When I entered my teens I was sure there was something wrong with me, being a geeky kid with big glasses and a fat body, I knew people were not going to look at me the same way they did at other girls of my age. I was shy, awkward and tried too hard to fit in. So, when every high-on-hormones teen was getting a boyfriend or a girlfriend to spend their time with, I was either busy with a book or lying on the dirty ground surrounded by three to four stray dogs.
I was the girl who was always found squealing at the sight of a dog, any dog, rather than getting excited over what was the latest fad. I would pet any stray that i found without worrying about how dirty he might be or what diseases he might carry, I would just look at those eyes and would get fixated. I would gladly sit beside them, feed them off my hands and let them have their fun with me. I would stop my vehicle to pet a dog and to talk to the person walking it.
People often asked me the reason for this crazy love for dogs and not any other animal. The reason was quite simple.
I was a kid who wasn’t allowed to have a pet in the house because of the mess they create. My dad wouldn’t let me bring any stray inside the house for a simple reason that I might get too attached and it would hurt me when it would leave us. Well, not having one by my side everyday hurt anyway.
There were times when my hands craved to hold the soft, tiny and magical paws which people said have healing powers, to be able to cup his face in my hands as he licked my face, to come home to a wagging tail, to tell stories to people of how he threw up on my assignment and i had to make it all over again, to be able to look at him and smile like an insane person because of how full of love I was. To be able to watch him do nothing but lie with me and make you me as if the whole world was mine to conquer.
There were times when at night I would lie in my bed, alone, thinking about something bad that had happened that day and no one to just sit and share that silence with me. There were times when i would come home from college in a dire need of a hug and would find my room empty. There were times when people exhausted me and I needed some escape. There were weeks that went by without even smiling, but just the sight of one dog would brighten my day as the first ray of sunlight falling on the ocean, like the moonlight lighting up a dark alley.
These were time times that i needed those magical paws by my side to help me realize that there is still some good left in this world.
For a girl who hasn’t had the chance to own a dog or to fall in can’t-eat-can’t-breathe-around-him-can’t-stop-thinking-about-him love, the mere sight of one dog on the road or in the college campus would fill up with such inexplicable joy , joy that people have never been able to understand, joy that brought a huge smile on the face along with some tears to the eyes. Joy that would remain in her heart for days.
Now, I am a 22 year old and I still don’t own a dog. Coming home to no guy doesn’t hurt as much as coming home to no dog, trust me.But I’ve made my peace with the fact that I was not made to own just one dog, i was made to have as many dogs as my house can hold. I was made to fill my house with these rainbow pooping creatures who’ve made a very unhappy girl, ecstatic time and again.
And there will come a time when I will own the biggest dog-petting zoo, where kids like me who never got the chance to own a dog, will be able to spend hours with the dogs and their pups, playing, laughing and calling them all their own.
I will help in forgetting for a little while that this world is a broken place to live in, especially without a dog. And also, that nothing fixes a broken soul better than a dog. Or lots of dogs.