Even to till day, I'm still not used to it. I have no "alone" time when I'm home, if you're not counting humans that is. I'm stared at, jumped on and when I lay down to watch TV, I have a chihuahua sitting on top of me trying to snuggle. She's almost become more of an appendage. At night before I sleep, there's no such thing as settling in without my dog curling up either between my legs or on my chest and even under my arm. I'm a bit flip-floppy in bed cause I have insomnia issues, so Madelene usually slides her over to her side. Lola and I have a routine together. After breakfast, I have to sit outside on the deck with her to finish my coffee as she plays with her toys happily. If I go inside, she comes back in to get me. We are hardly ever without each other, unless I have to leave the house. She knows what I'm saying too. I never thought dogs were "intelligent" or even had an ounce of understanding other than "commands" that are redundantly ingrained in their little noggins. If she's playing with her huge bone on the deck making a ton of noise, I say, "Lola, please go take that to your bed and play with it." Off she goes and does exactly what I say. When we're outside playing and I see her panting, I say, "Drink some water, Lola." Off she goes to her water bowl. When I'm making dinner and my mother's coming up to join us, I say, "Lola, go get Nanna." She runs off to the front entrance and literally grabs Nanna to bring her upstairs. If I want to entertain her, I put on Youtube videos of dogs. She's entertained until the video has ended. Animal Planet is her favorite channel, especially if I'm going to be out for an extended period of time.
I mainly work from home, so she's a well adjusted little pup. But that doesn't come without some consequences. Lola has a huge case of separation anxiety. As soon as I put earrings on, she gives me a look like, "Not again..."
When I'm working in my office, she peeks her head inside just to check if I'm still there. Then, when she realizes I'm at my desk, she continues to play outside. I'm not sure if that's healthy, but it's something I have to deal with. There are a few people I know who keep their dogs as "outside pets". Sure they have lavish dog houses and perhaps another companion to play with, but for me, my Lola is my family. Maybe I'm too attached? I think that if you bring a pet into your home, that home is to be shared just as you would with a child. Am I becoming Paris Hilton-ish? Maybe. We always set aside a "Lola outing" --- because she needs to socialize and have fun too. We bring her to the dog park or walk her around the ponds. We take her window shopping just to give her a different scenery or just take her out with us. She's part of the pack. She's part of our family. And that's how it is - that's how it should be.
Saturday morning while Madelene and I were having breakfast, Lola came rushing inside to 'tell us something'. I wasn't sure what was going on, but as she pulled me toward the door, she showed me her dilemma.
(Watch the video below.)
Before I got Lola, I remember telling everyone how I would never sleep with a pet if I had one. Pets should have their own sleeping area. I even saw a show once warning people to not sleep with their pets due to germs, parasites, bugs, bacteria and so on. I always make sure Lola is tidy, but I was totally freaked out by the thought of an animal even inside my bedroom. I wanted one room where I knew that without a doubt, there would be zero dog hair or 'other' stuff lurking about. On the first Christmas Eve without Dad, I was very sad. I let her lay down with us on the bed on her own blanket with our little Christmas tree illuminating the room. It was so cozy with the smell of the fireplace and some Christmas music playing low. We all fell asleep together. Ever since that night, I couldn't stand to sleep without her. When I'm sick or when my back was totally out, Lola stayed by my side and kept me warm. She gives me companionship and comfort. Another thing I want to mention is that my allergist told me before I got Lola that I was highly allergic to dogs. Ever since I got Lola and have exposed myself to the allergen --- my allergies are next to none. She actually boosted up my immunity. It was because of not having pets for so long that I was sensitive to any pet I came across. Don't get me wrong, my OCD makes sure she's clean and shiny, but I always let her 'be a dog' -- and as my mom always tells me, "You gotta love her smell." (Sometimes bad, sometimes good.) I now 'get it' when people say that their dogs are part of their family, because we become part of their pack. If you choose to rescue or adopt a dog, make sure that dog is part of your pack. Otherwise, let someone else adopt them.
For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!