I used to be afraid of dogs. Once they start baring their fangs and I hear that long, low growling, I want to run and hide. But receiving a dog and taking care of it changed all this. Our family friend, the Vilars, gave us our first pet dog, which we named Andi.
Andi is a Shih tzu. She was about two months old when we received her on the first day of 2011. She’s very sweet and playful. What amazed me the most about her is how she “knows” when someone from the family is about to arrive. The moment she hears the gate open, she would run to the door and wait for us. We would sometimes pretend that we need her help by knocking hard on the door even if it’s unlocked. She’d scramble around and look for someone to open the door or scratch on the aluminum door, as if that can open it. I love it. Once the door is open and we step in, we’d see her wagging tail and she’d jump on us or wait until we pat her head or carry her.
Andi was a relatively healthy dog, until one day, when my brother and mom brought her to her vet in Ole Veterinary Clinic in Cainta for her check up. She didn’t exhibit any signs of sickness, but the vet said that she had an infection and she needs to be taken in for three days. Trusting that Ole Veterinary Clinic and the veterinarians knew what they were doing, they left Andi for treatment. They said that her hair needs to be shaved and she needs to get a medicated bath for three days. Andi died after four days. I was rushing to get to the clinic after work because I thought I can still see her alive and breathing, but all I saw was her shaven, unrecognizable body, lifeless and cold. It’s one of the saddest days in my life. I also wanted to punch the veterinarian on the face. From then on, I vowed never to bring a pet in Ole Veterinary Clinic unless I want it to get killed.
I thought that I would never be able to take care of a pet dog again. However, the kind-hearted Vilars went over to our place the next day, bringing with them a new dog! And what’s best, the dog is Andi’s baby sister! Her name is Crystal. The Vilars decided to give us Crystal because they knew how devastated the family was with Andi’s passing.
Crystal was shy at first, but eventually she showed her true colors. She loves to run around the house, bite off the couch, and run off with our slippers and shoes. She really looks like her sister, Andi, except that she has less brown patches all over her body. Crystal is the baby in the house. She’s one spoiled brat that always gets what she wants.
Crystal is like her sister in so many ways. She is very sweet, too. She’d wait by the door whenever she hears the gate open, and even if I or any family member have been gone for a very short time, she’d still be excited to see us. Her tail would always wag like crazy at the sight of us. She wants us to ruffle her hair and hug her once we get home.
Andi and Crystal taught me a lot and made me realize how special dogs are. These creatures are heaven-sent, made to be our companions despite the fact that they cannot talk. There’s just so many things to love about dogs, such as:
1. The way they greet you – tails wagging, paws up, tongues out, ready to slather your face. They are always excited to see you even after you’ve left them the entire day.
2. The way their eyes look when they are asking for food. They look so irresistible and sweet that you’d end up giving them morsels of your food while saying “Last na ‘to, ha?”
3. Because they can’t talk, they’re good listeners. I was really, really sad one time and was crying hard when Andi came into my room. She just looked at me and let me hug her tight for a long time without even making a sound. The look on her small, cute face seemed to say, “I’m just here, so just hug me and I’ll stay until you need me.” After a few minutes, I felt so relieved, and true enough, she was just there, still not making any sound. I don’t know if I imagined it but I felt as if she took my sadness and stress away.
4. Everything they do looks cute and funny and adorable.
5. They never complain when you make them wear the same color as yours, unlike your siblings who would change their shirt once they see that you’re wearing red or blue, too.
See what I mean?
Taking care of Andi and Crystal has changed my perspective, too. I realized how hard it is to ensure that your pets are getting the very best of the things that they need. Having a dog is like having a kid. When they were still young and feeding on milk, I would sometimes tell my boss, “Ma’am I have to leave early, wala ng gatas si Andi!” She would laugh whenever I say this because it sounds like I’m rushing to get milk for a baby.
But yes, I treat my dog like my baby. Taking care of a dog is the closest experience to motherhood that I can have, while waiting for my real babies in the future.
I would like to share this with all dog lovers out there. Try to read and finish this without getting teary-eyed, okay? 🙂