K-9.

Recently, I’ve been finding myself longing for a dog.

Perhaps it was just a very trying week I went through, but there’s no denying the fact that I’ve been quite touched by the two pets that have comforted me when I was feeling my most down.

For a very long time, most of my friends have mentioned that I would be best suited handling a dog for a pet. With my active lifestyle, military obsession and fondness for all things expressing disciplined aggression, I suppose it is only natural that a dog, preferably one suitable for K-9 application would be my pet of choice.

There is something remarkably sweet about how perceptive dogs are too, the way how they look at your with their eyes, sympathy pouring out from their pupils and the manner in which they keep you company when you are down.

It is the perfect, quiet companionship that everyone needs once in a while.

Nowadays with where I am at mentally, I’ve never really given as much serious thought into owning a pet, as I do now.

I am all too aware of the cons.

The mess pets leave behind, the cost of owning one, the daily exercise, the fact that I might one day grow to resent the poor animal, due to some of the inconveniences that might arise, fur in general …

But there is just something undeniably sweet about having one nearby to stroke, feel comforted by and sense the unconditional love. It is such a pure feeling, something that I’ve noticed is in short supply nowadays.

I can already picture myself running alongside with my dog, raising it up from a young pup to a grown adult and overall just enjoying my time with a pet in my life.

So what is holding me back?

I suppose it’s the demands of the pet. Working in the events field, I know that I have a lot of long, irregular hours, with some of them stretching multiple days in a row. I can’t bring my dog to every event, in the hopes of exercising it during my break. I also suspect travelling all around Melbourne will keep me away from my pet frequently, which is equally neglectful.

Nor could I see myself feeling comfortable knowing that the poor creature is stuck in a tiny apartment with me, with barely any room to run around, as that is a serious consideration for the health of the pet.

I also fear the emotional attachment, as strange as that sounds. Having a pet pass away is a highly tragic moment in any pet owner’s life and that is a piece of emotional baggage that I could do without. The loss would be devastating to me and whilst I will doubtless recover, knowing myself as well as I do, the world wouldn’t be quite the same without the dog in it.

In a lot of ways, this reflective piece about dogs and the benefits they would bring me, versus the negative effects is emblematic of how I view the world.

I’m afraid of the emotional investment in a lot of things. I struggle with the leap of faith that is needed to dismiss the cons of a beneficial relationship and just appreciate good times for what they are.

Instead I over-rationalise, drive logic in where emotions rules and try to stop things before they have even started.

I mean this is the perfect case in point, all the benefits of owning a dog is clear.

Having a dog would enrich my life, teach me to be more responsible, get me active and provide comfort when none is forthcoming. I would come home to a much friendlier and warmer atmosphere, and enjoy some quiet companionship when I need it.

In a lot of ways, having a dog would do a lot to remove some of the recurring existentialist issues that I seem to have a habit of repeating. A dog would keep me busy after work, forcing me to exercise when I don’t want to, and be my friend when I don’t really have any to call upon.

It would be a wonderful reminder that in spite of all my flaws, problems and issues, I am still loved in some shape or form.

All the benefits of having a pet are there, staring at me in the face.

But I can’t quite accept it.

Perhaps that is the biggest running joke about my life. That I am so used to caring for others, that the moment something can care for me, I shy away from it.

It is almost like I am incapable of accepting help, only offering it.

I pre-emptively dismiss any help thrown my way, being a stubborn jerk about it, refusing to admit to an extent, how much I actually need help, before turning around and complaining about no-one doing anything to assist me.

How ironic.

I suppose that is all the more reason to invest in a dog. At least their feelings aren’t hurt as badly by my actions, like some of my friends. I can’t resist the sad look in a dog’s eyes, any more I would push away a sultry woman pouting prettily at me.

If that is the case, then I might as well indulge as much as I can into this fantasy.

What breed would I pick for my first dog?

Ideally a good medium sized dog. People have often associated me with the most iconic K9 breed, the German Shepherd, but ever since I watched John Wick 3: Parabellum, I love the size, look and intelligence of a Belgian Malinois.

I wouldn’t be above a classic Labrador Retriever or a Beagle either. In short, my choice of dogs are your classic shepherd breeds, big enough to be fast and strong, smart enough to save you and aggressive enough to take down threats.

What would name your dog?

Ideally my pet would be male but I’m not opposed to a female dog either. If it was male, I would name him Sabre, a call back to my fencing days in uni as well as a small reference to the British military vernacular.

If I had a female dog, her name would be Halle, an obvious nod to the actress Halle Berry and her kickass role in the third John Wick movie.

What would your daily routine be with your dog?

Ideally I would do exercise twice a day. Once in the morning, a brisk, short run and then a longer walk/run in the evening. If I lived near a beach, it would be nice to do laps along the sand with the dog in tow, and using the exercise equipment along the coast. I would naturally feed it around the same time as my dinner and lunch and ensure that it is cleaned weekly.

I think I would also enjoy playing fetch with it too, with a frisbee or a chewed up tennis ball.

How would you treat your dog?

Like a dog. They’re a pet after all and at the end of the day, they’re not going to solve all my problems and be some miracle cure. Owning a dog means that I still have to look after it, and take care of it. There is a duty of care to the animal and I have to take that responsibility seriously.

It’s not a child, nor is it my best friend. At the end of the day, it is an animal, albeit incredibly loyal and loveable.

It will be one of my best companions and I’ll do everything in my power to ensure it enjoys all the benefits of being my friend, but I’m not going to kid myself into anthropomorphizing it further than its name.

What training would you give your dog?

Obviously I want to ensure that my pet is incredibly intelligent and obedient. If I can’t stand stupid people around me, I don’t think I would want a stupid pet either.

To have it do all the classic “sit, stay, play dead” would be ideal, but obviously with my military obsession, I would love to have my dog be trained to the same level as a police/military K-9 unit. To have a dog that can be fun, lovable and cute, and then at the click of a fingers, turn into a fur missile would be incredibly empowering.

It would also just be awesome to see my dog take down a human being.

Would I get another dog or stick to one?

Just one. One pet is more than enough.

When would you seriously consider getting one?

Not until I’ve fully settled down into my new job and moved out properly. There is so much change happening this year, I am not ready to bring in a pet. Even then, I have to settle my misgivings about pets and the emotional investment they require.

At the end of the day, as much as I am suited for a pet and a whole lot of other desirable elements, at this point of my life, there is so much uncertainty that I can’t commit to the idea.

I like doing things right. If I can’t settle other parts of my life, then I should not be anywhere near taking care of another sentient creature.

Still, one can dream I suppose. No harm in that.

~ Damocles.

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