I hadn’t planned on falling in love again. I was already in love. My heart didn’t have room for anyone else is what I firmly believed. So when I met him, I subconsciously kept my distance. He was not going to be my friend, let alone one of my best friends! But, as it inevitably happens with love, something magical occurred.
It was a stormy evening. He was not comfortable on the couch where I was working on my laptop. Out of courtesy, I slipped onto the carpet, still pretending to concentrate on my work. He came closer. Stretched out next to me. His warm body curling up against me. He looked at me with trusting, loving, dark eyes which drooped as he quickly fell asleep.
It was love. There is no other word for it. And nothing has ever been the same again. I have a dog and since that evening he has become one of my best friends.
Let’s rewind a bit. I was never scared of dogs. Growing up, I just didn’t give them much thought. Except for the few years when I would sneak outside my house to feed a stray some bread. My grandfather had forbid it, but this was one of those rules that I continued to break. That ephemeral peace in life that I seek, used to be within reach sitting on the road feeding that dog.
That never made me wish for a dog of my own. Fast forward 20 years, we heard dogs are stress relievers. That is why we got one. But, my stress levels had shot up high. All that extra work added to my day. Walk them. Play with them. Feed them. All of it was daunting.
Nothing went as planned. You already know by now how within a few hours this furry best friend of mine won me over with just a pair of smouldering eyes.. nah.. not smouldering.. adorable and loving puppy eyes.
I was a first-time dog owner so I had a lot to learn about dogs. And I made all the rookie mistakes. I was told to keep him in a crate at night, but I reasoned he must wish for freedom. So I kept him in an open space. Turns out, dogs feel safe in a crate. My puppy wailed all night. 2nd Mistake – I didn’t let him cry and move on. Instead, I brought him to sleep on my bed. He then got into the habit of considering my bed as his. It wasn’t until much later that I invested in outdoor dog kennels which are actually much healthier for them; they have space and security, and fresh air and warmth depending on what they fancy. Not to mention the fact it kept the mess he made confined to one area.
As I write this, my dog has torn a plastic bag into shreds and is wagging his tail happily. My carpet is a mess. I smile. It is worth it.
When dogs are young they are a lot like kids. They make you wake up in the middle of the night for a visit outside. On the plus side, they come back in and go right back to sleep. Potty training for my puppy made me cry. I had to throw away my living room carpet and accept disaster everywhere. He reached his first birthday and somehow learnt that it is more convenient for everyone involved if he goes and stands near the yard door so he can be let outside rather than get scolded by me. If only I’d known to clean carpet stains effective the way Bissell recommends on their website; maybe I wouldn’t have to have thrown it out!
Dogs have character. You can research all you like on the breed’s characteristics, but you still get a unique best friend. The breed can probably help you predict, does he shed? How intelligently will he respond to commands? How healthy will he generally be? Does he need an hour of walk morning and night?
But no one will be able to tell you the feeling of utter happiness seeing your dog go crazy welcoming you though you were gone only for 5 minutes. No one told me that my dog will unblinking stare and listen to everything I say (specially if I happen to have some food in my hand). Mine likes to sleep till 3PM on weekends. He hides his food and tries to dig wherever he can. He hates getting wet. He loves licking me. And though he drives me insane every time I take him for a walk, because he pulls at the leash, the walk is still an adventure that without fail brings pleasure.
This best friend of mine is sitting next to me hoping I will stop writing and go play with him. I have had a tiring day, but am ready to go play.
If you are wondering about getting a dog. Try dog sitting for a friend. It is a lot of work and more responsibility, but in return, you get company and someone who loves you like no one ever will.
A special wooof to AARWEN’s Muse for this post.. Spock..