I didnt want a dog. My ex-boyfriend and I did occasionally dog-sit for Chloe, a cuddly, chubby, and apneic pug who belonged to our friend e.b., and for Max, a rickety Brussels Griffon, mean and delightful, who belonged to our friend Steve. Id always liked animals, but I preferred them, like children, to belong to someone else. It was nice to hang out with a cute pet, but it was also nice to return to my own ordered, adult, and entirely human home. My family had only ever had cats when I was growing upa successive pair of self-sufficient and barely domesticated creatures that spent the better part of their waking lives stalking birds and chipmunks in our big backyard and the woods behind our house. They felt less like companions than like friendly neighbors who occasionally popped in for a meal. Dogs were more effortful; they required care; they imposed.