“Those who teach us the most about humanity aren’t always human.” – Donald L. Hicks
In 20 years, I have been fortunate to have had 2 marvelous companions by my side. The Holly family tends to stick to four legged, nub wagging, Boxer dogs as the family pet. There is something about a dog that any owner will tell you; they have the purest and truest heart you will ever have the pleasure of knowing.
I’ve had two dogs. My parents got Mondo when I was barely 3 years old and we grew up together for the next nine years together. Mondo was the protector of our house. Although he was a guard dog, he didn’t possess a bone in his body that could hurt fly. When I was little, I had a sandbox. We lived in a safe neighborhood so my parents didn’t always have to be on the porch watching me play. They’d be inside or next door at the neighbor’s house, but Mondo would always sit in the sandbox with me until I got tired of whatever I was building that day. He slept with me every night at the end of my bed. If any one were to break into our house, I had no worry in the world with him at the end of my bed. Mondo taught me so many things about loyalty and faithfulness. He taught me how regardless of what kind of day, or what age or who you are, every one is worth protecting. We had to put down Mondo when he was just about to turn 9. The night before we put him down, my dad made him a steak dinner and a cake. The day of was the first day I had ever missed school. We wrote a farewell letter from him to all of our friends and family. Through the nine years of his life, he impacted so many people, and some people still insist “he was just a dog”. He showed our family love and protection and loyalty, more than any other person I know.
The first dog is the dog who gives you so much, that the first dog is often the reason for the second dog. After we lost Mondo, we waited an entire year to get a new puppy. We eventually found a breeder who we bought Emmett from. Emmett is everything Mondo was not, in every good way possible. He is a cuddle, he is a lover, he is a tad bit of a baby, he loves giving kisses. He has a heart of gold, and anyone can see that love gives his life value and meaning. Emmett sleeps with me every night when I’m home from college, except he insists on being the little spoon when we lay down. Emmett hates scary movies. But what amazes me is how much trust and comfort he finds in my mom or myself (my dad refuses to hold him when he’s scared). Our dog truly believes that my mom and I can take any bad guy, like Freddy Krueger, if they happen to jump out of the screen. Just observing this, I have taken away that this is how any relationship should work. He finds so much comfort in our family, and we find just as much comfort in his company. Anyone who meets Emmett can tell his life goal is to make you smile, whether he uses cuddles or kisses. He is the sweetest thing I’ve ever met. When I’m sad he will come in and bring me his favorite toy to try to make me feel better. (How can you not smile at that?)
Every time I leave for college, I wish I could tell Emmett that I’m coming back so that he would understand. My mom and dad send me videos of him howling the couple days after I leave. All I can think is, “Wow, Emmett probably thinks I just left/died/abandoned him and dropped off the face of the Earth.” Could you imagine not understanding every time that your parents dropped you off at day care or a baby sitter if they were going to come back or not? He has so much innocence that he just doesn’t understand if I am coming back or not. I FaceTime my parents every now and then and sometimes he will hear me through the phone and start freaking out, but maybe he thinks I’m just stuck in this metal device that my parents call their cell phones. I feel kind of bad because this whole college transition is probably just blowing his little doggy mind. It reminds me of that drunk driving commercial that says, “Do not drink and drive. You’re dog will never understand why you left them and never came home.” Dogs sit there and wait for you to come home, and if you have seen any Homeward Bound or Balto or Hachi or any other dog movie ever, pretty soon the dog gets really sad and thinks you just left him.
I love dogs, for their innocence, for their pure hearts, for their trust and loyalty. Mondo and Emmett both have taught me all of these traits in their lifetimes. They have taught me just as much as any course I’ve taken in my 14 years of school. Just think about what a beautiful world it would be if people had hearts like dogs…
All in all, your dog is your friend, your family, your defender, your partner. You are their life, their love and their leader. They will be yours, faithful and loyal, until the last beat of their heart. We owe it to them to be worthy of such devotion. If I could be half the person my dogs are, I would be twice the human I am now. Although Boxers typically don’t have the longest lifespan (usually 8-10 years), I cherish every minute I have gotten to spend with Mondo and Emmett. The years in my life that I have been fortunate enough to have a dog have been the best years of my life.
Maybe the reason why I love animals so much, is because the only time they have ever broken my heart is when they’ve crossed that rainbow bridge into Heaven.
P.S. I’ll start blogging more 🙂