I’ve been told that I’m obsessed with my little red dog, Skarlette. While that may have some kernel of truth, I think “obsessed” is too strong of an adjective to describe the relationship I have with my dog. Still, look at her face – how could I not have some level of obsession with her? The Urban Dictionary defines the word obsession as:
“An almost insane desire, longing, or burning lust for someone or something. You feel like without that thing or person, you are not complete and can’t cope, or- in extreme circumstances- live, unless you have the object you desire.”
However you define it, my devotion and dedication to Skarlette is nothing close to the definition of the word ‘obsession’. Besides, I think obsession can be good or bad, depending on the level of intensity. It’s not like I’ve lost all sense of balance in my life. I don’t neglect my husband or my children or my grandchildren. Thoughts of my dog don’t dominate my life every minute of every single day.
Sure, I talk to her like a person, keep her on a grain-free diet, feed her fresh vegetables and fruit on a regular basis, and I’m always covered in her hair, but it’s not an unhealthy obsession by any means. In fact, an article on Psychology Today states that “pets are natural objects of human attachment” so that makes my fixation on her perfectly normal. Still, there is a reason I have a soft spot for Skarlette, and once you hear me out, I think you’ll understand the basis for my attachment to her.
Four years ago, this little dog broke both front legs, just above the ankle. I’ll be honest with you, I felt like a terrible pet parent, and I blamed myself for her injuries. Not that I was present when it occurred or that anything that I did contributed to, but nonetheless, I placed sole responsibility for her pain on myself. What’s worse is this event occurred the day before me and my husband moved to Houston and, by sheer coincidence, it was a holiday that following Monday. The movers had already come and gone, packing our household onto a moving van and disappearing on the horizon.
The next day, Todd and I drove our respective vehicles to our new place so that we would arrive before the moving van. Skarlette being the trooper that she is, curled up in the dog bed I’d placed in the front seat, and never complained. After finding a veterinarian that was open on a holiday, I learned that she had broken her legs. Long story short, it was months before her legs were fixed. During those months I literally carried her everywhere: to go outside, up the stairs, into the car, and into the vet’s office for weekly visits.
As a result, an intense bond formed between me and Skarlette that is unbreakable. So, if paying nearly $5,000 to fix my little darling’s legs is “obsessive,” then so be it. If feeding her cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, blueberries, or even pumpkin is obsessive, so be it. I wouldn’t trade a penny of the money spent for a single second of the time I’ve had with her or will have in the future.