If you have ever owned a dog you know what I mean when I say dogs are family. Perhaps you bought your own puppy, got one for a gift, adopted a dog or rescued one-off the streets. Whatever the case this dog(s) has now become a special part in your life, and for those of us who don’t have children these dogs become our child(ren).
I bought Jasper a spunky little Yorkie, my senior year of high school. I had asked my parents for a dog but the answer was no. With graduation coming up I thought I will just buy my own graduation gift; a dog! coincidentally my friend’s sister’s dog had just had puppies who were ready for a place to call home. I remember telling my boyfriend at the time about my grand plan and though he was not a 100% behind it, I convinced him to go pick up my new pet with me. When I arrived there was one last puppy available, he was bouncing around playing in the curtains. He’s spunky I thought, he’s perfect. During the ride home I thought of names saying each one out loud to test it. Then it was settled he would be known as Jasper. He was such a tiny little thing fitting completely in my hand, I walked inside making my way to my parent’s bedroom. My mother knowing me well could see the mischief in both my smile and my eyes. “I bought him, he’s non refundable and he’s mine!” I said, placing Jasper down on the bed.
From that moment on Jasper became family we all, my brother, mother and dad, fell in love with that little guy. Years later when I was leaving for college, I stayed home for some years, I realized that Jasper would spend a lot of time alone cooped up in a bedroom if I took him with me. I wasn’t okay with that so I left him at home with my parents. I have younger cousins who spend the weekends with my parents so I knew my dog would be surrounded by people who would play and love on him. I visited often, called Jasper (yes called) and asked about him every single day. On the days I drove back home I would walk in through the front door and Jasper would come running to me, dancing around putting his little paws on my legs. He loved me despite my absence.
Dogs have the wonderful ability of putting a smile on our face. They sense when something is wrong, when something is bothering us, when we need love. No matter what happens they are always there to love us unconditionally. They know when to give us kisses, when to wipe away our tears and when to provide their furry bodies allowing us to pet them. (Did you know that this releases anxiety?)
Jasper and I shared many of these moments together. He was always with me on my bed listening to me rant about work, guy problems, my life, his little ears perked up, while twisting his little head side ways. He would lick away my tears and cuddle up next to me. He would eat his food when I ate mine. He would snuggle up next to me when I was cold. He was always there to provide comfort, love and laughter.
Sadly Yorkies don’t have a good sense of direction, one day Jasper was out on his leash hanging out in the yard, where he hung out over the years, he got loose and took off. The worst part of it all was that I had just moved back home. Things were like they had always been. Each time I left the house I would pat his little nose and tell him that I loved him. He was the first one I saw when I walked in through the front door, and the last one I saw when I left for the day.
My little cousins came over for the holidays this past weekend, being young and occupied with school they had forgotten that Jasper ran away. They ran into the hallway and stood at the bathroom door, where I was finishing up with my hair, “where’s Jasper?” They eagerly asked. Oh what a stab to my heart that was. “He ran away,” I told them, trying to hold back my tears. Their little smiles sank and their shoulders slumped. I could tell they were missing him as much as I was. Jasper didn’t grow up with small children in the house, and yet when my cousins were born he was the most loving gentle dog around them.
My dog was the best dog. I know we all think that about our dogs, as we should. I have yet to find my furry little guy, and I miss his company more than ever. Remember that these dogs love you unconditionally and that’s the kind of love you should always give back.