Some people test drive cars. This weekend, we test drove having a dog.
But we have this problem. Well, ten problems to be exact.
Don’t get me wrong. I love our chickens. I love fresh eggs and bright yellow yolks. But apparently dogs and chickens tend to be incompatible unless there’s some significant training going on.
A normal person would get a puppy. But I have to admit that A. I don’t know anything about puppy training, B. I’m not particularly patient enough for puppy training, and C. I don’t have consistent time to commit to puppy training.
I thought the answer was getting a dog in the middle of his puppyhood– one that had been given a head start so that we could just come in, finish the job. Enter, Snoopie.
Snoopie was a beautiful guy – a seven month old goldendoodle newfoundland (breeder’s oops, I’m assuming) with long lines and an easygoing disposition. He was medium-sized, black and white, and loved people.
Sigh. Turns out, he also loved chasing our chickens. And barking. There were also the mammoth-sized piles of waste, and the constant attempts to get in the house. And then this: the realization that I’m more in love with the idea of having a dog than I am with the actual logistics of keeping one.
You know. The romance of an idea vs. the actuality of it.
Because it seems so easy. The beautiful, well-behaved dog. The woman in high-heeled shoes. The basketball player’s arching jump shot. Never mind the hours of training. The years of callouses. The thousands of shots that bounced off the rim.
Romance is not reality. Reality is hard work. Reality is hard-won. And gracefulness is realizing you’re not in a place to put in the time.
No anger. No bitterness. No need to keep wanting something that’s not possible right now.
I know it’s much more trendy to tell people to chase their dreams, reach for the stars, all that business. But what about the times when that’s just not possible? What about the days, months, years when we have to wait?
What about the desires that have to be patiently brought back to bed, time after time, until they finally fall asleep?
What can we learn from knowing our limitations, instead of cursing them?
Snoopie went back home to his family last night. It was a quiet ride, me second-guessing myself, my ability to commit to things. Afterwards, I stopped on the way home for Chinese food. I listened to someone else bang pots around in the kitchen. I let someone else take my plate.
The night air was full of haze and dew when I left. I was tired, but content. The decision to return the dog was the right one. The reality of my life doesn’t leave me with time for extra right now.
To everything a season.