When I adopted Rosie, I made a promise to myself that if I had anything to do with it, she wasn’t going to be one of those needy, dependent, shaky, barky, unapproachable, jealous, neurotic Chihuahuas that you see in some people’s purses. It was not too difficult a task because she has a lot of terrier in her (and also because I don’t carry a purse), but still, I was aware that even dogs that are part Chihuahua can be a jealous breed when a new love interest enters the picture. And me, not being in a committed relationship at the time, wanted to be able to date and not have Rosie bite my potential girlfriends’ hands off every time they came over for a drink.
The first woman I dated after rescuing Rosie wasn’t really an animal person and made no effort to bond with the dog. Rosie wasn’t too fond of her either (ultimately, neither was I). I take the blame for part of that. Rosie was a new addition and the relationship with this woman (we’ll call her “fucker” for anonymity’s sake) began around the same time I got Rosie. Rosie barely had time to acclimate to me or her new surroundings much less this new person.
I made an extra effort to iron out the wrinkles between fucker and Rosie (I bought a toy and had fucker give it to her; I let fucker walk her; I made fucker talk to her in the “special” voice I use with Rosie; and I made fucker pet her when we were watching TV). Nothing worked. Rosie glared, growled, nipped at fucker’s fingers, and gave her the side eye. After two months, my relationship with fucker was obviously falling apart, so I did what any sensible dog parent would do — I told her the truth: “It’s not you; it’s Rosie.”
Enter: Hazel. A beautiful, big-hearted, funny, bright, charming English woman I recently contacted on OkCupid. The
one teeny tiny catch? She lives in Australia. Halfway around the world. It would have been hard to have found someone farther away. I didn’t intentionally aim to find someone 10,617 miles across the globe; Hazel was simply too irresistible to ignore. So, we haven’t met and don’t know when we will (though we have vowed to), but we talk on the phone through the free Facebook messenger app, and we email and text all the time. It feels fantastic. I feel giddy and think of her all the time. In a word (okay, two): I’m smitten.
Rosie, however, doesn’t seem as smitten. She hasn’t said so directly, but I can tell because when Hazel and I chat on the computer, Rosie gives me the side eye and pouts. They’re the kinds of looks she doesn’t give me when I’m doing anything else on the computer (like, say, writing, or talking to a friend). Just when I’m talking to Hazel. It’s as if she knows my feelings for Hazel are overflowing and is afraid that means there will be fewer left over for her. Rosie is, quite simply, jealous of someone she can’t even see.
So, this morning, Hazel and I set up a FaceTime chat with Rosie so they could see each other and “meet” to break the ice.
“Rosie, hello. Rosie? Good morning,” Hazel said in her sweet English accent.
Rosie was curled up on the bed in a ball, next to a giant pillow, side-eyeing this complete stranger, as if to say who the fuck are you and when are you going to give me my mommy back!?
I tried to reassure the dog.
“Rosie, this is Hazel, can you say hi? Look! Look at the screen! See how nice she is? And pretty? She likes you. I bet she’ll even bring you a toy when she meets you.”
I can’t think of a better way to ease an animal into getting to know a new person in my life than by dating them long distance. I figure by the time Hazel and I meet, Rosie will know her face and her voice, at least.
Things with Hazel feel really positive, and I’m sure Rosie will come around. But I have nightmares of the movie Cujo with Hazel stuck in a car, doors locked, Rosie starring as the rabid dog on a murderous rampage, unable to control herself. (Of course, we all know this would only happen if Hazel brought Rosie a toy that she really didn’t like.)
Hazel and I talk about the future in positive but pretty loose terms at this point. We haven’t been talking to each other that long, but still, the “what-ifs” are already falling off our tongues during lazy, long morning and late-night conversations. What if our feelings grow even deeper? Who’s going to visit whom first and what happens to Rosie during our adventures? (Answer: in the event of a long visit down under, Rosie will have to be quarantined for 21 days. The thought makes me nauseous, but no point thinking about that now.) What about Hazel moving to New York City? There are complications, just as there are complications the other way around. Right now, it’s day by day and it’s lovely.
And there’s absolutely no reason to not have Rosie renew her passport … just in case.