It wasn’t until I was twenty-eight years when I got my first dog. I had very little experience with them so they seemed pretty foreign to me. In fact, when I helped my husband pick out a dog from the animal shelter I knew very little about them. I remember asking him how she would sleep. I didn’t know if she slept lying down or stood on all four legs like horses did. I know how crazy that sounds, but back then, I seriously did not know. I was pretty clueless when it came to taking care of a pet.
When we picked this dog from the shelter she wasn’t exactly my first choice. In fact, if it were up to me, I never would have picked her. I was more interested in the adorable little puppies. This mangy looking mutt wasn’t much more than three months old, yet she looked haggard. She was sickly and sad, which left me feeling sad as well. I couldn’t tell my husband not to get her because that would have been cruel. After all, she needed a home so badly.
At first, she wasn’t very trusting or overly friendly. She used to hide outside the house during the night and when I introduced her to friends, she would run underneath the car. You could tell that she was a street dog and had never been in a house before we brought her home. Thankfully, she changed practically overnight. She blossomed into an entirely different dog; she became a happy puppy and loved to be around people. I never would have believed what a great companion a dog could be. My dad thought animals were dirty and meant for the zoo, not our house.
When I first met my husband’s family, I called them “the dog family” because they were obsessed with their animals. Every card they sent had a picture of a dog on it and every household gathering was always centered on the dogs. I thought they were a bit weird until I got a dog of my own.
Even though Alex was truly my husband’s dog, I felt closer to her. I thought we just had a special bond. I couldn’t believe I’d thought of leaving her at the pound. I loved her like I gave birth to her myself; she was like my child.
I was hardly ever alone because she was almost always with me. When I woke up in the morning, she was next to me on the bed where I got my usual good morning licks. When I made my way to the kitchen, she followed me around while I made the coffee. She liked to share my toothpaste with me when I brushed my teeth. Alex always sat next to my chair during breakfast. She waited there for me, knowing how predictable I was. She just seemed to know my routine.
Alex really became our sidekick. She went everywhere with us. We took her with us on date night to dinner and always joined us at our friend’s art openings. She became very social and had a way of getting attention from just about anyone. Her personality was so sweet and when she wanted to she knew how to charm you. She was such a girl. She would just bat her eyelashes in a flirty kind of way. Her actions seemed so human. I know most people think their dogs are special but Alex was just so smart. After a while she seemed to take on my personality. Like me, she could be the life of the party when she felt like it and at other times she would be moody and reserved.
When I was with her, I never felt alone. Even though we were not having a conversation, I always felt she understood what I was feeling. We were always very much in sync.