I hinted at something a few days ago. I hinted that I was thinking of getting a pet.
And it’s true that I have been thinking. And researching. And thinking some more. And looking at pictures. And watching videos to educate myself. I’ve been thinking of logistics. And problems. And joys. And I’ve come to a decision. A firm-but-not-final decision…to get one.
If all conditions were perfect for a pet in my life, I would get a dog. Not just any dog: a caramel-colored Miniature Maltipoo. These creatures are technically dogs, but only technically; really, the Miniature Maltipoo — a mini Maltese and Poodle mix — is a teddy bear that is alive and made of Pure Good. I have a folder of pictures of these criminally perfect…objects on my computer and I look at them when I feel sad, happy, or confused about any number of things, really, because no matter what my state of mind, the Mini Maltipoo makes everything better.
But Philip Larkin (for I have picked out my puppy’s name and he shall be named after my favorite poet) is not going to happen. There are a number of reasons I can’t have a dog right now in my life. They include:
- my goofy schedule (not okay for a pup)
- dogs are not allowed in my building (bit of a deal-breaker)
- Philip Larkin would be so cute and perfect and lovable I would hug and hug and squeeze and squeeze him and love him so much I might squish him! (a legitimate concern)
My friend Sophie was over today and we had such a wonderful time. I sewed and she worked on a commissioned illustration.
“Sophie,” I said, as I sewed Dovetail blocks, “I have to tell you something.”
“You’re getting married. You’re pregnant. You’re going to Australia.”
“No, no. I have been thinking of getting a pet.”
Soph gasped, so excited by this she nearly knocked over her bottle of ink. I confessed to her my perfect pet would be Philip Larkin but that since Philip and I can’t be together right now for the reasons listed above, I have been considering getting… A kitty!
“You know, Soph, I think a kitty—”
“Don’t you think that would be sort of great? I mean —”
I’d never seen this woman so serious. “It would be good for me, honestly, to take care of a —”
“Yes. You. Mary. Cat. Yes.”
Sophie is one of the smartest people I have ever met. She loves me a lot. She has a heart as big as they come and she is also the owner of two cats that I happen to adore: Puppy and John. Sophie allayed my fears that getting a cat was some kind of a second-best option or a placeholder for Philip Larkin.
For me to have Philip Larkin, I would need to move, change careers, and/or live with another human being who could help me care for him. It seems a shame to have Philip Larkin or no pet at all, ever — or until my entire life looks different than it does today. This is not dress rehearsal! If I wait for the perfect time to go to grad school, do a 30-day yoga challenge (I’m on Day 11!), or design a line of fabric, that time may never arrive. We can all relate to this, no matter what the dream, the desire, the project, the life change. You wait and wait…for what? The perfect day may never come.
There could be a little cat in this world who needs me.
Something has been shifting in my heart over the past six months or so. I kinda want to take care of a being. A furry one, mind you; some will wonder if this is a biological clock thing and that’s fair, but I’ve searched myself and it’s really not a driving factor or a subconscious one, far as I can feel. My longing for a pet has something to do with the Literary Animal class I took this term. It has something to do with winter. It has to do with curiosity — about myself and about love. It definitely has to do with love.
I’m researching makes and models. (That’s a joke!) Some cats are better on their own than others. Some are more affectionate than others. I’m interested in shorter hair than longer hair. I’m going to go visit shelters and talk to cat owners. Sophie’s a great resource and has already agreed to come cat-sit if I’m going to be gone very long. I’m not 100% certain about this, but I am what you would call “seriously noodling.” The kitten would move in after I come back from Berlin, in mid-January.
p.s. Possible names include: Stevie Smith (other favorite poet), Pal, or…Philip Larkin.