During the holidays we are inclined to think about those people we appreciate in our lives. For me, “people” connotes both humans and non-humans. This holiday, like every holiday since the summer of 2009, I am most grateful for my sweet little dog, Deleuze. (Does her name surprise you?) As Facebook suggests, many of my lesbifriends at AfterEllen also have been struck by the dog-love bug. (Pugs seem to be the choice breed.) The Religious Right be damned; if I could, I would actually seriously contemplate marrying my dog, if only to ensure her healthcare (granted, I don’t have a job or healthcare...so let’s all play along with this fantasy, ok?).
My Super Ex-Girlfriend once said to me that she could live alone forever, without human companionship, if she lived amongst the company of her dogs. I, who always identified as more of a cat person, couldn’t quite comprehend what she meant until I myself lived through a series of trials and tribulations (of the lesbian kind, of course), in which my dog became my savior. The care she required, in the mode of multiple walks-per-day, gave my days structure and filled them with love. When human love faltered, she became my “sweetness and light.” Another way to look at this qualitative difference, as Jon Katz puts it in an article at Slate, between loving humans versus loving dogs:
For everyone—dog owners and non-dog owners alike—loving human beings is difficult, unpredictable, and often disappointing. Dog love is safer, perhaps more satisfying: Dogs can't betray us, undermine us, tell us they're angry or bored. Dogs can't leave.
And I noticed during my Suicidal Summer of ‘10—on my many dog walks and long afternoons at the dog run—that I wasn't only one queer in my neighborhood in "upstate Manhattan" who utilized leisure time with her dog as a form of therapy. A group of us, who congregated at the run on Sundays, quickly realized that not only did our dogs demand (through their necessity to go to the bathroom and for exercise) that we venture out into the world (when we'd prefer to be depressed souls hiding in bed), they also functioned as the "talking point" with which we shy and