From my mother’s tales, since I was very little, I always wanted a dog. My parents refused for a while reasoning that a dog needs company and I was too little to take a responsibility. I kept begging with no avail. Little children have very strong intention, in fact so strong that they tend to create their own reality, meaning to manifest their desires into their own universe. And so it was in my case. One Sunday morning, my mother opened the front door to go shopping. I was following her with the intention to accompany her to the store. I was the first one to see her. She was very little and shaking.
The first impression that I remembered was compassion: strong emotion that this little puppy needed my protection and my help. My mother was in a minute shock, clearly not knowing what to do. I did not hesitate and at my tender age of four I made a strong decision to act: to help this little puppy that obviously was abandoned and left to die. Putting my best “begging” to forth I pleaded my mom to feed it. At last, se consented, and for a while this little and beautiful puppy was mine. I remembered that day I stayed home feeding the puppy with the milk my mom found in refrigerator.
I was stroking its black fur and was watching in delight how it was lacking milk out of the bowl. My mother came home from shopping and for a little while was standing there watching me making the puppy feel comfortable. I think that her seeing that love I had, that tender attention, and that fuss around it made her mind up. She made a weak attempt to find the owner, which did not extend more, but to make a dozen of fliers and to hang them up in our neighborhood. No one came to claim it and I knew then the puppy was mine. That day I named it. Her name was Moxie.
As I was growing up so Moxie did. In a year, as I remember, Moxie was already a good size. This is when my little brother tied to climb on Moxie like he would do so on the horse. Even at five, I knew that Moxie was not comfortable but she never gave neither my brother nor me a sign that she was angry or displeased. She bravely would withstand our little exploitations still licking up on the face and wiggling her tail. Moxie was our constant companion. It would not matter where we would go, she would try to follow us. The only separation was the times when we had to go to school.
Even then, she would see us to the porch and sticking her head out the window would sadly follow us with her eyes producing no barking sound. Her eyes were louder and more expressive as saying that she was waiting for our return. We spent a countless happy hours together. I remember quiet walks in the neighborhood, active ‘runs’ in the park, and calm and relaxed ‘sitting’ in front of TV. She was a loyal and true friend. My whole family was good to her too. It is difficult to describe the feeling Maxie would evoke in us. T was tenderness and gratitude, calm and confidant love, playfulness and zest.
Time past and our Maxie slowed down. I was getting busier at school too. Although my brother would take her to park all the same he would not come home tired and out of breath, as usual. Maxie was getting older. It was so obvious to observe that she lived to make our lives better: to protect us from possible dangers and to make it easier and more pleasant. But time was taking its tall. At times she would not go outside. Laying her head on her paws, she would sit like that for hours by our feet while we were doing homework or watching TV. Her big sad eyes were like saying apologies that she could not be that active anymore.
We understood and loved her the same. One day Moxie would not eat and had trouble eliminating outside. At first she would eat people food (crackers or cheese) but then she did not want that either. After the second day of Moxie not wanting to eat, my parents made an appointment with the vet, and we found out that Moxie had a large mass in her abdomen. We had to have her euphonized. My dad buried Moxie in our backyard along the woods. My mother helped my brother and I make a tombstone for Moxie, and we buried her two favorite toys with her. Moxie died on a cool rainy day in October.
Loosing her caused me to get in a deep thought. It was nothing different as loosing a friend or a family member. Sorrow was very strong and long lasting. Thinking back, I understand clearly now that Maxie was much more than a dog to us: she was te true family member. Lopenz (2002) was very thorough to describe the relationship between a child and a dog. He did notice a tendency for a dog (at least most kinds) to be very sensitive around small children. Indescribable gentleness must be only experienced or observed to be understood. If the master is an adult, his or her dog is particularly gentle with the master’s children.
Such an observation makes one to believe that the dog understands how important the young children to the master are. Thus, according to this author, the fear that the children might be by any means harmed by the dog has completely no ground. Another fear that might manifest itself due to the very characteristic is that such tolerance from the dog’s side might train a young child to become ruthless and mean to the smaller and weaker creatures. I, in particular, did not observe such an effect. Maxie was very tolerant to my own and my brother’s rough handling.
When she was still a puppy, I would lick her up and carry with me like a doll subjecting her to unthinkable ‘tortures’ that a young girl of four can think of: putting a little dress on her, pulling her by her paws, carrying her in a shopping bag, and so on and so on. No time, Maxie allowed for any displeasure to be displayed. There were no growls, no running away – in short, she was extremely patient. Less, she was with a grown up ten with us. When she grew up beyond one year old and was still very young, she seemed to know how to escape my brother’s attention and mine when we would become too much to her.
It was done though without any unwanted or unpleasant reactions. Child become attune to such ‘loosing a contact’ and learn to respect their dog’s feelings (Lopenz, 2002). In Lorenz (2002), I read an interesting account of a sentiment. Many people have experienced looses in their loves: be it a friend or a family member. Transience to another world is always very traumatic. Lorenz asked a peculiar question: “Is it right to exhibit the same kind of sorrow upon an animal’s passing as humans do for each other? ” And another one that might cause our thinking. Our pets have much shorter lives.
They might be born when we are very young, mature when we still a child, and die in front of our eyes when we still do not know how to handle death (like in my case). True, this very fact stops many parents cold from getting a pet for their young children. Lorenz, touching this very issue lays a hand on a very delicate question, “Don’t we protect ourselves from fear of death by trying to avoid any possible and direct contact with it? ” Unmistakable signs of aging that our pets display (when we still are very young) cases us thinking that usually parents want to avoid.
When children ask their parents about these signs not understanding why their beloved pets do not move as much or as fast, parents have a difficult time to answer them. The truth of getting old stares them in the face bringing around an ugly reminder of our own destiny. And yet, the short days of young doghood completely and full compensate for the above-mentioned fact of life. It is indescribable feeling to watch another creature grow and mature in front of you with the full realization that you and only you are responsible for its very life. This is the benefit in having a dog: appreciation of another life form.
I do remember my younger brother bugging me with the questions behind the reason of lessen mobility in our pet. Not knowing how to answer him but understanding dearly that the situation will not improve, I watching, the sad eyes of Maxie began understanding the value of being young, and in general the value of life. There is no one, no parent, no teacher could teach such a lesson as our Maxie did to me.
References Lorenz, K. (2002). Man Meets Dog. London: Routledge. Retrieved July 16, 2007, from Questia database: http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=103328936