Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Man's Best Friend

Since I'm living alone now I'm having to adjust to the quiet of my apartment. It's strange, and I don't like it much. I want my home to be full of life. I like feeling like I live in Grand Central Station rather than solitary confinement. 

Don't get me wrong; I do need a small corner of my home to contain a living space that I can go to for peace and quiet, occasionally, when I've become too excitable. Everyone needs that. But I appreciate living in a place where those I love are sprawled out all over the floor, sleeping or chattering endlessly, and people I don't know are wandering in and out.

Did I just describe a crack den? Maybe I should go live in a crack den for a while.

This is probably the part of Palauan culture I can get behind the most: Extended families live together in the same house. And if there gets to be too many under one roof, they'll spill over into the house next door. Frequently, when I've gone into the neighborhoods to visit someone, I've been directed through a string of two or three houses full of the person's family members before I find the friend I'm looking for.

Recently a bunch of the church kids were over at my place and one of them asked me,

Kid: Brother Eli, who else stays here with you?

Eli: Well Daniel does but he's about to leave so it will be just me.

Kid: Why doesn't your family stay here, too?

Eli: Well I wish they did. But my family doesn't live in Palau.

Kid: But aren't you always just really lonely?

Eli: Sometimes. 

Kid: Sometimes when you get lonely you should just go outside and have friends. And you could come to my house, too.

If only it was that simple.

Last week it suddenly occurred to me that I could inject life back into my home if I got a dog. And then I spent a good portion of that afternoon looking at pictures of dogs online.

I started to tell a friend about my plans to get a dog when he frantically cut me off and forcefully informed me that everyone goes through phases where they want to get a dog to fill their need for companionship and this is not a reason to take on that kind of responsibility. He then told me about his own experience a few years ago when he went through the same thing and then six months later he found himself relieved that he was able to pawn the animal off onto some family he knew.

But I was sure it would be different for me, so I carried on in my dog-searching. That's when I noticed that my friend Val was online.

Eli: So I'm thinking about getting a dog.

Val: No.

Eli: No what?

Val: You're not getting a dog. I speak for all of your friends when I say that we are not prepared to deal with the drama of you trying to take care of a dog. We're still preparing to work through the chaos of you moving home.

Eli: Give me a good reason I wouldn't be able to handle a dog, insomuch that it would create "drama" and "chaos."

Val: You would constantly have to make sure it was getting outside often enough.

Eli: I'm a creative planner. I could do that.

Val: No spontaneous weekend trips.

Eli: I'll just drop the dog off at Bob and Cathie's.

Val: You would have to clean up its poop.

Eli: Gross.

Val: Do you need me to keep going?

Eli: Nope! That did it!

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. I remember that phase! So my mom went on a trip and I begged to be the dog sitter because I wanted to prove how well prepared I was for dog-living. Then I realized how spontaneous my life is, how difficult it was to make sure someone was available to take her outside, how guilty when I spent my Saturday away from my apt (which is normal...)...
    I'm still in the dog phase. But at least I recognize it is a phase. Hopefully.

  2. Once you survive the poop phase (puppy), having a dog is SO totally worth it. They are there to laugh and cry with and generally seem to at least partially care about what you're experiencing. There's been research on how dogs are therapeutic, and I totally agree.

    Now I miss my dog. :(

  3. These days it's not PC to treat a dog as anything less than a human child, and having a dog is a lot like having a child...one that stays at a 2-year-old's development level for 20 years. I had a dog when I was a teenager, and I have 3 small children now. It's easily the same amount of work.

  4. As someone who thinks dogs are the best thing ever and forever, I'm with Val on this. Not because you couldn't / shouldn't get or care for a dog but because you'd likely get attached to her and then have to leave her behind in Palau and that is its own form of trauma. I adopted a dog while I lived on the island of Barbados. He was better than fantastic. Fizbin actually saved my life once, and how did I repay this? I left him behind to fend for himself in a place where no one else wanted him. You can't explain that to a dog.

  5. Dogs are fun but a LOT of work. Much like toddlers they mooch of your plate, bite when you aren't paying what they think is enough attention, and destroy toys like they're Hannibal. But then there's those good times where they swim like a dolphin at the lake (and then attack a pregnant lady with kisses obviously not realising that is how she got pregnant in the first place), wind their 90 lb bodies around your shoulders like a mink stole and lick your ear, and get into a pillow fight with you (and win).

    1. *Like* I had a Boxer, Lord Hades, (yes as in Hercules and Hades) for 10 years, we got him to help us prepare for a family. Getting up at night to let him out, playing with him, loving on him. He was our first born and the best fur-baby. After 2 years with him we started our skin-baby family. However, after Hades spine started to deteriorate last year and he couldn't walk up the stairs... we had to make the hardest choice in our ENTIRE life. We decided to put down our first born. Dogs are like family! I MISS HIM!!!

  6. In other news, kitten attacks pit bull: http://holycuteness.com/2013/08/27/kitten-attacks-pitbull/

    Man, those kittens are dangerous.

  7. I just can't conceive the fact that it even crossed your mind to get a pet. Did you really write this, Eli?

  8. Shortly after I was married, but 21 yr old self was getting baby fever, so we decided to get a dog because we knew we were no way ready for a baby. I got a small chiuwawa mix and three years later I couldn't imagine life without him. Hes a good boy, and let's me hold him like a baby so he is fulfilling my motherly instinct for the time being. They are work, but we got him when he was 9months from a shelter so he was already house trained and such. I think some people have children before they are ready because they're lonely. I give you props for starting small, and not trying to purchase babies online. Honestly I expected that before a dog. Don't you hate animals??

    1. "Trying to purchase babies online." This quote made my day.

  9. Dogs aren't worth it. Get a girlfriend.

  10. Cats are much less work, require less effort, can be potty trained to go in a toilet, and are more independent than dogs.... as long as you can deal with the constant terror that they will suck your soul out through your mouth as you sleep and the ever present hair ball filled piles of puke on the floor. Not to mention the literal 1 in thick mat of cat hair that covers EVERY surface in your home, including your clothes.

    On second thought, Eli, get a girlfriend. Just make sure she comes already potty trained... and isn't a soul sucker.

  11. I agree with Wonder Womna, they are worth it but they are a lot of work, I have two small breed dogs and I never stop. I recently just got married for the first time at age 43 and when my doctor asked me if we planned on kids at our age, I mentioned that I didn't think I could handle chasing them around and all the work involved at my age, he said statistically children are actually easier to take care of then a dog. So apparently I was already doing good enough to handle a kid or two. I still kind of find that hard to believe I did ask my friends who have kids and they agreed with the doctor. So I just treat my pups like my babies, I'm perfectly happy with that. Not sure why everyone wants so badly to see me with kids. lol

  12. I love that your friends know your return home will cause chaos and drama. It's so great when our friends get us.

  13. Are you ready for this? Get a CAT. You can leave them home for a couple days with extra food and water and they don't need to go outside.

  14. Ummm... I have a kid and a dog and the kid is a heck of a lot more work! The dog gets fed twice a day, eats the same dry food every day, uses the bathroom a few times a day (outside, and I just scoop it once a week or so), is happy all the time, just sleeps when I leave her alone to go to work, and thinks I am the best thing ever. And I can train her! The kid screams randomly, wakes up in the middle of the night to scream, throws a fit when she doesn't want the food she loved yesterday, has yet to get the hang of using a potty, and requires expensive daycare when we go to work. I love my daughter, and she's worth it all, but sometimes I miss the days of just napping on the couch with my dog!

    In any case, if you don't like animals you might not want a dog. But I just can't agree with anyone who says a dog is as hard as a kid! Either you have a monster dog, or I have a monster kid....

    1. I was just about to post a very similar comment. No WAY are kids easier than any pet. And you can't put them in a crate when you go out

  15. Ya know, if you got a cat, at least there would be less guilt when you neglected it! :-)