My Love Affair……with dogs

Dog Lover…..I have a sign with these words posted in my car. For those people who knows me will probably agree that I am a dog lover. For me all dogs are lovable, short haired, long haired, big dogs, small dogs, cute dogs or ugly dogs I love them all.

My love affair with dogs started when I was very young. My Lolo and my mom are both very fond of dogs. My grandfather used to breed Dalmatians and Dobermans when I was a kid. Those dogs used to be my playmates. I would imagine that I was in the jungle and the dogs were the different animals found in the jungle. There are times when I will imagine that I was a cowgirl and the dogs were the horses. They were also my companions when I was reprimanded by my Lolo to sit in the corner of our house when I was very naughty.

I have owned and met numerous dogs in my lifetime and there are some dogs that really left an impression with me.

I always have a soft spot for Dobermans. Dobermans are usually a misunderstood breed. They are deemed to be very ferocious and dangerous as portrayed in the movies. Since I grew up with Dobermans I would like to differ, Dobermans are intelligent, loyal and affectionate. We used to enter obedience trial competitions and Tyson, our Doberman, will often be declared as the Champion. I can still remember that when we will leave the house we will attach the keys of our house to Tyson’s collar so that my Dad will be able to open the house. No one will even attempt to get it because they were too scared of Tyson.

Lhasa Apso are often mistaken as Shih Tzu because they look so much alike but I prefer the Lhasa Apso breed for they are sturdier than Shih Tzu. Lhasa Apso were the guard dogs of the Mongolian Royalty this is the reason why they are very protective of their owners. For me, Lhasa Apso is an important breed for me because it was part of the my pivotal decision for to be a veterinarian. I was a freshman in high school when our Lhasa Apso, Cleo, gave birth to six puppies. Unfortunately, Cleo died when her puppies where only a few days old. I can still remember having to wake up in the middle of the night to feed the puppies and to check on them. After going thru this I decided I wanted to become a veterinarian.

In 1999, I started my journey to become a veterinarian as a freshman student of Veterinary Medicine in Gregorio Araneta University Foundation (now known as De La Salle Araneta University). It was here where I found my second family….Rodeo Club. Rodeo Club was an important part of my college life. I believe that Rodeo Club helped to mold me to be who I am today. It was in Rodeo Club where I learned to lead, be loyal and to be the very best in everything I do. In Rodeo Club, there is no such thing as “puwede na” from applicants, to member and specially for the activities and programs that we do.

It was in my freshman year where I met Erika, who was the specimen dog of one of our brods. Erika was an extremely intelligent dog and very loyal. She will follow any Rodeans that she will meet. She will sit outside of the classroom of Rodeans and wait until the class is dismissed and will accompany you as you walk back to the tambayan. Erika even caught the attention of my aunt when we went to the Araneta Vet Hospital to bring her Lhasa Apso for a check up. She was amazed that Erika followed us from the hospital to the small eatery behind the school. Unfortunately, Erika was caught by the dog pound in Malabon and was never seen again.

When I was in my fifth year of being a veterinary medicine student I had my own specimen dog named Friday. As shown by the aspins I have met, Friday emanated an intelligence and loyalty that I always admired in aspins. Any operation can you can imagine was done to him and for his service I took very good care of him. Even when I graduated in college, I took him home with me and became part of my pack. I would remember, Friday will accompany me to my stop every morning on my way to the office and will wait until I was able to ride an FX before heading back home. When I arrived at our subdivision’s gate Friday will be waiting for me and together we will ride the tricycle back to our house.

Friday was always a free spirited dog. He is the kind of dog that you won’t be able to hold back from going out of the house. Almost all of our neighbors, tricycle drivers and security guards knew him. I remember it was New Year’s Eve in 2006 when he did not go home. My mom and I went around the subdivision looking to no avail. I can still remember the fear that I felt for I knew that he might be scared because of the noise of merrymakings of the New Year. I was so relieved when I opened the gate the next morning and he was waiting outside of our gate, dirty and with a slight limp. I got angry because I knew someone captured and was planning to kill him but he got away. But Friday being Friday was undeterred by that experience he will still go out of the house whenever he can. Until the day when he was not so lucky, Friday was caught by the dog pound. I went around our subdivision looking for the dog catcher and when I saw them I begged them to free Friday I even offered to pay for the fine but they said that they cannot do that and I need to get Friday from the dog pound. Friday, as ironic as it sounds, was captured on a Friday morning. The dog pound was close on weekends and I was just able to go to the pound the following Monday and I was surprised to learn that he was not there. No one was able to help me to know where is Friday. Up to this day, I still have this tiny hope in me that one day when I will open our gate Friday will be sitting outside just waiting for us to let him in.

Golden Retrievers are a breed that really won my heart. They are so beautiful to look at, loyal, good temperament and very smart. My very first Golden Retriever was Prince. People will often tease me that Prince was my boyfriend. I guess I could agree because Prince was always with me. He slept in my room and on my bed, even if it was just a twin bed. Whenever I took a bath he will also be in the bathroom to accompany me. Prince was a very patient dog, I remember waking up one day and he was wearing a tiara, sunglasses and scarf, my nieces was playing dress up and he was their mannequin. Other dogs will try to remove the clothing put on them but Prince just sat there and you can almost see him smiling.

My nieces and Prince at Eastwood

Prince was also very loyal. There was a time when I was always traveling and was often not in the house. One time, Prince upon seeing me carrying my luggage to car jumped in the car and refused to get out for he wanted to come with me!

Prince was an easy going dog. He was not very hyper and is content in lying around the house with me and my mom. I guess this is the reason why I did not notice anything unusual with him until my dad was petting him and noticed that there was a lump on his throat. At first I ignored the lump but grew concerned when the lump grew and I was worried that if it becomes bigger he will have a hard time swallowing or worst to breathe. I decided to bring him to UP Vet Clinic in Diliman for a check up. I remember feeding him a orange popsicle while waiting our turn for it was a very hot day. When we were finally called the clinicians were surprised how well behaved Prince was. They took a needle biopsy and we were asked to come back for the results. After three hours the clinician handling our case called us to tell us that the results were out. I can still remember how nervous she was and I had to reassure her that telling bad news to a client is part of our job. She finally told us the results, lymphosarcoma. My Prince had lymphosarcoma and the prognosis was not good and treatments were usually not successful. My mom and I decided to let the disease run its course. There were numerous times when I will persuade my mom to put Prince down for he was very weak already but she was adamant that we will not put Prince to sleep. Less than two months from his diagnosis, Prince passed away.

After going thru that kind of heart break, I’m still a dog lover. Our house is made up of six truly amazing and interesting dogs; Pickles, my ever malambing dachshund; Red, a lap dog wannabe golden retriever; Nisha, my very own black Marley; Travis and Grayson, my aliens as I call them for they are a dachshund and golden retriever mix and the newest member of our family, Nava, my fast growing Rottweiler.

My very own Marley

People may say that having dogs are expensive and eats a lot of your time but for me I can never imagine not having a dog. Dogs have been my best friends since I was young. They inspired me to be a good animal doctor and to love unconditionally. Dogs never judge you and just accepts you as who you are. For all the love and care that you give them they will give it back to you ten folds, no questions asked.

For all the dogs that I’ve met thank you and for the dogs that I have yet to meet I’m excited to see how you will touch my life.

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