Petfinder.
Still, I needed to meet her. To spend time with her. To see if we were a fit. So I was surprised when ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation) called and said my application was approved. She was mine. I could adopt her that day. Like in 3 hours. Pick her up at the vet. But but but but but… I was in quarantine! And the only supplies I had were a water bowl and some dog treats. But I had beat out other applicants. I felt some pressure. Or was it destiny?
Ok, fine. I drove south to the vet and met this sweet, small, trembling, pup. And this was her response to me:
The vet convinced me to take her home. There’s a slightly longer story here, but, bottom line: I did. I carried her to my car (where I still have a dog hammock for the back seat), and took her to Petsmart, where she picked out her bed.
A cat bed that she seems pretty happy with.
She bonded to me pretty quickly.
And made herself at home on the couch and in my bed. (Which is a new thing – I’ve never let a dog sleep with me! But on the fourth night of her jumping up into the sheets, she broke me and I let her stay – lol)
Still, her imprints are deep. Being one of 100 dogs in a house (yes, seriously – just found that out today), undoubtedly caused some trauma. She wasn’t too fond of the yard at first. She needed to be carried out and carried back in. (Maybe she had never seen stairs? Now she comes more willingly, enticed by belly rubs and treats.) And she needed to be trained to “party” outside. Forget about walking – she won’t do it. (We’re working on it!)
On the fourth day, she started carrying around her toy. On the fifth day, she started tossing her squeaky in the air and playing fetch with me. Then her crate came. With a very excited introduction (from me, of course), she’s taken to it. Goes in there by herself regularly.
It’s been one week now that Mazie and I have been together. And yes, I’ve fallen in love. She’s found her forever home. And I feel pretty damn lucky.
As relationships go, I’m committed to her – however long our lives may be. Which is a good thing cuz Mazie has a big surprise coming. One that’s definitely going to require my time and her energy.
Damn good reason to break quarantine.