Recently, a woman I knew fairly well from the comedy scene looked at her watch during an improv practice (I know, I know) and was like, “Oop! Gotta get home and walk my dogs!” Normal thing to say; but consider that I’d known this person for a couple of years, followed her on social media, and had absolutely no idea that she had a dog, let alone several. We weren’t close friends, but we performed improv comedy together! That’s generally humiliating and vulnerable—which marks at least one level of unlocked intimacy.
“A dog?” I exclaimed. “A new dog??”
“No! I’ve had them for about five or six years,” she told me, and continued to pack her bag. Them?! Five or six years? What else didn’t I know about her? Was she the dang president of France?! I made my way over to Instagram to see if I’d simply failed to register the many photos of her dogs. Nope! There were none there. Her Twitter? Not a mention! Did these dogs actually exist? What is a dog if not an excuse to post? But these alleged dogs, I later confirmed via our mutual friends, did in fact exist.
It was an absolute delightful revelation, and I am now convinced that the best dogs are secret dogs. This category of canine is rare, because dogs as a species are inherently inclined to make themselves known. Learning that a mysterious dog exists instantly piques your interest, much like a crush not paying attention to you. What’s going on in their life that’s so great that they don’t care to even be on your radar at all??
Also much like an unrequited crush, when a dog is so elusive, it naturally gives the appearance of having no flaws. It doesn’t bark or snap at people. It doesn’t pee on the rug. It doesn’t eat discarded chicken bones off the sidewalk that later splinter in its bowels and land you a $1700 hospital bill. No, I’m convinced that people with secret dogs just...have no dog problems. It is simply a secure attachment between man and his low-maintenance best friend, quite unlike my own attachment style.
It should be noted that I have similar feelings about secret husbands and secret wives, on the condition that they aren’t being kept secret out of embarrassment or lack of enthusiasm. So maybe, as the sort of person who will explain to you within a day of meeting me the intricacies of every divorce in my extended family, my real obsession is with people who have…boundaries? Huh. Good for them.