Thursday, September 13, 2007

Group Paper (Shari, Phil, and I)

Pets can be a huge part of our lives, we wish for them, pick them out, train them, and care for them. At first, this idea of longing for and loving an animal seems completely normal, but when you really think about it, what makes us care so much about an animal? Of course, our pets are cute and cuddly, but there has got to be a better reason to devote so much of our lives to our pets.
We think that our pets are so important to us because they love us unconditionally. Its very appealing to know that your dog is never going to be mad at you or that you don’t have to convince your puppy to like you. Another reason why an animal companion is so desirable is because they rely on us completely. There are so many things that we have no control over and its nice to think that we can at least control our pets or know that they see us as authority figures. Especially when you are young, the idea of a pet is enticing because you have someone to take care of and boss around while everyone else is telling you what to do all the time. In a world where so many things are changing and uncertain, our pets provide stability and something that we can dictate.
We each have specific memories of longing for and loving pets, specifically dogs. After thinking about why we feel this way, we realized that we craved the unconditional love and simplicity that dogs provide. Though we each recollect different instances that make us think about our love for our pets, we all felt the same way about why our dogs are so important to us. These stories show how much we care about our dogs, the different stages we go through in loving them, and how important they are to us.

I always dreamed of having my own dog ever since I was a little girl. I wanted a dog that would sleep in a beautiful dog house in the backyard. I imagined a small fluffy dog with long white hair that I could brush and braid and wash as often as I wanted to. My dog would be fun, hyper, and always excited to play. She would have a pink leash with a rhinestone handle and a fuzzy pink color that jingled when she walked. Most importantly, I wanted a dog that I could take care of all by myself. When I turned four and still no dog showed up I decided to take matters into my own hands. Even though I had asked for my own dog at Christmas and my birthday it didn’t seem like my parents were ever going to do anything about it. I looked around the house and realized that I had a few things that were very similar to a dog. First of all I had lots of stuffed animals that certainly looked like the dog that I envisioned but I decided that those wouldn’t really work because they couldn’t walk or fetch things very well. Then I saw some squirrels in our backyard and thought that one of them might make a very good dog but after trying to catch one I decided that they wouldn’t really work either. Finally I looked at my baby brother, Timothy, and knew that I had found my dog. Timothy crawled around like a dog and even held things like balls or sticks in his mouth just like a dog. He was a much better choice than my stuffed animals because they couldn’t play with me and he was a lot easier to catch than the squirrels so I knew that he would work perfectly. After making my decision I knew that there was a lot of work to do. I have always been kind of crafty so I set right to work making all sorts of doggy supplies. I made a leash and collar for Timothy out of his bib and a piece of ribbon (don’t worry I didn’t choke him or anything, I just tied it onto his bib not his neck.) I collected some squeaky toys from around the house to play with and then got some sticks from the backyard so we could play fetch. My final project was a dog house that I made out of a cardboard box. I set the dog house out in the backyard and put a big pillow inside so that Timothy would be very comfy. All that was left to do was to tell Timothy about the new arrangements and pitch the idea to my parents. Timothy seemed to be very happy about being my new dog and played with the toys that I had collected for him, but, needless to say, my parents were not pleased with the situation. I tried to explain that this way we could all share Timothy and that if he slept out in the backyard then maybe he wouldn’t wake us up when he cried in the middle of the night. I showed them the toys and sticks I had gathered and even the dog house I had made but they weren’t very supportive. My parents explained to me that even though Timothy acted like a dog sometimes, he was a boy and wouldn’t be able to sleep outside or crawl forever. They told me that soon I would have a walking little brother to play with instead of a dog. They were right, but I still fervently wished for a dog. I had to wait a while but, finally, when I was six I got my own dog.

I was so excited to find out I was getting a dog. I had been waiting for so long and was happy that the moment was finally there. My mom had found a breeder in Mississippi who had brand new Shih-Tsu pupppies. The kind she wanted. So that afternoon we got in the car and took a two hour drive. When we arrived at the breeder, we got to choose from a big selection of puppies. She had all kinds from white dogs with black spots to black with white to brown with white to black with brown...... get the piture?! So we started looking around and came across a pretty all black puppy with curly fur. We tried to play with her, but she just laid there. We came to the conclusion that that wasn't the dog for us. We wanted a fun, upbeat, friendly dog that we could have fun with. So we kept looking. the breeder let out a few dogs at a time and told us to try to get one to come to us. She did that and we began whistling, clapping and doing other things to get the dogs attention. Immediately we were rushed by a gorgeous tan dog with a black face and white stomach. She was so friendly and hyper we just immediately fell in love with her. She jumped all over us, nibbled on our fingers, and tried to lick our faces. She was perfect. We paid a grip for her (totally worth it!) and brought her to the car. She sat in my lab the whole way home and played with me. She was so small I was afraid I would smush her!
When we got home, we let her explore the house at her own pace. She went into of our rooms and explored everything, She decided my room was her favorite and started sleeping under my bed, even though she had a cute little dog house. We eventually decided to name her Pebbles (from the Flinstones) and said if we were to get another, we would name him BamBam. we never did. Pebbles is a handful!

My dog immediately took to us, and expressed a love that was truly unconditional. The human condition is so messed up in general; I think it's safe to say that a great deal of "love" is artificial. People often act nice only for personal gain, but dogs seem to express a very authentic love towards their owners. We fed her, played with her, picked up after her, and gave her a place she could call home, and that was it; what more does a simplistic animal need in life than the fulfillment of these very basic desires ? We tried to teach her tricks, but to no avail. She was too hyper and stubborn, or perhaps she realized somehow in her tiny dog brain that she was being degraded to some sort of object of amusement.We eventually quit trying , and no longer did we seek entertainment through the frivolous obediance of a pet. Besides, how would humans feel if they were forced to perform tricks for somebody? We let our dog do as she pleased, as long as it brought no harm to any of us. Her sweet and innocent face somehow managed to charm and delight even the most cold-hearted people. It is humorous to point out the fact that the single greatest thrill in her life was her daily stroll around the neighborhood. It shows how little it takes to satisfy a dog, and how spoiled humans are for requiring such large doses of mass media and extravagant forms of entertainment to keep themselves happy. She was an integral part of the family, and her passing away left a large hole in our hearts for many weeks. We eventually got over it though. We smiled and knew that we had given her the best life a dog could ever have.

As you can see, we each remember how important our dogs are to us because of different things, but the reason we care about them is the same. In every stage we go through with our pets, whether its wanting them, bringing them home, or simply living with them, we love them because they are always there loving and adoring us.

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