Screaming On the Inside

Someone stop me from getting a dog

Madeline Fuerstenberg

More stories from Madeline Fuerstenberg

November 2, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to dominate the headlines and ruin everything, I have noticed a rather uplifting trend. Animal shelters across the country are emptying.

That’s right — people everywhere are using this time of forced isolation to adopt or foster animals and I think that’s beautiful.

Just the other day I watched a video where the videographer walked up and down the rows of an empty shelter as volunteers clapped and celebrated. We may not be able to uncage ourselves for a little while, but at least we are freeing some good boys and girls. Poetic, isn’t it?

Here is the problem: I want a dog very badly. I have been looking at adoption sites obsessively. I send an endless stream of screenshots to my boyfriend, insisting that he adopt all of them for me. 

Unfortunately, neither he nor I have the money for that. I can barely afford my rent. How can I expect to pay for a dog, food, medical bills and other supplies, too? Pets aren’t even allowed in my apartment, anyway.

But, you see, none of that stops me from looking. Every time I look at a picture of a dog up for adoption I just get sad. That poor little guy or girl just wants to be loved. I’m a huge dog person and I’m pretty sure I have enough love for every single one of them. 

I have to keep reminding myself that getting a pet right now would be an irresponsible choice for me. I need more money and an apartment that allows pets. I need to be able to take good care of myself. How can I be expected to care for a pet when I can’t even take myself for walks? 

The only pet I have ever had on my own is a betta fish. Actually, I have had three: Bill, Chad and now I have Squid. I’m fairly certain my old roommate murdered Bill. She was untrustworthy and I wholeheartedly believe that she poured vodka in his bowl.

Chad died of natural causes, but I can’t help feeling like it was partially my fault. Whenever he got overfed he would bloat up and become unnaturally buoyant. He would just float up top because he was too fat to gain any depth.  

Squid seems to be doing well. I bought a little water heater for this one, so hopefully that’ll help.

Of course, owning fish and dogs are two different things entirely. I just want something I can pet and, unfortunately, I’m pretty sure Squid would try to eat my finger if I attempted to pet him. He is a very hungry boy.

I think a part of my issue is the boredom paired with anxiety. A dog would just make me feel better. I’m sick of being alone in my apartment and I feel like I could really benefit from a distraction.

However, I am writing this right now as a reminder to myself. Getting a dog right now would be irresponsible, Maddie. You can’t afford one. No matter how much your heart is screaming at you to do it, listen to your brain. It knows better.

Fuerstenberg can be reached at [email protected]