I don’t know how it comes to be that when I spend any amount of time at a house with a dog, the dog becomes my constant companion. And not necessarily because the dog really likes me, but because I actually really like the dog!
Cheyenne has to be one of my favorites. She and her brother Hunter were adopted by my aunt, uncle and cousin when they were just puppies — about four or five years ago now. Cheyenne and Hunter are from the same litter, and Cheyenne was the “runt.” I don’t think you can really call her the runt now. She’s a very sweet girl — very tumbly and cute. She and Hunter love to run around the house and try and persuade us to give them belly rubs. They’re Sharpei/black lab mixes and have the wrinkly faces that go along with their illustrious heritage. And Cheyenne snores like a banshee.
I wasn’t always a dog person. My parents, sister and I welcomed our first dog Roxie when I was eight years old, and my mom loves to tell everyone how I really didn’t care much about her until I was in middle school or so. The truth was that she scared me a little bit. I wasn’t very tall, you see, and Roxie grew like a weed. In a mere six months or so, she’d catapulted from a tiny puppy who could barely keep her collar from falling off to a giant black-and-brown beast who loved to race me across the yard. Even when I wasn’t trying to race. She also had a penchant for finding things in the yard and bringing them to us as, well, “sacrifices” — things like dead snakes and gophers she dug up. Delightful!
So it wasn’t really until Roxie really got up in years (and I did, too) that I started hanging out with her all the time. When we got Rudy to keep her company as she grew older, Roxie hung with me as Rudy become Kate’s BFF. After thirteen years with us, Roxie passed away on Oct. 22, 2007, and I’ve missed her every day since then. But having Rudy close by kept us from grieving too much or too long — we had him to keep us busy, and he needed lots of love, too.
And lately, my dog love has definitely grown exponentially. What other creature in the world has the ability to forgive and forget, love unconditionally and want to be your constant companion? I know I’m not exactly reinventing the wheel with my pat dog philosophies, but it’s something I really find fascinating: the relationships between man and beast. Reading “Marley & Me” opened up a lot of that, and I think I’m going to tackle “Merle’s Door” next.