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Friday, July 10, 2009

Horror stories

What's a surefire way to make me nervous about doing something I haven't had much experience (or no experience) in before? Tell me horror stories. As in, you moved into this neighborhood and your house was burglarized three times in one year. Hearing that makes me think I should never consider moving to that neighborhood. Effective, yes, but I'm at a point in my life where I'd like to hear more stories, and preferably not just the horror stories.

Something that was eating away at me for the past month was whether or not I wanted to get another dog now that Juliet has moved away with Jason. Hearing all sorts of stories about people bringing a new dog home and the dog crapped everywhere, chewed up books and CDs, and made a total mess definitely made me cautious. Moreover, downright fearful because I tend to interpret people's words of caution to really mean something along the lines of, "only do this if you really want to" or "don't do this at all."

Since I've been very close to a dog for the past five years, I'm at a point where I find daily life hard without one. I know what I want and what I don't want, but especially what I don't want. I'd prefer to not have horror stories to tell after having a dog for a while. Well, today was a big test.

Yesterday, I decided to visit a shelter in Fort Worth looking for a certain terrier mix I saw advertised online. Turns out, the dog wasn't there, but there was another one, a beagle mix named Victory, that caught my eye. Her specs sounded promising (house-trained, heartworm negative, and a very friendly dog). So I decided to give her a walk around the kennel. When her collar came loose and she ran a few feet away from me, she was stopped by a large black dog that another prospective adopter had out. This behemoth of a dog started smothering her, but wasn't attacking her per se. Seeing the kind of response she had (stood ground, but did not retaliate viciously) totally sold me on her.

I adopted her and took her home, and everything worked just fine. But the big test was seeing how well she could do when nobody was home. After trying to put her in the Pet Taxi (and hearing her scream bloody murder), I decided to let her roam around the rooms except for the bedrooms and bathrooms. Since I usually side with a terrible possible outcome, I was nervous that she would chew on books and DVDs, pee everywhere, and mess up all this new furniture.

So what did I see this afternoon when I got home? Zero damage and a bouncy dog who was happy to see me and wanted to go outside for a pit stop. Disaster was averted for today, but who knows what tomorrow could bring. But I hope that doesn't come. If it comes, then it comes.

Tying this all together, horror stories are compelling because there's so much drama involved. People are less inclined to tell a non-compelling story when there's little or no drama. I think I should remind myself more that such a large percentage of life involves non-horror stories.

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