The Joy of Having a Dog

My parents are both animal lovers, so we always had at least one dog while I was growing up, with each one leaving an indelible paw print on our hearts. In 2006, one of my friends (whom I have known since grade school) got a gorgeous pit bull puppy named Major. Major was the smartest, most loving and loyal dog I had ever met and made me fall in love with the American Pit Bull Terrier as a breed. I promised myself that when the time was right, I’d get myself my very own Major, and hopefully, my puppy would have his temperament too!

Fast-forward to March 2011, and I had just moved into my new house. A few days after helping me move in, my friend phoned me excitedly to ask what my puppy plan was, as Major had successfully been bred to a handpicked dam. He said that if I was ready for a new challenge, that I would get to have the pick of the litter! I answered with a resounding and instant YES, and the very next day I started getting ready for my new baby, puppy proofing everything, and counting down the 50+ days to their due date.

The unusually large litter arrived on 22 May 2011, a cold and exceptionally rainy Sunday, with my pup (my only request was that it be the one with Major’s exact marking, a tiny white patch on the chest), being the last of 11 puppies. As the proverbial runt, her chance of survival only seemed probable after the first two weeks, and surer after four. Having risen above those odds, I named my puppy, Phoenix.

All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed.

For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.

Charles M. Schulz

Phoenix has changed my life. We share an undeniable bond, and she knows my every mood as if they were her own. She is incredibly smart, funny, playful, silly, and she is the bravest dog I have ever known. Not only is she the female version of her sire, she is also my soulmate and my protector. Her love and consistent presence in my life has brought me absolute joy every day for the past 10 years.

Having a dog has taught me that material things are just that, things, and the happiness derived from it is only ever fleeting. I’ve learned that the present is really all we have and that lamenting the past or yearning for the future will only cause me to miss out on the now.

Above all, Phoenix has taught me to find the joy in every moment and to always strive to be the human she believes I am as then I am at my best. Dogs have known the secret to a good life all along… life is better with them at our side.