I walked into my house and there he was. Curled up on the couch. So fragile, I thought I’d break him if I picked him up. We’d told our dad one week. “We’re just fostering him. He’ll go when he finds a good home. We promise.” We knew it was a lie before we’d even said it. My sister sent me a picture while I was wrapping up school work in Singapore and I knew I’d never let him go.
He was almost two months old. He weighed less than 2kgs. The first night he was home, mom complained the morning after – “He walks all over me. He wouldn’t sleep. He jumped on my chest and I thought I couldn’t breathe. Are we sure?”
It’s been four and half years. He weighs a little over 11kgs. He still doesn’t sleep full nights. He climbed on her chest last night. She screamed with pain but then pulled him closer and kissed him on the forehead. We all know the words she wouldn’t say. “I hope these moments never stop happening.”
Because the saddest thing about having a furry family member? Their lifespan is almost always shorter than yours and my furry child has hit his half-way point. But if someone asked me if I’d have it any other way, I’d tell them – I CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE IT.
My mom named him before I got home. I always find myself explaining, “His name’s Dala. He’s a boy. I know his name’s girly. My mom named him.” If you thought you know what unconditional love feels like before a dog, you have no idea what’s in store for you after.
My dance partner, my shoulder, my supporter – I scream-sing with a ridiculously fake Italian accent and he still loves me, still sits by my side, still sticks himself to my back as I sleep. I’ve always been that girl who couldn’t sleep with someone else on the bed. It’s a struggle to sleep if he’s not next to me. It’s a struggle to live if he’s not next to me.
Dala came into my life a few months before my life crashed and burned. I’ve always said it – If he didn’t exist, I doubt I would have. When nobody understood my pain, when words weren’t enough to talk about it, when death seemed like the ideal solution, when tears would flow with no end – Dala would be there, not once leaving my side. If I’m crying, he’d jump up to sit on my lap. There would be no words of encouragement, no hands to wipe tears, no hugs or kisses but there would be calm. Someone was there. With the kind of love I never realised was possible. A loyalty that I’d never known.
I feel the back of my eyes sting as I write these words. Because I know I can’t keep him with me forever. Nothing good ever lasts. When I started university again, my biggest struggle was not feeling his warmth at my back. Missing his tiny hands on my neck as if he’s holding me while asleep. I can’t imagine going back to a life where I might never feel it again and the fear is so real every time he falls ill, every time his girlfriend fights him, every time someone tells me their furry baby passed on.
I was the girl who ran scared of dogs. I still understand that fear. But I don’t understand the ones who hate them. When someone comes up to me and says, “Tie your dogs up so I can come home,” my first thought is Don’t come. It’s rude but.. It feels like asking to tie up a family member. It’s absurd.
We got another furry baby after the Chennai floods. Mika – Dala’s girlfriend. They couldn’t be more different if they tried. We constantly remind him how he’s so badass he’s living together with his girlfriend without marrying her. He probably has no idea what any of those words mean. But we still tell him things. We tell him how funny a video is. Ask him his opinion on what we’re wearing. Complain about boyfriends not texting back.
He only ever reacts to three words – Food. Walking. Sleep.
Priorities, I tell you.
But in some part of me, I believe he knows what I’m saying. Maybe not word for word. But the emotions behind it. He knows and he understands. In that odd intuitively loving manner that only my furry, four-legged, wide-eyed boy can. It’s why when I say something sad, he sits next to me.
Someday, I’ll sit in a corner and I’ll cry. The tiny things he does like walk on my earrings, eat Mika’s food or steal food from my plate won’t be the things I’ll miss the most. It won’t be his face, that hint of sadness as I wave bye while walking out the door, a feeling of guilt like I’m betraying him by not taking him with me – the face I remember the entire trip until I come back home.
The thing that will make me cry is the moment I open the door and he doesn’t come running to me. Filled with love. Like the ten minutes I was gone was actually ten years. His face in that moment.
My best friend. My baby.
12 thoughts on “(5/6) The Boy That’s Mine”
I like really enjoyed this read! Thank you for shedding light on the comment of “tie your dog up”… I don’t own a dog and wouldn’t have known it could rub someone the wrong way! Very insightful! Lovely Story! I think I might just let bae get the dog he’s been asking for…lol
I can’t remember the last time I tied them up. I have sisters who are afraid of dogs. They tell me to “hold him” and I totally don’t mind that.
Haha! You really should 😀 It’s amazing. Just be ready for a lot of interference in the middle of everything.
Thank you for reading! xx
No better friend/family than our four legged buddies…and its my fav brand of canine #Puggings *heart* Hey there Dala 🙂
Yay! The first dog I ever picked up was a pug and five years later, my furry baby was a pug. I always think how it was so meant to be!
I told Dala you said hey and he came up to me to check if I had treats in my hands. >.< Life with this boy.
Thank you for reading and the comment! xx
“We constantly remind him how he’s so badass he’s living together with his girlfriend without marrying her-” I really cracked up at this statement. This was a great post and I enjoyed it a lot!
Haha! I do think that line is sometimes for our entertainment more than it is for him to understand.
Thank you so much!
Food, walking and sleep. Those are important words!!
Fur babies are everyone’s best friends!! xx
yes….bigger yes….YESSS I can’t tell you how much I relate to this post! I mean I want to scream from the rooftops kind of relating. I have two dogs too! Daschunds… Same size so that’s another dose of relating. Then there was the whole jumping on chest thing hahaha my dogs do that too! I feel like I’m going to eviscerate whenever they do that! Also my dogs are ten yrs right now. I can totally understand what you meant. I’m constantly aware of the fact that they are getting old and this fact scares the shit out of me no matter how much I try to sideline it. ALWAYS SOO SOO GOOD TO TALK TO A FELLOW FURRY FRIEND LOVER!
This post absolutely broke my heart! So beautifully written and a really poignant ending. The idea that people would ask you to tie up your dogs is so absurd to me! Even though I don’t have one, I know that they’re as much part of the family as anyone else, and should be treated as such! So innocent and pure, all they want is our love ❤
I myself have started a little graduate series to adjust back to living with my parents so I'd appreciate it if you had a minute to check it out too! ❤
Doggie!!! Mine is 6 going on 7 now and I know what you mean