21 December 2012
My Loyal Companion
People think of having a pet as being: frustrating, time consuming, or even unrewarding, and I could not disagree more. When you own a pet they become a part of who you are. You find yourself rushing home to see them because you know that no matter what they’ll cheer you up. Pets have that ability to make a bad day change into a good day; make that sad moment not seem so unbearable because they are there for you. One day I truly found out just how much they can make life better.
In the summer of my nineteenth birthday my girlfriend Caitlin and I decided we were missing something in our lives, so we adopted a puppy. At the Deer Park adoption center we browsed over about fifteen puppies until we came to the very end of the selection. The last two cages each had a puppy in in, and each puppy was about the same size and color. After spending some time with each puppy we were at a crossroads on which to choose. Caitlin wanted the fluffier puppy, and I the smoother puppy; after some considerable time spent convincing we picked the puppy I had chosen, and named her Audrey. Our new puppy was so full of excitement that on our car ride home I frequently had to stop to get her out of my lap. The next couple of days were no different. She had so much energy that I would often give out before she did. Which led to a lot of waking up from naps with Audrey chewing on my arms or legs. Even being full of energy she proved to be quite intelligent. After two hours of showing Audrey what the dog door was she mastered going in and out of it. After rewarding her with treats to use the bathroom in the backyard she started to go potty and look up at you as if to say, “okay I am doing what you want now where is my treat?” The next few weeks went by and Audrey was picking up trick after trick in rapid succession, and as long as I live I doubt I will ever have a pet as smart again.
Three years ago Caitlin and I took Audrey and our other dog Walter to the dog park, for some exercise as well as socialization with other dogs. This turned out to be one of the most horrifying days for all of us. When we arrived we noticed there were about twenty-five or so dogs in the park ranging from dogs as small as Chihuahuas to dogs as large as Great Danes. Now Audrey is a large dog, but she doesn’t prefer to play with other large breeds, she would much rather play with dogs that are smaller so she doesn’t feel so threatened. After fifteen minutes had passed Audrey came sprinting up to me with her tail between her legs as a male German Shepard was chasing her. At that particular moment I thought nothing of it, but as I reached down to pet her, the German Shepard growled and launched itself at me. Being the loyal companion Audrey is she charged him like it was General Custard’s last stand hitting him in the side to protect me. Once he spun around he bit down into Audrey’s side tearing open her flesh underneath her fur. So many emotions erupted from within me as I heard my best friend yelp in pain. Without hesitation I jump in between the two snarling animals with no regard as to what might happen to myself. Snatching Audrey up from the ground I hurriedly make my way to the car as Caitlin brings Walter. That car ride home felt like an eternity as I drive and wonder how my pet is doing, and if she is going to be okay. Seeing all the blood ooze out of Audrey immediately starts the tears flowing from my eyes. Caitlin is sitting next to me holding my hand, as she is being strong for us as we rush her home to clean her wound. The following morning we show up with our bandaged warrior to the vet and wait while he glues he cuts closed. Minutes seem like hours, as we wait for his assistant to bring Audrey back out to the waiting room. Once the assistant leads Audrey back out to us I hear her say our dog is going to be just fine, and I can feel the weight of the world being lifted from my shoulders.
Years after Audrey’s incident she has transformed into the dog she is today. Loyalty and love have never left her sweet endearing personality even with the vicious attack by the German Shepard. When I spend my time sitting on the couch watching television Audrey will climb up on the couch and never leave my side. Audrey has a lot of little quirks that make her special, for instance she is the only dog I know with a bedtime. Every night at nine pm she will lay on the couch and moan until Caitlin or myself gets up and says “ready for bed girl?” then Audrey runs down the hall to the bedroom, and jumps on the bed. Somehow I know when Audrey is around I will never have to worry about anyone or anything harming my family, that is the comfort I get from being next to her. Having her around brightens my mood; it’s like how Edward Abbey describes his snake in “Serpents of Paradise”, pets offer us that someone to speak to when we are alone, and they truly bring us joy even when the relationship is one-sided.
Pets have been known to improve health, and even sometimes extend a person’s life because they no longer feel lonely, and have someone to keep them in brighter spirits. They can keep their owner in better physical health by: taking walks or runs, keep households safe from intruders, and even teach our children to be responsible. There are times when I look down that metaphorical road of life, and all appears to be dark and gloomy, but with something as simple as Audrey laying her head down in my lap I feel that reassurance from her telling me that everything will be alright.