Want to hear something weird? I’m addicted to dog magazines. It’s true. I am. Bizarre. I know. And not because of the front cover. What’s on it. No. Don’t care anything. About the cover. Seriously. Not at all. Never read the cover text. Barely notice the cover dog. Don’t care. Really. I don’t. It’s this. This. Just seeing a new issue appear in my post office box is enough for me. That’s all it takes to make me happy. So happy. Just to see it. There. In my mailbox. A new issue. To be enjoyed. Savored. Yeah. That’s enough. Nothing else matters. Why? Because I’ll love it. I will. I know this. Already. I do. Every article. Every ad. Every word. All of it. Every bit. Sight unseen. That’s a given. That’s how I roll. That’s how I am. Addicted. Totally. Completely. Want to hear something weird? I don’t even have a dog. Never owned a dog. Know nothing about dogs. And yet, and yet. This addiction. To dog magazines. Just to the magazines. Nothing else. “What is wrong with you, Darlene?” my best friend says, whenever she sees a dog magazine in my tote bag. Well, it’s not like I don’t subscribe to several. Dog magazines. I do. That way I’ll always have one with me. My fix. You see? I like to be prepared. “You’re nuts,” she says. “You know that, right?” I do. I know. All too well. And everyone else knows too. That is. Everyone who knows me. Except dog people. No. Not them. Nothing about me bothers them. In fact, they don’t care that I don’t have a dog. That I’ve never owned a dog. That I have no plans to adopt a dog. Don’t care. Really. No. Not at all. They just say, “It’s only a matter of time.” (Time? Time for what?) “This is how it begins,” they say. (What? How what begins?) But that’s all they say. Then they smile. And wink at me. Dog-lovers. They’re crazier than I am. Yeah. These are my people.
Laura Stamps is the author of several novels, short story collections, and poetry books, including IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RIDE: CAT MANIA (Alien Buddha Press), THE YEAR OF THE CAT (Artemesia Publishing), and IN THE GARDEN (The Moon). Winner of the Muses Prize. Recipient of a Pulitzer Prize nomination and 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. Mom of 5 cats.