Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dear Reggie:

You are lucky I have this "just take the first animal the pound hands you" philosophy, because you were probably not exactly what I was looking for. When I took you into the cement yard to see if we bonded well, you ignored me, then got your fur all over my pants. You were seven years old, had bad teeth, and I was warned that you had a severe anxiety disorder. Nonetheless, home you came. My boss said I saved your life that day.

It took me about a minute to fall in love with you. There is something soulful and sincere about your eyes. You slept upside down, with all four paws in the air. I stopped watching America's Funniest Home Videos, because you became a live version all of the animal bloopers in the world. Still, despite your constant ability to make me laugh, it was clear, and is still clear, you are a little tormented inside. Your constant worrying has been challenging to say the least. Every meal, in your little dog brain, is your very last. Each time I leave the house, you are unsure if I will ever return. You have panic attacks over walks and snacks. Although thanks to a pricey DNA test, I know your breed (a first-generation cross between a Yorkie and a Chihuahua!), the rest of your past is a complete mystery to me. I wonder if your old home was troubled. You remind me of the kids I work with, and I often use similar calming techniques between home and work, flesh and fur.

Last year, you lost so much weight... Seven pounds! I was so proud of you! It was over a third of your entire body weight. You worked really hard, and probably added years onto your life. The vet said it was one of the most impressive weight-losses she'd ever seen on an animal. You are like the dog version of Subway's Jared, minus the sandwiches. If you wore pants, you could probably fit three of you inside of your old pair, just like the commercial. Also, if you wore pants, that would be hilarious. You would wear them belted over your belly, like a mature Italian man.

You form astonishing bonds with people. I can't walk anywhere downtown without someone yelling down the street "Is that Reggie?". I walk you past the bottle depot twice a week. I have to allot myself extra time on these days, because everyone picks themselves up off the ground and scratches you with dirty hands. One of the guys always says he can tell that you were homeless once, too, because you "get" him.

Even my boyfriend adores you. It's a bit strange to walk out of the shower and see a well-dressed, not to mention very allergic, black man carrying you around like a baby, but I guess you just have that affect on people. The cat loves you to bits, and she loves no one. I know you growl at her sometimes for trying to bathe you, but to be honest, man, she's doing you a favor. Your smell is not one of your strong points.

Your favorite, and probably best, friend is an 80-year-old man that wears a backwards hat every single day. This would be unusual for any other being in the world except for you. We get to see him most mornings on our first stroll of the day. One time, we hadn't seen him for a few days. He rushed to us, as rushed as he gets, the next time he saw us. He looked at me with concern in his wrinkled eyes. "I didn't know where you were", he said, "and us old guys go fast, you know". We talked for a while longer, and right before waving goodbye for the day, he said that he was so glad I had rescued you all those years ago.

People say that I saved your life. They say that they are glad I rescued you. What they don't know is that you've saved my life many times over, and that I could never, ever re-pay you for the amount of times you've rescued me. 

With all the love in the world,

~sarah p.

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