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And all I needed was a dog.

I come from a family of pet-lovers. My mom and her brother used to tell us stories about their dogs, and how much they loved each. If I am not mistaken, the Ilagans housed 13 dogs before. I just could not imagine how I would be able to move around our place if until today we still have the 13 mutts as pets.

In reality though, I am scared of dogs. Whenever we walk going to the church, I bite my tongue in the belief that a stray dog would not get near me. I am not so sure who told me that practice, but me and my sister used to do that all the time. Well, at least if there is a dog along the way. Too much exposure to Resident Evil I suppose. We don’t want to be infected with rabies now, do we?

The only way to get over your fear is to face fear itself. Call it courage, I gave in to what my dad wanted. One overseas call changed everything – he informed me that his cousin was selling a shih tzu puppy, and that he was going to buy it for us. Since puppies are just the cutest living creatures, I gave in and gladly informed the rest of the family about it. A few weeks later, a new member of the family was welcomed.

say hello to ratsky. he loves to take long walks in the church patio.

Ratsky was the darling of the crowd. He grew to be very sweet, and spoiled at the same time. Stubborn breed shih tzus are, Ratsky always wanted to be the center of attention. You never expect him to bark even if you play rough with him. He does things his way, and he does not want to be disturbed when sleeping. Ratsky always waited for me in going to bed, and he slept with me almost every night. I kinda miss him, since I was used to his good night kisses before dozing off.

Ratsky, though he is a dog, needed to have a partner for life as well. Perfect timing surprised me and my grandmother one lazy afternoon, when my cousin’s boyfriend then rang and asked if I was interested to buy a female shih tzu pup, for a very cheap price. Cheap indeed – my grandma accepted the bargain and bought the dog for only P2000. Apparently, the seller needed easy money to buy his kid’s school supplies and textbooks. So we said goodbye to the P2000 (well it was grandma who actually cashed out the money) and waved hello to a new addition to our growing family.

tanya's a toughie. she can wrestle with a labrador and find her way out of the fight easily.

I find the name “Tanya” enigmatic. But there is nothing enigmatic about this dog. In fact, I consider her as my worst enemy. She chewed the frame of my eyeglasses before, and I was using them for only two short months. I don’t think she’s a pure breed. With the kind of attitude she has, I would like to conclude that the spirit of a Jack Russell and a French Bulldog possess her fragile body. Ironic this is, Tanya with a fragile-looking body, but wait ’til you see her when she runs amok! 🙂

Eventually, Ratsky and Tanya had their own lot – Tara, Tala, Prince and Bonita. Tara was given to a family friend; Tala stayed with us at home and afterward was given to my relatives in Zambales; Prince was left with us also, and Bonita had a short-lived stay with my cousins – she somehow escaped and never came back.

Prince was a favorite, since he is the only male puppy, and he really took after his father. They have the same color, as all female pups sported their mom’s exact color as well. When Tanya gave birth, I made it clear with everyone in the house that the male baby is mine. I was not there in Quezon City the day Tanya labored and “pooped” the babies out.

call me a drama queen, but prince is just gone too soon. 😥

Prince was named after the Korean TV series, “The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince”. I was at the height of my Gong Yoo-madness then, that I even named the dog Prince despite my family’s strong objections. He was the naughtiest dog we ever laid eyes on – too hyper, always on the go, attention-seeker. Weird this may sound, but I am positive that Prince has ADHD. But I have never heard of animals being diagnosed with human personality disorders.

Despite Prince’s disturbing movements, he was very affectionate. He knows when someone is sick, or if someone needs some caring. Though I did not get to see him everyday, my home visits were made memorable thanks to Prince.

But he had to go. Maintaining four dogs in a not-so-big place is quite a hassle. So we handed over Prince to a family friend. Prince brought joy to his foster family, and we were just so glad that Prince was able to adjust right away.

the prince and his meal

Last Saturday, Prince died due to dehydration. The vet even said that his poo had blood in it. The news broke our hearts, as well as the hearts of his foster family. Call me a drama queen, but I think he was just gone too soon. The moment I saw the message from her foster mom, I felt as if there was a big lump in my throat which I could not swallow. Okay, cut the drama short, I cried. How could a strong, fit and active dog just die that quickly? I am not blaming his foster family, because I know they took care of him well. Then again, I cannot help but wonder how fast his passing was.

If you have watched the film Hatchiko with Richard Gere as the lead, you would probably understand how I felt and am still feeling right now. Losing a dog is like losing your most trusted and loyal friend. Science may never explain completely the relationship between man and his dog, because the bond is more of like a natural course that takes place once a man bonds easily with his pet.

Prince will be surely missed by us, and by his foster family too. I know that he is in a much happier place right now – where there is probably an unlimited supply of his favorite dog food, and where all the good times a dog could have roll.

There are life lessons which only a dog could teach us.

One of the best thing I have learned from my bebes?

Life is very short. Do not hold on to a grudge for so long.

There were times when I got pissed with Prince so much, to the point where I had to throw one of my slippers at him to chase him away. But after a few minutes, here comes Prince with the slipper I threw. He gave the slipper to me and even asked for a pat on the head. In return of the pat, he gave me a wet kiss on the cheek.

Love would always overshadow whatever anger you hold in your heart.

How I wish though it would be the same for us humans, to forgive right away, that is.

Significant or not, life is just a breath away. There is nothing wrong with being honest with our feelings.

“I may be upset, but hey, I still love you.”

Prince taught me that.

A dog taught me a life lesson.

Beat that. =)

journey well, prince. imma miss you! =)


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