I was afraid this would happen to me again and again.
When I was growing up, as a kid I was used to having dogs in the house, actually in their own “house” where at one time there were over a dozen of them. A mix of German Shephers, my stepfather’s favorite, Dobermans, Terriers and Cocker Spaniels. My sister and I had our hands full cleaning, grooming and feeding them. But it was fun time because they were so affectionate.
Each one had a name and each one knew their names and they all clamored for attention and affection. It was just natural that each one had a special place in my heart. Then the devastation was complete and thorough, all I heard was one word from the vet and my stepfather, distemper.
Wikipedia describes it thoroughly in scientific terms but all I remember about it is what it did to my dogs and in quick time, they were gone from their house, once so full of noisy, fun-loving barking dogs then all so suddenly quiet. As a kid, I was so involved with my own sadness that I didn’t even comprehend the sadness in the hearts of my sister and parents.
So as a result, I vowed never again would I give my heart to a dog. And I was so wrong because it kept on happening again and again, the latest one being this furball of a dog who’s given toys bigger than he is. One thing’s for sure, JJ is a character all his own.
It shouldn’t have happened
But it did, for so many years I avoided this opportunity that comes into one’s life like a typhoon that rages through your heart leaving a gaping would to fester and leave you in pain.
He didn’t even bother to present himself to me, he got into the house under the pretext of a temporary refuge. All the others that I’ve had in the past had wagging tails, upright ears and wide open eyes. He ignored me completely, and focused his attention on my naughty daughters. They knew that storyline would work on me. Such a gentle heart I was supposed to be.
So he grew with the children all around him, fussing over him the whole day, grooming, feeding, cleaning. That was fine with me as long as the house was clean, no ticks, no fur anywhere around. But they pampered him no end and he kept away from me. He was even friendlier with non-family members but close friends of the girls.
Then kapow, it happened. My elder daughter decided to study and earn her college degree in a faraway place that could only be traveled quickly enough by air, but still it would take over 16 hours to complete one way. At least my second daughter was still around to fill in her shoes so well that he carried on as always.
Then bam, my wife and daughter decided to go on a vacation for a couple of months that left only me to look after him. That was a given. I had no other option but to have a crash course in the fine art of caring for him while they were gone.