Used to be I missed Sophie, my family's yellow lab from 1990 to 2004, but I got by. But now, it's more general: I miss dogs.
Mind you, I'm not yet ready for the responsibility of owning a dog, and living in a studio apartment is a bad arrangement for most dogs. Though this building has housed a dog, before. A former tenant, Rebecca, was rehabbing a mixed-breed dog with some dalmatian in him who had, I'm truly sorry to say, been abused. He was skittish around most everyone; a few of us in the building did our best to be near him and give off "we're decent people" vibes, and hope he'd pick up on them and act on them. He let me pet him a couple of times. That was it. Nothing like the bounding and bright-eyed and often surprised-seeming Sophie, who never quite got stately in her old age though of course she calmed down. (And who also, for most of her life, was "a 75-pound lap dog.")
I hope Rebecca's doing well and that the dog is doing well. Was she going to keep him? Was she preparing him for, eventually, another family? Many people, many dogs; I'm not going to know all of their stories. But can he have gotten back to the bounding stage, too? Because it's important that dogs bound.
You can tell I've often known bounding dogs.
The other dog I tend to remember is Norm. Norm was a true mutt my Aunt Pat and Uncle Bill had from 1991 to a few years ago. They named him Norm after H. Norman Schwarzkopf. I still have in an album my first photo of Norm, taken when he was yawning and he looked like a jackal about to snap someone's face off. Nothing like one, though, in temperament, at all. He was a good dog. Generic thing to say, but still true. I dog-sat him and his dog-sister (obviously from different dog-misters; she was a miniature poodle) Tess a couple of times. His fur was near-orange, shaggy and often in need of trimming. Good for ticks to hide in; I once very gently removed one quite full one from Norm's back. His tail naturally hooked over his back; it'd still wag, as dogs' tails should, but reset to that almost stowed position.
In my idealized mind, I'd get a dog like Norm. Not as big as Sophie, not so small I'd fear stepping on him or her, and a mutt -- which of course come in all shapes an sizes, so I'd better not insist on getting one exactly like him. Fool's errand, anyway. Mutts have many and varied charms and a ridiculously huge number of styles. Dogs: they mix well.
I've referred to myself as a dog person who gets along decently with cats, and that's very true and it makes me glad (and also glad that cats tend to like me, too), but I don't see me getting a cat. Just enjoying other peoples' cats, especially if they also enjoy me. Having my own dog, though: I can see that.
But, for now, if I visit the Humane Society, it should be to help dogs, not to get dogs.