Dogs were not missed during my childhood. I was born to a little white poodle mix that my parents owned in Cuba, Yuni, and as soon as we got a backyard in the States we got a giant German Shepard named Yuni, in honor of the old Yuni (who, rumor has it, died of sadness a few months after my parents were forced to leave him in Cuba). These dogs were sweethearts, just a couple of all the dogs we had while I was growing up, and always outside. I can remember very few times when my mom allowed our dogs in; usually there was a serious storm coming.
Somewhere along the line, probably right around the time when I met one of my best childhood friends, I realized even big dogs could live inside, and started to want one of my own. Jenny had all sorts of dogs at home, indoors, and they were quiet (for the most part), and the house didn’t smell at all. She used to talk about and relate to her dogs in a way I never really had. While Jenny seemed to always have a story about D.O.G., or some other member of the brood, after the age of 6 or 7 I really only ever saw my dogs when my dad forced my sister and I to go outside and spend time with them.
Well, extensive pleading, one failed attempt, some serious money, and a place of my own later…I finally have an inside dog. Believe me when I say I try to remind myself every day that he’s “just a dog.” But darn, he’s really great!
I can honestly say I love my dog. And I know this because as much as I like the fact that he sits, waits (even as I take pictures of him), and plays fetch like a pro, I do not mind doing the things that are…let’s just say less glamorous. “Picking up,” literally, after a dog…no fun. Having to bathe him in your own, human shower, because it’s fifty degrees in Florida the one night he gets truly filthy…kinda disgusting. Worrying about how long you’ve been out with friends and whether he has to pee…annoying. But man!…
The way he looks at me when he thinks someone’s at the door (like he could actually protect me), the way he sits still for minutes on end while I insist on brushing him, and the way he, without exaggeration, jumps with joy when I get home, makes me wanna melt.
There’s just something about having a living, breathing, sensitive, and dependent creature share your space…that makes him more than “just a dog.”