So We Have A Dog

Six months later I noticed I haven’t had an entry about our dog. Once referred to as a small rat for being so tiny the first time wifey got it out of a box that was less than half of a regular shoe box into our house is now a grown up dog and we think it is still growing bigger and/or fatter.

Being cozy with Marcus.

Named after Marcus’ pricey smart toy dog he got as a gift while in the US, Shadow soon became house-trained. I’d wish it’s toilet-trained but the fact that it whines whenever it needs to “go” and do it outside, wherever it pleases, is good enough.

First day Shadow went farther from home.

It wasn’t all good and easy though having him around. With me especially. I had less tolerance to pet peeves so I didn’t deal with most of it too well unlike wifey. I was strict. However, what I didn’t learn from reading about dealing with pets, I learned from Marcus. Some the hard way.

An animal lover since he was younger, it was his wish to have another live pet at home after we lost our cat, Mittens, in 2016. We tried a turtle and we still have a dwarf hamster. It took a couple more years for us to test if we can have something furry and bigger. Hypoallergenic dogs are out of the question due to costs. Thankfully, Marcus never had asthma attack with the mongrel shedding all over. So far.

Disciplining the dog was always the issue. Marcus is so particular with how his pets are handled. He reminds me when to clean the hamster. He would protest whenever he sees the dog hurt. It was a challenge explaining to him why I need to keep the dog from doing stuffs. Why there should be rules on what the dog can do and can’t do. At least he now knows to keep Shadow at bay whenever necessary. I taught him that a slight tap to the nose works.

Pet peeves aside, Shadow as it turned out is an active mutt. It has short bursts of energy. It is playful at the same time annoying–I was drafting this post with Shadow licking my head, biting my elbows. It plays fetch inside the house, it runs and jumps around which is the very reason I decided to install an anti-tip strap to our flat TV. Marcus loves all these antics.

This is why I now appreciate Shadow more being with us. To see Marcus enjoy the dog’s company makes me think we made the right decision to get a dog and deal with pet peeves in the process. I think I have learned my lessons–continue to learn may be more appropriate. I’d like to believe I’m a better pet owner and father, while I’m at it. We’re now like an ideal family out of Marcus’ Sims game. If only this dog could get a job or at least run along.

Shadow loves the yoga matt and is always around when I stretch after running.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Second week to see the team.)

Goodbye Vader

It just sucks when something you cherish goes away too soon. Like when everything seems to be fine and then boom, the unexpected happens. It’s gone, never to return again. It’s when you wish it’s just a bad dream.

Reality is just that.  In real life, there is disease. In real life, there is loss, irreversible loss. Real life isn’t real if there is no death.

Wherever you are Vader, if that dog heaven does exist or not, or if you can see the gap you left in our hearts or not, and whether you can even read this blog for you or not, you will be remembered.  I will miss our trip to the pan de sal store.

Happy dog day.

 

***

Mood: 8/10 Honks! (Let sleeping dogs lie.)

Bad and Good Emails

“Good things comes to those who wait” – Anonymous

Today was almost perfect. But sadly another great creature passed away. Upon opening my email this afternoon, I saw this subject: Baby the Bull- dog! 5/18/98-7/29/07. At first I hesitated, but then opened and read it still. It’s confirmed Baby died. The inevitable did come. I’ve been a fan of this lovable bully since we had Styro who was also an English bulldog just like Baby. I’ve been receiving email updates and occasionally in contact with Dan (his owner) who himself is a very talented guy. Aside from being a good pet owner, he’s also a construction estimator, author and sculptor. He’s so fond of Baby that he dedicated a famous website for him and the rest of his four-legged gang.

I just can’t imagine his sorrow right now after having Baby for 9 years. We “lost” ours after just a year and we we’re almost devastated. Please drop by http://bullybaby.com to appreciate their wonderful companionship.

Goodbye Baby.

****

After one heartbreaking news it seems hard to for me to compose what I initially planned to write. Anyway, today was actually a very good day for me.

It started last week with an unofficial SMS on my application update. “That’s good,” I thought but I tried to be reserved than usual. Then as if by coincidence the priest’s homily on Saturday’s anticipated mass mentioned “I’m not believing, until I see it.” Well, when I opened my email at work the following day, the subject Congratulations! – Application Update almost made me jump out of my chair. That first word alone made my day.

Now I know that the maroon shirt’s jinx has been washed off indeed. When I was called for this position’s interview I was having doubts if wearing that shirt was a good idea as it was the same shirt that I wore when I got dumped by a supposedly good employer. But of course I know that wearing the black shirt would be sending a bad sign as well. Come to think of it, I only have two pairs to choose from. So, that leaves me no choice.

And so today, I started my training as a new leader. I’ve been waiting for this chance for so long and now at least my efforts and my wife’s prayers paid off. There’s still four more days of training and I can’t wait to start and meet my own team.

Missing a Bully Named Styro

One night, after an intense badminton game, I arrived at home expecting another routine I follow when home alone—park car, open door, dump sweat-soaked clothes, watch the late news, and then hit the sack. I was so surprised though when I noticed our Handycam on top of our center table with a sticky note. It says, “…Watch the video! Bulldogs are beautiful! Miss Styro!…” It was from my wife (she’s on graveyard shift that night) who recorded a 30-minute excerpt from a Martha Stewart show on TV which I presume is most likely a rerun. The episode featured English and French bullies. Among them was Tyson the skating bulldog which we have seen first through a forwarded email.

Watching the show brought back memories of a bully named Styro who stayed briefly with us after we adopted him from my aunt. I remember my wife being reserved on the idea of having a dog at home but the moment she finally gets to meet the white bully I knew that the 20-lbs dog did win her heart.

Prior to Styro’s arrival, I diligently researched on how to handle dogs specifically English bulldogs. Unfortunately, on the very first night, the preparation didn’t quite work. What I must have missed was that this wrinkled, snub-nose, big-head creature does already have his own idea of a good night sleep. This is because before sleeping that night, we tried placing him in a cozy corner inside our house to sleep on (barricaded by a makeshift fence of washing machine, cardboard boxes and shoe racks) and what we got instead was total resistance and minutes of hide-and-seek game with him.

Eventually, we gave up the chase. But while re-thinking our strategies, we got another surprise when he just went straight to our bedroom, dropped his stout body on the floor right below our bed, and almost immediately went to sleep and snore. He wants to sleep with us.

So there goes the cozy corner outside the toilet and the start of us having an instant baby who will be between us, on top, on our feet, on our face or whatever its sleeping mood dictates every night for the next months to come.

I cannot exactly remember how long before we adapted to this new company of ours and a new nightly routine introduced to us by this cuddly dog. For the most part of his stay it seems like our subconscious got programmed to get used to his daily activities, one of which was his “peepoo” time which I still think he scheduled himself to happen between 12:00 midnight and 1:00 am daily.

Every time I think about it, I cannot comprehend how I was able to wake up every night during that time. It seems like he has managed to control my mind the moment he sits beside me while waiting for me to get over with my REM and to finally accompany him outside the house while he does his “peepoo.” Well, the saying may be right, “You don’t adopt a dog, the dog adopts you.”

Styro also has his own favorite meals. This dog was a voracious spaghetti eater other than his regular canned or dry foods. And not only that, he knew which spaghetti sauces were cooked well by my wife and which one weren’t. He sips the pasta just like any person does. And although we knew from books that chocolates are bad for them, we occasionally gave him a taste of choco-flavored ice creams, which he likes a lot especially during the summer season.

Having a breed like Styro is a feat almost similar to having a baby. Regular trips to the vet is a must and what’s funny is that during that time we don’t have a car yet, so going to the clinic means taking him through a local transport — tricycle. In the sidecar, a mixture of awe, fear and adoration is what we’d usually get from the drivers to the people we’d pass by with most faces hinting of wondering if it’s a cartoon character they’ve just seen. Even in the clinic, while waiting for our turn, other dog owners would also spend time patting and playing with him which is usually the reason why their own dogs would whine or bark to take back their attention.

Sigh.

Well we can’t actually claim that Styro was the greatest dog among others, but we can be sure that he did left a mark in our hearts when he left us just more than a year of staying with us. He was never just a pet but a family member whom we dearly miss.