Is it Cheating?

Let me make this clear: my dog’s name is Merlin. He is an Australian Shepherd and I love him dearly. Unreservedly.  We’ve lived together for 5 years, and we get along great.  No arguments.

He has his quirks, I must admit.  He is a fly-killer extraordinaire, with a hunting technique that would rival any tyrannosaurus. And yes, he is overly committed to sharing my milky coffee in the morning.  He also goes ape-shit crazy when he catches sight of his arch-enemy, the neighbor’s Belgian Tervuren (clearly a canine bastard), and prefers to vomit in the middle of the night right outside the bathroom door– much to my surprise and dismay.

But as with any serious relationship, you compromise.

A few months ago, a young woman moved into the neighborhood with her Border Collie.  A handsome dog, clearly adored by her significant other. Clearly well mannered and thus completely ignored by Merlin. Because Merlin has such an over-the-top negative reaction to his nemesis (the Tervuren), I rarely approach other dogs when I have Merlin with me.

One day, as I was getting out of my car (sans Merlin) they walked by, and I greeted the woman, introduced myself, and asked her for permission to say hello to her dog (as we do). She smiled and said of course.

And in that moment, the world shifted.

I don’t know what it was.  As soon as I touched her, the dog went from friendly acceptance to a reaction that could only be described as two lost lovers reunited after a long separation.  The dog moaned. She fell to the ground and pawed at me to put my hands on her.  When I knelt down, she frantically tried to crawl into my lap.  The dog’s owner and I exchanged WTF looks.  We both kind of laughed it off, but I confess I fell in love (a little bit) with that dog. I was like she knew me. Deja vu, fate, whatever you want to call it, that dog recognized me. Knew me. Loved me.

Awkward.  Her owner literally had to drag her away, and the dog cried and struggled to return to me until they were out of sight.

I have seen them again (from across the street) when I am walking Merlin, and the Border Collie does not react. Merlin pays no attention to them (and I am secretly relieved, which is weird).

But twice now, I have encountered them without Merlin in tow and this dog repeats the same behaviors to me. It’s kind of embarrassing. The woman told me she has never seen her dog behave this way before.

Yesterday, I passed them in my car while driving home. I waved and remember thinking that the woman’s dog was undoubtedly the sweetest Border Collie I have ever met. I even thought about telling the woman so.  I mean, what if she couldn’t keep the dog any more for some reason? I would take that dog in a skinny minute.  And then I thought about Merlin; I don’t think he would want to share my affections. I felt a twinge of guilt.

The two of them reached me as I was getting out of the car.  The dog again greeted me effusively, with much moaning and obvious yearning.  Absolutely irresistible. I melted. The woman said, “As soon as she saw you, she started dragging me up the hill.” She didn’t sound too pleased.

The dog knows my car.

Is it wrong if you like (well, maybe love a little) someone else’s dog?  And what if they like (or love) you back?

I keep thinking about that dog and I feel guilty.  Is it cheating?

This entry was posted in cheating, dogs, Love my dog, Sharon Joss and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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