For the past three years, I have actively dreamed of owning a dog. Specifically, a teacup Maltipoo.
That’s right: A teacup Maltipoo. A boutique dog no bigger than a well-fed guinea pig. A dog with a price tag equal to a month’s rent in a one-bedroom apartment in Logan Square. A dog bred for the bougiest among us, as evidenced by Hollywood actress Blake Lively, who carries her teacup Maltipoo, Penny, around in her purse. Disgraceful.
Yeah, well, I cannot wait to put my puppy into all of my purses. I will spend hours doing this.
Before you roll your eyes so hard you sprain them (and bless your heart), you should know that I spend great quantities of time thinking about death and decay. My favorite thing to do is to walk up and down Michigan Avenue, brooding, trying very, very hard to not start smoking again. Over the past four or five years, I have developed a case of nihilism so acute, were the ghost of Albert Camus to pass me on one of my walks, I suspect he’d take me out for a sandwich and try to cheer me up.
Well, I don’t want the ghost of an Existentialist to buy me a sandwich. I want a teacup Maltipoo and I want to name him Philip Larkin.
Philip Larkin. The eminent postwar English poet, the introverted and famously cantankerous author of such masterpieces as “Aubade” and that one you’ve heard which begins with, “They fuck you up, your mum and dad —”. Yes, that Philip Larkin, my favorite poet of all time by a mile for his biting wit and the way he always seemed sort of resigned to being human, all too human.
Clearly, there can be no better name for my pup.
I fantasize about the day I bring home my bundle of joy/living kryptonite to despair. I will shut the door, set down his mini-kennel, and dump out numerous shopping bags full of the toys and treats upon which I have splurged.
I’ll drop to my knees and the wee creature will spring from my arms and bound across the carpet, zipping this way and that, yipping with happiness to be home, home, home! Oh, how Philip and I will cuddle on my couch! How soft his coat will feel against my cheek as we snorgle, how sweetly he will curl up in my lap as I read something light for once, like a Dan Brown novel or Teen Vogue. Away, long days of bewilderment! Be gone, interminable nights of staring into the abyss. With Philip Larkin by my side, I shall finally be able to beat back the darkness.
It looks as though I may be close to holding Philip in my arms. I have been making moves, contacting reputable breeders, investigating the various costs, thinking through what it would actually mean to be a good dog owner. Because I’m not going to screw this up, no way. I have an ethical responsibility to be reliable, loving caretaker to an animal in my home, even if — especially if — he’s small enough to fit in a purse.
I need Philip too much to do any less.