Monday, 27 October 2014

Life with a Dog

I love dogs, but I've never had a dog... until February this year, that is.

I had been experiencing anxiety problems for about a year since 2013, partly due to the low-frequency vibrations that had been bothering me at night. A lot of things were hanging in the balance for me - thesis, sleep, mental well-being - and I felt so tired of struggling with my problems. My dad, trying his best to find a solution for me, suggested getting me a dog. He figured that a dog would get my mind off my anxieties and give me a sense of purpose (apart from thesis).

He was mostly right. In February 2014, we went to an adoption drive and it was there that Holly first entered my life.

This is the first ever picture I took of Holly. A fluffy little ball of fur, she seemed calm and friendly compared to some of the others there. I had originally gone there intending to adopt another dog, Beego (who happened to be her elder brother). Somehow, my dad took a liking to this little black and tan puppy instead. She became ours on that day, and I named her Holly. Later I realised that she was born near Christmas. Coincidence? I don't think so.

On the way home for the first time, she slept on my lap. As I gazed at her tiny body, I felt so much love for this little soul that had been entrusted to me.

She slept most of the day when she was 6 weeks old. Most of the time, I couldn't take pictures of her unless she was sleeping.

When she was awake, she would be running around terrorising everyone's ankles. Scratches and scabs were our friends during those early days.

If we put her into her pen for bad behaviour, she knew that looking innocent was her best bet. But that wasn't too hard because she looked like an angel so much of the time.

She was inspiring. She inspired me to take my eyes off my anxieties and look at the bright side of life. She inspired me to look at the world with childish wonder again as she discovered new things about it daily.

She brought smiles to everyone around her. She united our family - in the common cause of taking care of her and dealing with her silliness. We learnt to be silly with her and with each other.

I also learnt that I could have sleepless nights worrying about this little pup. She was like a child - what if she bit a wire while I was sleeping? What if she hurt herself? I sometimes shed tears over these worries. A thousand what ifs crossed my mind until I learnt to have faith and trust that she would be safe. I learnt that this is how my parents feel about me.

She was there for us. She was there for me during my thesis, when I was so stressed because of the mountains of books I had to go through. She was there for me when I woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare and had insomnia until morning. I was there for her when she got scared of strange noises during the day. When she peed on the floor in fright, I was there to clean up the puddle.

We were there for her through everything else - the scary vet visits, the skin infections, the awesome times at the dog park and the beach.

She's my superdog. I can't live without her silly nose nudging me awake every day, as if to tell me I'm being lazy for sleeping in. I can't go on a holiday without missing her and calling her name when I do. Whenever I see another dog (or even another animal), I would think of her and how I wished I could be hugging her at that moment.

Within these 8 months that she's lived with us, we've been through ups and downs. I didn't think taking care of a dog would be so hard. But I didn't know that it would be so rewarding either. I didn't know I could love you so much, Holly. And neither did I know that you would love me so much too.

Sometimes when I'm down and don't feel like talking to anyone, I talk to her. She doesn't judge. She just is there. I can be myself in front of her, and she will love me all the same. No make up, no nice dresses, glasses on, hair untidy - that's how she knows me, and that's the person she loves.

Thank you, Holly, for being a blessing to our family just by being yourself and being in our lives. You're a gift from above. Your beautiful, sparkly soul is just the right fit for us - and for me - and we wouldn't have it any other way. I don't want to think about the day when you won't be here with us, but I know that even when we're both gone, we'll meet in Heaven again. Now when we're on Earth, let's live and love as best we can, and be with each other always!

This is the story of my life with a dog, and the story goes on.

Rachel loves sharing about the beautiful things in life from different perspectives. She writes on beauty and lifestyle in Cherchez Beauté , and does more abstract stuff on Antelune . When she's not writing, she's playing with her dog Holly, doodling and reading fiction. You can follow her on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .