Since I was thirteen years old, I have spent all but 4 years without a furry companion. Those four years, serving in the military as a young Navy man, neither a dog nor a family was issued in my seabag, so the Navy made no accommodation for having a pet in the barracks nor aboard ship. However, the nearly twenty-two years of married life, and in fact, the last twenty-five years in San Diego, I made certain adjustments to have a canine companion (and as it turned out, two) while I completed my Active Duty contract, got married and after another ten years, retired from Navy Reserve military service. Happy, a male Newfoundland-Black Labrador Retrieve mix I rescued from the Virginia Beach pound in 1997, was joined by Sydney, a female Australian Shepherd, an animal shelter foster in San Diego. Both were part of our family till 2011. We had taken in my late mother’s Madagascar-born aged mutt and her cat that year.
Sons graduated high school, and looked to start their “independence”. we fondly, if unrealistically, called ourselves Empty Nesters. But almost every parent I know in California, has unmarried – and in some cases, married, Twenty-somethings, still living under their “empty” roof. It was during these years that we added Dexter (2011) and then Comet (end of 2016) to our fold. Then I turned Sixty. That was 3 1/2 years ago. And bringing a new dog into our midst for the next ten to fifteen years is something harder for me to justify . Even now, we have two Thirty-something living temporarily at home while they get re-established locally. Bringing a new dog into a home with a lot of coming and goings, young children and others is not prudent unless a dog-person has worked through all the challenges. I think the worst situation, that a lot of people have found, after adopting an animal, they have to rehome it. That scenario has only been once – forty-something years ago, and I don’t have many friends possessing acres for a dog to call home.