Dogs, Beaus, and Deal Breakers
You see them all over the city–or maybe I should say you see us. Full disclosure, I have to admit that I am one of those “women of a certain age” pushing a carriage on the Upper West Side, should you glance over, expecting to see a tiny grandchild, you would find instead two tiny dogs staring back at you. In winter, they would most likely be in their warm winter coats and hoods; in warmer weather, they might be wearing their shiny raincoats.
Yes, my spoiled darlings are ferried around in inclement weather, by me and sometimes my personal assistant Layla, in a tricked-out dog carriage, complete with blankets, pillows and treats. Sometimes I think I ‘d like to come back as my own Chihuahua. They get people food, they climb up a set of padded stairs to sleep at the foot of my bed, and I try to never leave them alone for more than two or three hours. Sophie and Gretchen are, after all, my dog-ters.
Where does that leave John, my new boyfriend, who likes them well enough, but in some ways not nearly enough. He has never had a dog, and while he tolerates them trying to curl up beside him on the couch, I know he prefers cats. Just recently he asked me what the life span was for that breed. One of my dogs (Sophie, the whippet/chi) is five and the other (Gretchen 5 lbs. of pure attitude) is nine: Healthy adult Chihuahuas live an average of 15 to 20 years. My little ones are well cared for, have regular vet visits and checkups, and well may outlive both of us.
My sweetie, who had an illustrious career that saw him go from prosecution to his own criminal defense firm to several years as supervising Judge of the Nassau County Criminal Courts, now wants to travel the world–with me. Given that I am still actively ghostwriting books, the level of travel he prefers won’t work–even if I didn’t have Sophie and Gretchen in my life. At the same time, I do like to take an occasional trip, and we’ve gotten back from a river cruise to Eastern Europe (I do not recommend river cruises, just fyi) and are scheduled to go on a romantic vacation to a Sandals resort in St. Lucia in January. Needless to say, any trip I take involves elaborate and costly arrangements, and I do miss them like crazy.
John wants us to live together. When you get to our age (he is two years younger, so we are essentially the same age) you come with a LOT of baggage. Not just literal–that too of course–but here are two people who own their own apartments–his a condo in a gated community on Long Island, mine a spacious UWS co-op–where I have a staff working daily and clients coming in on a regular basis. So between my intense use of the apartment for work, the inconvenient preparations whenever I either visit John for the weekend or travel with him, and the wee-wee pads in the guest room and corner of the living room–which by the way Sophie and Gretchen are really good about using, that cause no odor and that Layla or I remove quickly–yet John finds objectionable (despite no complaints from staff or clients) what does the future hold for us? If I choose to keep the big guy will that mean I have to lose the little fur people? Since I have no plans to 1) give up my dogs or 2) give up my work, is my love for my dogs a deal-breaker? Or perhaps the fact that I am not retired is the real hurdle. Then there’s one more big difference: John loves to drive: He could drive for six hours straight into Maine to see the fall foliage. I have car phobia, and no longer drive. Also, I really don’t like to be in cars for long stretches…long story–it stems from an accident. As I said, at this age one has a lot of baggage.
But wait: there’s incredible chemistry between us–the man not the canines, though I do love them dearly. I have voiced all my concerns to John–the same ones I just shared with you – and he’s told me “It’s not a deal-breaker. You are embracing and learning to love my two daughters and three grandchildren: I will learn to love your daughter and your two dog-ters. We will find ways to make it work. I am willing to work at it if you are.”
How can you not love a man that sweet, that willing to compromise! I might just be a very lucky girl. Thank you jdate! And stay tuned Sophie and Gretchen: you may just have a new daddy!