I got my first dog, Lena, after I moved in with my girlfriend. Getting a dog was a condition of our moving in together. I really wanted a dog. I’d never had a dog, but I knew I couldn’t commit to having a dog if we were living separately. What I didn’t know, was that when I am with a dog, I become a boy. It works like magic. The dysphoria disappears. I am temporarily transformed.
Lena was a great dog. She was a shepherd mix (a hiker upstate told me that she thought Lena was a Malinois Shepherd). Her original owner died of AIDS, and his brother had promised to find Lena a good home. I saw a flyer about her on a table at an ACT-UP meeting. When I brought her home, Donna said it was as if I had brought my new mistress home to live with us. I was hooked. I was finally a boy with a dog. Every morning we went out and played ball. We came home and hung out on the couch and read. I stayed a boy and Lena grew old. She was sixteen when I put her to sleep.
I needed another dog, but Donna was not ready. I was miserable. I missed Lena. I missed being a boy. I felt disconnected from everything. I snuck onto the Internet to look at rescue dogs. Finally Donna said “I can’t stand it anymore, get a dog”. She said she’d like a black dog with ears that hung down and that was smaller than Lena and had a white spot on her chest. I wanted a dog that I could take to the dog run and was good with kids. I wanted a rescue. I wanted another Lena. But instead I got Gracie.
I adopted her “sight unseen” from All About Labs via Petfinders. She was supposed to be a ten month old Flat Coat Retriever mix, but when she popped out of the rescue truck she looked like a Border Collie that fell into the inkwell. I call her my Borderline Collie. I call her the Black Enigma. She loves a belly rub. She won’t play fetch, catch, or Frisbee. I love Gracie. I’m her boy.
The first time I brought her into my apartment she ran figure 8’s in the living room, jumping up on all the furniture. Then she threw herself at my feet, rolled over, and wanted me to rub her belly. She wriggled on the floor and grunted like a wild little pig. Then she barked at me until I rubbed her belly. You can guess who was trained first. I should have called this blog A Dog and Her Boy. It might be more accurate.