I think my resentment started 7 years ago. Don’t get me wrong; she is a gentle sole, albeit a bit dopey at times. However, she quickly became a chore to me. I thought moving into the house I lived in for 6 of those years would have fixed things, but I still had this underlying resentment. It’s because of my selfish attitude. I don’t have anyone else to blame.
Every day it was the same routine. For 20-30 minutes I braved weather of all kinds to take man’s best friend out for her daily walk. Whether hot or cold, the only warmth I felt was the hot feces through the thin green excuse for a bag. I would hold my breath during the humble task of poopsmithery, and on colder days, puff a steamy mess of barely audible cursing.
My life had brought me to this point. Dopey looked back at me with the smuggest of dog smiles. No matter how much I mumbled my discomfort, that dog loved it, and that made me hate it even more. Pick up my poo, master. Funny joke, dog.
Moving into the house unshackled me from my daily burden. I basked in my extra me-time until I noticed the yellow patches in the yard a few months in. Son. of. a. bitch.
I let it go. The yard, not my resentment. At times I detested that dog, always hanging around, demanding attention, killing my yard.
I moved into a new apartment last December. Every day leading up to the move I dreaded the return of chores past. My daily walk and waste plucking was going to start all over again. My heart grew as cold as the 15 degree heat wave we were having.
It’s been a month now.
Every day I layer up and I grab my hiking boots. As soon as the dog sees this, she goes bananas. She wags her tail so vigorously I sometimes worry she will snap herself in two. Past me would have delighted in such morbid thoughts, but something has changed.
Picking up after her is no longer an embarrassment or trouble. My walks with Sweet Pea are freedom; they are my daily adventure.
Last week I discovered a new path between streets, hidden within an unexplored cul-de-sac. Some days we walk for several miles. It’s dark out when we go. People are warm in their homes, but me and my dog explore the cold, black streets. We discover details formerly escaping by my purview. We own the night.
My resentment is gone.
I think back to all of those times I discarded her excitement when all she ever wanted was my companionship. I wasn’t a horrible master, but I was often detached. She was patient with me all of these years.
I see her running laps in the living room with anticipation for our next adventure; it’s the best part of her day. Looking at those floppy ears and that dopey smile I realize that sometimes, it’s the best part of mine too.