Saturday, August 18, 2007

These dogs' love is better than some humans' love stories

If human beings could love as simply as dogs, we’ll probably be happier. This is why I arrived to that conclusion the other day:
My friend went away to Law school. Let’s call my friend Sarah, ‘cause not only do I like that name, but we’ll be protecting her identity from I don’t know whom, or what. Sarah was afraid to live by herself. She was scared to her bones. “I found an apartment”, she said when she got back from checking out the campus and attending orientation, and she added, “I was doing some research on the building and in 1998 a girl was raped there. I like the place, but after I read that on the Internet I was a little, just a little afraid.” I didn’t tell her but I laughed at her luck and worried for her safety. She did what any of us in our group of girlfriends would had done, a background check, but it was funny to realize how similar my friends and I could be. Sarah solved her fears by asking a neighbor for a grown-up, female bulldog dog. She promised the neighbor she would return it after her first semester away from home, living alone. That was how Lady, the dog, became Sarah’s guardian angel.
“I love the fact that as soon as I get out of bed and set a foot on the floor, Lady stands up and follows me around. Everywhere I go she follows, silently and discreetly, she stays by my side at all times. For example, when I’m in the bathroom I can hear her breath from behind the door. When you’re alone, you’re grateful to have that type of companionship.” Sarah’s stories about Lady could go on for thirty minutes on the phone. “Lady forces me to walk her in the mornings and afternoons. After a while, that has stopped bothering. In fact, I’ve even grown to like it. She forces me to go out and take a break from my readings and I need that, too. It’s nice to have a dog.”
Sarah finished her first semester in Law school. She realized she needed to relax next semester, ‘cause she had studied the hardest she had in her whole life and she had still gotten Bs and Cs in her classes. “Lady helped me make it through my first law school semester,” she would say. But the following semester, Sarah couldn’t keep Lady. She was moving to a nicer building, closer to the campus, with no rape history, or pets allowed. “I have to find someone who could take good care of Lady. Her owner doesn’t want her back.” Sarah would tell me on the phone. Through her mom, she heard about a couple; who couldn’t have children and raised dogs instead. When they heard she didn’t have a home for Lady, they called Sarah immediately.

Adapting to a new home might have seen traumatic for Lady in the beginning, but it turned out to be the best thing that happened to her. Along her new, adopted family, Lady met Johnny, the family dog, and love of her life. The witnesses agree it was love at first sight. Johnny wanted to jump on top of Lady from the beginning, but he courted her instead. Funny behaviour for an impulsive dog. He would push his food plate with his nose and offer it to Lady. Then, he would go eat the other dogs’ food. And one time, when Lady broke a chair and fought with the other dogs, she was placed inside a cage for punishment, Johnny did not go to the backyard to play. He stayed outside her cage, until Lady was released out of her owners' pity for Johnny. But before that, Johnny kept Lady in company from behind the door that separated them. The owners were so moved by his gallantry that they released Lady earlier than they had planned. Today, Sarah received news from Lady and called me to fill me in. Her loyal companion has now become the mother of nine puppies.
“Ella es una perra realizada. Estoy muy orgullosa de Lady y de que mantenga a Johnny en linea,” Sarah said.
Lady and Johnny’s story made me think of us, humans, and about our love lives and how hard it is for some of us to love and stay loyal, when one of the two is put in someone else's, or a self-made cage.


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