I am a self-confessed dog lover. I am by no means the canine version of a “crazy cat lady” but I definitely have a soft spot for canine companions. We have had a family dog almost continuously throughout my childhood, as far back as I can remember. It started with Sandy, our sweet golden dog. I was young and I can’t remember her that well, but she was my Dad’s dog, a trusty four-legged friend and I have fond memories of her. Then it was Pippa, the lost dog who ended up in our care until her owners were located. Again, I’m not sure of her breed, I’m no expert in these things, but she was huge (compared to little five-year-old me) and bursting with energy as she jumped up at me, knocking me to the ground. She was soon reunited with her real family after a short stay with us.
Next, along came Gus. The adorable short-haired stray, a cross breed of some sort and definitely part terrier, who followed my Dad home one day after he dropped me off at school. Imagine that… a curious little puppy trotting at your heels as you go about your daily business. How could we resist? We took him into our home and he waited patiently, sitting in the porch like a little angel while we reported having found a missing dog. No owners were ever traced, so of course, he was gladly adopted into our family. We soon came to the realisation that he was far from the little angel we first met. He was more like a little terror!! He would chew anything and everything, which later led to him “killing” my favourite teddy bear – Squidgy – RIP. He would bark at anything that moved, including his own shadow. He would eat absolutely anything, for example, the unfortunate slug that glued his mouth together and had to be carefully extracted by Mum. He hated being indoors and he would run away at any opportunity, causing us untold stress and worry on several occasions – No wonder that little lost puppy followed Dad home all those years ago. But we loved him. Gus-man filled a little place in our hearts left behind by Sandy, and his personality was unique. He was known by our local dog kennel as Gus The Smiler, as he always seemed to grin and show his teeth on the rare occasion we took him there. He certainly made us smile and we were devastated to lose him!
Some years later, another little character came into our lives. After quite a lot of nagging, I finally got my way and my parents agreed on getting another dog. A puppy. After much research, we saw the one for us on the internet. She was local and she had already stolen our hearts from the very first photo. We called her Pepsi and she means the world to me.
It is hard to sum up such a small dog with such big character and personality with just words. Pepsi is half Jack Russel and half Maltese – A Maltijack. Her fur grows long and is soft and fluffy but she usually ends up looking more shabby than chic, despite how much I brush her. She has the temperament of both breeds – cuddly like a Maltese yet energetic and feisty like a Jack Russel, with a yappy bark to match. She seems to have the power to make even non-dog lovers simply adore her! I could go on, and on, and on about all the things I love about Pepsi, but that’s not the point of this blog. What I really want to say is that dogs really are man’s best friend, and this is why:
Somehow they know how we are feeling; whether that’s happy, sad, excited or scared, and they mirror that emotion. They make us laugh with joy, cry with worry, sigh with exasperation and smile with love and pride. Dogs keep us company when no one else is home and a house just doesn’t feel like home without them there to greet you at the front door, or snuggle up on the sofa at night, or pester you in the kitchen as you cook, or bark at the unsuspecting postman every single day. My little Pepsi is one of a kind, but all dogs are special. I don’t think you could understand unless you have your own canine family member too, and believe me, they really are part of the family and their personalities are lovable and unique! Pepsi is precious, I talk about her a lot and I can’t imagine life without her now.