This piece is featured in a new online magazine, Prodigal’s Chair. Check it out in the magazine, along with many other great pieces in The Animal Issue!
In June of 2013, my boyfriend and I decided to adopt and rescue a puppy from Kentucky. He was trucked all the way to Connecticut where we picked him up and brought him home. My heart melted the second I laid eyes on the fuzz ball.
Within a few days, it was clear that we could love and care for this puppy so much more than we could care about other people in our lives; we liked this animal more than most of the people we knew. It may sound insulting, but it was, and is, the truth.
Why was that? What made people, creatures that could easily communicate with me, less desirable than my new dog, something that peed on the floor even though it was just outside?
I can’t really explain it, but it’s like there was a new addition constructed on my heart, a new structure put there just to contain all the love I have for this animal. I’ve found myself saying on several occasions over the past year and a half, “I never knew I could love a dog this much.” He’s like my first-born son. I’ve contemplated getting a tattoo of his paw, and I don’t even like tattoos. The thought of anything bad happening to him instantly makes me upset. I literally can’t even handle thinking about it.
It’s funny. We get sick of people if we spend too much time with them, even our best friends or significant others, but I feel like I never have enough time with my dog. It’s like he lives and breathes for when I come home at the end of the day. If a human does that, well, it’s kind of weird. If a human tried to climb in my lap while watching TV, I’d probably freak out. But when my dog does it, I couldn’t be more thrilled that he wants to spend time with me, and I scoot right over for him. The minute I leave my driveway, I miss him already and I can’t wait until I come home and his whole body is wiggling towards me, beyond excited that I returned to him.
I tend to be someone who gets mad about something and it bothers me for a while. When someone annoys me or does something to upset me, I’ll be the first to admit it takes me a while to get over it. But when Wheatley ate my favorite moccasins, well, I somehow got over that in a matter of minutes. How could I be upset when my loyal best friend gave me those puppy eyes? He mistakes are so easily forgiven. Perhaps it’s because dogs don’t know better, but people should. For whatever reason, it’s much easier to forgive my dog than another person.
My dog would never intentionally emotionally hurt me, like a person might. I was the lucky one that brought Wheatley in to get neutered. He wouldn’t look at me once I brought him home. I would sit next to him and he would get up and move. It took peanut butter on my cheek to get him to look at me and give me a kiss. That hurt, but I did deserve that. Aside from that one event, Wheatley brings nothing but joy and happiness to my life.
I wish I could understand what’s going on in their minds. I think that would be an incredible experience. Some people think that dogs are stupid, but they sure know how to love someone unconditionally.
I know that not all dogs are like this. They’re not all perfect little creatures, just like people aren’t perfect. In school, there could be one misunderstood glance between people and a friendship is over before it started. At the dog park, there could be one foul smell and that friendship is over before it started. It’s interesting to compare.
I think a lot can be learned from the way dogs and humans interact. A dog and owner relationship at its best is pure love and trust. Dogs trust you with their lives. They have no reason not to. I’m not talking about the disgusting human beings that abuse dogs, but the normal humans. Most dogs make it so easy to love them back. You just want to give them every little treat you can find. I love taking him to the park, as a parent would take their child, or to the toy store to get a new toy. I giggle like a little girl when he picks out his own toy.
There’s nothing better than coming home at the end of a long day and your dog is waiting at the door for you. He checks on you in the shower, you know, to make sure you didn’t slip and fall. Jumps into the pool after you because he thinks you can’t swim. Gives the gentlest of kisses when it’s bedtime. Nestles into your arms because sitting next to you is just not close enough. There is nothing better than this relationship. Nothing.