I grew up around all sorts of animals. Dogs, cats, birds, fish, even a rabbit. I loved dogs the most until a rash of bad experiences forced me to distance myself from dogs. My earliest memory was of King. He was a black and brown Shepard mix and I adored him. I think his papa must have been a Rottweiler or Doberman because he looked like one. I was about 4 or 5 years old and I remember visiting my great-grandmother for the summer. King was an outside dog and stayed in the back yard so I often stayed out all day, or as long as I was allowed, playing with him. He was so friendly and had so much energy. He loved chasing me around the yard and chasing the ball I threw. I looked forward to waking up every morning and going out to say good morning to him and play ball with him while waiting for breakfast. He was my best friend!
Then one morning when I went out to play with him, King was gone! I thought he had gotten out and begged my great-grandmother to go look for him. She had agreed to ask a few of the neighbors if they had seen him. We found out that my dog was stolen out of my back yard in the middle of the night. There had been a rash of dog-nappings in the neighborhood by a group of people who had dog fights, though where they had these fights, none of the neighbors knew. I was devastated! Not only did someone steal my dog but if they did steal him for dog fighting, I knew that I would never see him again. I had overheard my great-grandmother talking about these fights with the neighbors so just thinking about my beautiful, happy, and loving King being beaten and forced to fight to the death, caused my imagination to run all kinds of scenarios in my young brain.
My mom knew how heartbroken I was so when King’s mom (my great-grandmother had his mother and grandmother) had another litter and a few of them looked exactly like King, my mom allowed me to take one back to the City with us where we lived. I named him King II but I didn’t have time to really bond with him because the Landlord gave my mom a hard time about having a puppy. So, my mom convinced a neighbor to take King II and the neighbor offered to let me see him every day before and after school. The very next day however, King II had died. According to the neighbor, King II was out in the yard and a pit bull that lived across the alley had jumped his fence and into hers, killing King II within minutes.
Then there was my white Chihuahua, Pup-Pup. She lived with my Great-grandmother so whenever I visited her, I played with Pup-Pup. It wasn’t the same though because she was a different dog. I didn’t have the same connection with her that I had with King. Still, she was a good dog and very protective over me. I remember one time a neighbor had come to visit with his Rottweiler and the dog had jumped on top of me while I was playing in the yard. He didn’t try to hurt me but I was small and he was huge. He covered my whole body and I was afraid. Pup-Pup, now a mother herself, bolted out the front door, barking and growling. Before I knew it, she had hopped onto my chest, putting herself between me and the dog. She growled at him and nipped at his paws. She scared him. the owner of the dog apologized and explained that he was still young. The young dog was still in the training phases. Pup-Pup protected me from this big dog. Despite her size, she had no fear. She ran on pure instinct. Shortly after that though, I was sent to live with my father and never saw her again.
Needless to say, I became a cat person after that and have been a cat person since. Dogs require so much more attention than cats. Cats are independent and mysterious, so naturally, I was drawn to them. I grew up around other dogs, some who weren’t so nice, and I do still love dogs. I have a dog now but I got him for my boys. His name is Mikey. He is a Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix and I got him because I really wanted to give my kids the experience of growing up around dogs. We already had a cat, so why not a dog? I wanted him for the boys. However, he grew attached to me and is practically attached at the hip, which annoys me at times. I’m not an attached-at-the-hip sort of person so sometimes it can really get to me. But, when he gets so excited to see me come home and when he does allow the boys to play with him, I remember why I got him.
The downside: I hate that no matter how late I take him out to go do his business, he wakes me up at 6am. I also hate that when he is laying down he will growl if anyone gets close to him, especially the cats. What I despise the most is how jealous he gets when I have cuddle time with my boys. He hates when I give someone else attention. The upside: Despite having some anxiety that is a natural part of his breed and being super attached to me, also a part of his breed, he is a good dog. I have been working with him on his jealousy simply by giving him my undivided attention when my kids are at school or not at home. Do I get the same excitement I used to get with King? No. Something else happens though when I give him my attention. His tail wags and I immediately relax. I take him for walks to help with his energy, which in turn, helps me because walking is always a good thing in my book. So, this is why I have a dog. Even though he needs more attention than a cat and can be annoyingly possessive over me at times, I know it comes from a good place. He loves me! I can’t fault him for that.
So now, when I get annoyed with him, I remember King. I remember how much I loved him and how heartbroken I was over losing him. I remember why he was taken and that he probably didn’t feel love after that. So, loving Mikey is okay because he deserves to be loved. I love him because he is sweet and loving. His love is unconditional and that’s the best kind of love. I love him because he has been getting closer to the boys and that warms my soul. I love him because no dog should ever feel unloved. EVER!