Then something changed. It all started with my friend Emily’s dog, Hank. First of all, a dog with an old man name was pretty ok in my book. Second of all, this dog was cute as a button.
I hadn’t really grown up with a dog. When I say “really” I mean that we had a dog named Bear one summer when I was 7. He was wild and stayed in the backyard and the thing I remember most about him was that he would hop the fence and tear in to other people’s back yards in the neighborhood, returning with random personal belongings of our neighbors’. A garden shovel. A clothes line. A boot. I don’t remember why my Dad found a home for him, but one day he was gone.
In seventh grade my sister and I got the itch to have a puppy, and begged my parents to make it happen. My Mom was the most difficult to convince, saying that she would become the one responsible for taking care of it. But we turned on our childlike charms and coerced her with good behavior and then we got Chance, aptly named because we were told that he would be our last chance at having a dog. When he first came to us he was a baby, a pudgy little white and brown cocker spaniel mix. And after the initial excitement of having an adorable puppy in the house wore off, he was a PUPPY, which meant hard friggin’ work. And between my sister’s and my schooling and after school activities, my Mom was right. She ended up being the one to take care of the dog. I think we had that dog for a year and a half before she found him a new home.
So as you can see, my track record wasn’t good. I wasn’t a prime candidate for wanting the responsibility and companionship that a dog would bring. I always thought that I was pretty ok not having a dog, not having someone to have to go home and “let out”, take for a walk, find something to do with during vacation. I felt a little sorry for these friends of mine, never thinking that I would be one of them.
Back to Hank. This little bastard would put his head in my lap most times I would come over to Em’s house. He would look up at me with those big brown eyes that I was for sure were thinking, “You sure you’re not a dog person”, though he was probably thinking something more like, “Food?”. And then one day I was dropping little, “what if’s” to my boyfriend about getting a dog. And mind you, he was always the same way I was! However, some sort of planetary alignment must have been occurring, because we talked about it little by little, more and more, and then we were visiting shelters and rescues, and then we had...A PUPPY.
Gary. I told you, I’m a sucker for old man names. He’s a terrier mix (whatever that means) and he’s perfect. He’s got Scorsese eyebrows and a beard, and his coloring makes it seem as though he’s always dressed in a tux. He’s now 12-14 months old (like most rescues, they weren’t sure when he was born when we got him) and I can’t imagine life without him. I’m now one of those people that has to go home and “check on the dog”. But I actually like having an excuse to get out of some social situations! And forget easy vacations, now I have to deal with dog/house sitters and boarding, but what overrides this frustration is the frustration I feel that I can’t take my dog with me wherever I’m going.
The other day I was running around like crazy, doing the daily hustle that is required of us Angeleno’s, and I knew I had to take Gary on a walk, get him some exercise. I begrudgingly stopped what I was doing and got his collar on, tied the poop bag to the leash and got him out the door for our walk to the park down my street. While I was walking him I was thinking of all the things I had to do that day, the next day, the props I needed to get for our next LadyPantz shoot, how I wanted to squeeze in a kickboxing class before I had to scoot to work. But then something happened that I wasn’t expecting. I was watching my dog as I walked him, and he looked up at me with his tongue rolled out the side, true happiness and curiosity on his face, and all that other stuff went away. For half an hour I simply walked my dog. I didn’t think about anything else, and it was glorious.
I could go on and on about how the companionship a dog brings is truly a special thing. That having someone love you so much every time you walk in the door can do wonders for the soul. That watching him is better than t.v. But more than all that, a dog makes you realize that there is more to life than career and deadlines and goals and work. A dog helps you see that the now is just as important, that stopping thinking about life and responsibilities can do more to repair a person than a champagne cocktail and a spa package at The Standard. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes in the park. Thank you, Hank. And thank you, Gary.