Just Saying

TAKING in a puppy is no picnic. There were times I really wanted to return him back to his original owner and be done with him. But there were times his presence is the opiate needed to appease a routine life.

I love cats, given a choice to have a pet; I would have chosen a cat. But considering that cats don*t make much of a guard around the house, although they can meow as loud as they can, they do not scare a burglar. So I got a puppy.

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What’s difficult bringing up the puppy is that I don*t have experience raising up a kid. And a puppy, basically not yet housetrained, is a load of work to do.

So one of the first things I did was to buy a book. Let’s face it, there is no manual in raising up any pets, but there are books on housetraining dogs. I bought some of the equipments that the book requires to start my housetraining. But the three things that the book requires the most - time, effort and patience, are supposed to come from me. Those three are basically a commodity that rarely found in me. So Houston, we have a problem.

The first few weeks that the puppy arrived, I still had a help around the house, so he got to have a yaya. I was just supervising the care for him; feeding, cleaning up the mess, bathing. So I thought, having a dog around the house is a piece of cake. Wrong.

The help left and I ended up with a four-month old not housetrained puppy who loves to chew, poop, pee and play. No matter how many times I have a “talk” with him about eliminating outside, it fell on deaf ears. I’ve tried scolding, not scolding, rushing him out faster, leaving him out longer, nothing seems to work. And when the puppy does manage to actually eliminate outside, what an overwhelming joy! It is as if I won a housetraining lottery.

I was on my way having a routine to the puppy’s housetraining, him eliminating outside morning and evening, and to bark when he wants to pee. But the one thing I forgot is the word of the wise: do not let him step on soil, especially if his vaccines are not yet complete. And the puppy, naturally got sick.

He got sick on a Saturday evening when the vet’s clinic is closed. His fever was high, he had diarrhea, he was coughing loud and he wouldn’t eat. He wouldn’t even budge no matter how you dangle food or toy in front of him; he wouldn’t even look at me. I got worried. There goes my money down the drain. Oh yes, I was worried about the dog, too. I rushed to the store and bought him a canned dog food, and luckily, he liked the taste of it. I also bought fever medicine for kids and let him drank. I let him drink my vitamins C and my immunity vitamin to fast track his healing just for him to survive that night and Sunday so that we can go to the vet on Monday.

Oh, the things we do in a panic mode. Fortunately, the puppy lived. He is still in dog medication at present, but hopefully, we can resume our housetraining project sooner.

This puppy came to me not because I was desperate to have a companion at home. His story is better than a convenience.

When I was a college student I took photography classes and one of my sisters gave me an expensive single lens reflex camera. When I took up law, although I didn’t have much time indulging my hobby of photography, the camera was still with me. One day, while taking final exams of one of my subjects, a friend brought it at school since I left the camera at their house. As would have expected, after the exams, you have the tendency to fly out without looking back, and I forgot about the camera at all. Although we came back to the room several hours later, the camera was not there anymore, and nobody seemed to have seen it. I mourned its loss for almost 23 years, and for 23 years I never had a camera like that anymore. I couldn’t afford it nor were my sisters generous enough to give me another one.

But last November of 2009, a classmate in the college of law came to my office. I thought he was there to ask some favors or to borrow money. But no, he was there to ask forgiveness, for he was the one who took the camera and pawned it for drinking and drugs money at that time. I asked him why now? He said it has long been overdue. He was evasive about the reasons why he is seeking atonement after such a long time. I told him he was already forgiven long before I know it was him who took it. And to further mollify his guilt, he gave me half the price of the camera. I refused to accept it, but on hindsight, why not? So I got unexpected money, something I don*t know what to do with. And when I told some of my friends about what happened, they told me to buy something as a remembrance of sort. And in my mind what better thing to remember that event but with a man*s best friend?

So, I ended up having a dog. And that year, my other sister gave me for Christmas the much awaited camera to take the place of the one I lost, after 23 years.

This is one of the reasons the puppy became important to me. Not only that he provides solace to my aged mother, a sense of discipline to my cluttered life and a guard at home, but a reminder the goodness in a person and the value of redemption. (Want to react? Email me: justsaying416@gmail.com)