“And don’t say unconditional love,” Matthew says when he asks why I think he should get a dog. Well, I wasn’t going to say that because I hadn’t thought of it but what a good reason. I was teasing, of course. We both know that Matthew is never going to get a dog. He’s not a dog person, not a pet person at all. Nor am I though I like dogs well enough, except for yappers and snarlers and the ones that can knock you over when they pirouette. And, I’m a gardener. In other cities gardeners and dogs perhaps are more compatible. It’s only Wednesday and twice this week I’ve had a sole-full encounter with dogdoo. On Monday I had a little talk with the tenant who lives in the downstairs apartment on Divisadero while his large dog barked at me. I mentioned the word respect, and asked the question (pathetic, I know) why some dog owners consider a garden a dog toilet. Ned is the young man’s name, and he said that there are times when he gets called in at 4 A.M. to his job as a medical technician and there’s no way he can walk his dog. I could have pointed out in Sherlockian mode that the deposits indicate a frequency and a span of time unaccounted for by 4 A.M. emergencies. I could also have asked, why do you have a dog if you can’t take care of it?
I knew the answer. Unconditional love.