Four-legged Lonliness

I'm having what I imagine most women go through when their friends and family start having children - when they are either unprepared or unable to have their own. My sadness, however, isn't caused by my lack of human spawn.

It's caused by my lack of a four-legged one.

I grew up with a dog. We always had one - from my first puppy, a rambunctious beagle named Augie, to Sassy, our cocker spaniel, and then Boogie, the cocker spaniel/labrador/golden retriever mix who lived out the most important years of my life with me. (He has since passed.) Now, in between those dogs were countless fish and parakeets - our house was a house where pets were.
If you're a person who grew up with a pet; had one around most of your life, you'll understand what I'm getting at here. A dog is like a family member. He/she must be loved, paid attention to, fed, disciplined and cared for much like any human. In return, a dog provides unrelenting, non-stop unconditional love that surrounds you and hugs tight even when all the humans in your life let you down. A flapping tongue loving eyes are always there to greet you.
(I'm writing this mostly about dogs because that's what I've had most often; cats are also similar in their contribution to life. I'm slightly jaded because I had to leave my one and only cat, an orange tabby named Legolas, behind when I moved to California. He was truly one of a kind, and I miss him so very much. )
Human relationships take work. They feel stressful and while they are rewarding generally, they are painful. This is accentuated for someone like me, a sort of outcasted socially awkward girl who'd rather work on whatever project she has than spend a night out with acquaintances and people she doesn't know.

I have a less than ideal relationship with any of my family members (aside from the Drummer), and that's something that's both environmental and locale. I don't get to exercise unconditional love, and I don't get to receive it often, either.

My heart hurts for a companion who doesn't talk, change, or need me to listen to their problems. A friend who simply needs to be fed, and requires me to move my myself out of a depressed mood to walk him to the dog park. A warm body that curls up next to me and doesn't get sick of it.

Now, you may ask, what is keeping me from adding this furry family member to our current household?

Because the landlord says so.

We love our apartment. We love our landlord. And it is currently driving me insane. I get it - rental owners want to keep any pet related damage at bay - but do they realize what kind of damage a three year old can do with a sharpie and a toy truck? Kids are far more destructive than a small breed dog. It's silly.

And well, now is not the time for the Drummer and I to be looking for another apartment. I'm trying to be positive, thinking toward the not-so-distant future when we make bigger decisions about where we live. Because the next time we move? No pets is a no go.

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