“My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you’re ugly too.” ~Rodney Dangerfield
I don’t have kids, but here’s Abigail my little 5 pound Japanese Chin. She is the sweetest thing with the biggest heart. I remember when she was a puppy, she would swim in the water when I took her to a lake. She wanted to show me that she could do it and that she wasn’t afraid. She is small, but despite her size I always got the sense from her that she had to try extra hard, harder than her brother Abraham who is almost 3 times her size.
People have often pointed and said that she is cute, but once in a while I will get “what an ugly dog.” Usually that sort of criticism is from someone who can’t tell me directly, but I can hear them as they pass by or laugh as they point to their friends. My little girl is 4 years old. She’s as strong she can be; yet, like many of us she can also be fragile. I don’t regret the 1 am baths I have to give her because flea season has begun and I get off work late. I don’t regret having to walk her regularly because she has such a small bladder. Abraham can control himself and doesn’t need to go to the bathroom as much as Abigail does. Like kids, the two are very different.
Abraham gets his feelings hurt because he loves everyone and wants everyone to love him back. He gets disappointed whenever strangers pay him no mind. Meanwhile, little Abigail would prefer to be shielded by her big brother, protected from any potential giant that might crush her. Pets can be very soothing, especially for those that deal with depression, anxiety, mood disorders or the simply retired folk looking for a companion to make life a little less lonely. Dogs can become your best friends, your children, an addition to your family. You would not know what to do if they weren’t around. I have met so many wonderful strangers, have had the best conversations along the beach, and have brought more smiles to people just by introducing them to Abe and Abby.
Recently, Abigail has been feeling under the weather. Because she is a Japanese Chin she has a very high probability of having a heart murmur or mitral valve disease (MVD). I bring her in to the vet this Monday morning. Maybe she is too small for big dog owners to consider her a dog. Maybe she is peculiar or even ugly looking to some people. Even a sibling of mine prefers to have kids; she and her husband don’t want any pets.
Everyone has their preference. Abe and Abby are a huge part of my life. And like the way we should think of ourselves, it matters very little about what people think of us or our dogs or our lifestyle. I dyed my hair red and got tattoos recently. While my family thought I should have kept my hair natural. I kindly thanked them for their opinion, but it doesn’t matter what they think. The most important person is you because, ultimately, you are the God of your world and no one else has control or power over your decisions or how you feel.
I hope Abigail is okay. I hope she doesn’t have a heart murmur. Dogs her size, so small and fragile, can die quickly or have shorter life spans as a result of a serious heart condition. In my world, that is serious. In my world, a little 5 pound dog has brought more days full of laughter, joy, and happiness than lots of humans I know and this includes my own family. I believe with all my heart that dogs are spiritual guides and more special and innocent than many flawed humans. They love you regardless of how mean you are to them. They love you and are happy to see you regardless of your mood. They hold no record of wrong and only know how to love you unconditionally.
If anyone out there is suffering from depression, or even if you are a “Trader Joe’s” type of bubbly-happy, consider getting a dog. And if you already have one, cherish the blessings that these precious four legged, innocent angels bring to your life. They show us all how to selflessly love.