Posted by: joha5 | May 14, 2010

Dogs: A Love Letter

Overall, I have an excellent quality of life.  In spite of being without full-time employment, in spite of not making much money or not being able to do everything I want to do because of financial restrictions, life for me is pretty good.  I have great health, great friends, I have a roof over my head, and I never want for much more in the evenings than a glass of wine and an episode of Glee.  However, there is one thing that I have identified that would drastically improve my quality of life and that thing is a dog. 

Can we keep her?!?!


My family had a dog named Jenny when we were growing up and this dog was the most perfect dog that you could ever imagine.  She was kind, manipulative, gentle, unstable, beautiful, and she was our’s.  We got her for Christmas in 1992 but didn’t actually pick her up until January 20th, 1993 which was coincidentally Bill Clinton’s Inauguration Day.  She was just a tiny puppy – a mutt that looked exactly like a half sized Black Lab – and I remember how thrilled she was to be coming home with us and how thrilled we were that we could give her a new home.  As we drove home admiring our new puppy she gently stood up at a traffic light and rested her head on my shoulder so I could stroke her.  It was love at first sight.  As I pet her, a still came over her and we shared a beautiful moment together until all of a sudden… 


She threw up on me. 

A hot congealing mixture of half digested dog food was now shellacked all over my shirt, arm, and neck and we hadn’t even had the damn animal for 15 minutes yet.  I should have known at that moment that this dog was going to be a handful but all I could think about was how much I loved her already. 

It didn’t get any better when we got home.  There was the peeing, the chewing, the biting, the mess, the smell, the barking.  She was a monster right from the start.  “She’ll get better as she gets older” we thought.  A year passed by and she had grown to her full size of about 45 lbs.  No change.  By year 2 she had learned two tricks – ‘Sit’ and ‘Go Jenny Go!’ (whereas we would yell ‘Go Jenny Go’ at her as loud as we could over and over again and she would get excited and sprint circles around the living and dining rooms until she passed out from exhaustion).  Before we knew it 3 years had gone by and we wondered whether this was going to be the way she was for life.  It wasn’t until she was about 5 or 6 when she began to settle down and accept that her role in the house was not to cause chaos and anarchy everywhere she went. 

Love at First Sight


Sure there were instances of unbridled mayhem but they became fun now instead of work.  I remember leaving to go to London for a semester while I was at college and my flight was due to leave in the evening.  A handful of friends decided to stop by intermittently throughout the day to say goodbye and that I’d see them in just four months.  Jenny, who always had an uncontrolable tail, would great these visitors at the door with fervor.  Just three hours before I was supposed to leave the doorbell rang.   Jenny didn’t hear it because she was in the basement taking a nap.  I answered the door and as soon as she heard the door and my friend’s voice she came bounding through the hallway to greet us with her tail flapping everywhere.  Only this time something was different – something was very wrong. 

What the hell?! 

I felt like I was being sprayed by something.  I look down and all I saw was red liquid on my arms and clothing.  Blood!  I looked up and blood was splattered all over the door, the walls, the hallway and – even worse – it was still going.  It took another couple of seconds to realize that the source of this was the end of my dog’s tail.  Somehow on her way from her bed to the door she had miraculously cut the end of her tail on something and – numb from the jubilation – wagged her tail with reckless abandon. 

“Get her!” I yelled as my sister and I tackled the unassuming animal who was obviously shocked at our behavior.  “Grab a towel or a sheet!”.  My sister ran and found an old bedsheet and we began to wrap that dog’s posterior like we were wrapping a wet plaster cast around somebody’s broken leg.  Once her behind was secure we took witness to the bloody mess in the hallway and had a passer-by seen it as well they would have surely called the police.  It was worse than any grizzly murder scene you may have watched in a movie.  I couldn’t believe the amount of blood that had come from the end of her tail but it was as if her tail had simply exploded when, in reality, it was just a tiny cut.  

“Get her to the vet!” my mom yelled in horror as she looked at what was left of her house.  “I can’t do it.  I’m going to London in a couple of hours” I said.  My sister, clearly resigned to her fate, put the leash on the dog with the bloody sheet around its ass and put it in the car.  Only one problem – Jenny’s favorite thing in the world were car rides.  As they walked towards the car and Jenny figured out she was going for a ride her rear really began shaking and the sheet to loosen quickly.  ‘Quick!  Go now!” yelled my mom as my sister loaded her in the car and drove off.  She had barely driven down the street before Jenny had released herself from her makeshift bandage.  It was all over.  She leaped in and out of the front seat with her tail wagging non-stop as she made a new and more mobile crime scene in the car.  Blood sprayed on the seats, smeared on the windows, and drenched my sister’s clothes.  One can only imagine the other motorists looking at the scene taking place in the car and wonder what exactly this girl was doing to this poor dog.  

Once they arrived at the veterinarian’s office – Jenny’s most hated place to go – she began to panic.  As they walked in the building Jenny braced herself on the slick tile floor and tried sprinting away only to slip and fall on the floor over and over again.  Out of fear – and possibly protest – she did the only thing she could.  She defecated all over the floor.  Urine and fecal matter went flying and the calmness of the waiting room was disrupted by a girl soaked in blood and a dog with an explosive tail.  

I managed to see Jenny just before I left to London for four months.  She had a large cast covering her tail and her head was enveloped by a large plastic cone which impeded her getting into the house because she couldn’t quite figure out what was stopping her.  I don’t think that I have ever seen a more hilarious or sorrowful sight as the one I saw that day. 

So after hearing just a couple of the 12-years-worth of the stories that I have, how is it possible that a dog can actually improve an individual’s quality of life you might ask?  The answer is simple.  Their loyalty, their endless love, their companionship, their demeanor, and their unwavering need to be with you are but a handful of potential answers.  A dog may be work and it may not always be easy but any relationship worth having is always worth the struggle.  Jenny (1992 – 2004) was worth every bit of that struggle and I wouldn’t even hesitate if somebody asked me to do it all over again.



  1. laughter and tears all at once as I read this…

  2. she’s gorgeous!

  3. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


    • Hi Christian! Thanks so much for posting on my blog and letting me know that you have been keeping up to date with it. Please feel free to stop by any time and to pass it along to anybody who you think may like it as well. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you reading. Thanks again, Christian, and have an amazing weekend!

  4. Wow, her fur is soooo black and shiny!!!!

    • Hey Delma! Thanks so much for reading my post! Isn’t she one of the cutest puppies in the history of mankind?! I can’t even take looking at it! Come back and comment on any of my stuff anytime you like!

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