The first time I saw him he was a two-pound ball of black fur shaking uncontrollably in a corner. He couldn’t walk very well. Two steps, sit, two steps, sit. His hind legs had not developed properly or fully—I am not sure which.
He was the runt in a litter of four puppies born under a bed of a neglected, malnourished one-year old mother. Weeks later when I saw him, all the puppies and the mother were in the home of a wonderful, kind, compassionate woman who fostered dogs. I do not know what happened to the original owner, but I truly hope they never have another animal in their home again.
The second I laid eyes on him I fell in love. My heart broke for this little fellow and I wanted to hold him, comfort him and help him find his way. My partner and I had recently found out we would never have children of our own. I am not sure how much this influenced my immediate need to protect and care for him and I don’t really care. What I know is that I picked him up, put him on my shoulder and began to rock, something I still do today.
He came home with us shortly afterward, along with his sister, a strong, willful pound of energy.
She helped me take care of him. He followed her lead and she barked at him when he was not doing what he was told.
I love them both unconditionally, but in different ways.
She is independent, he is not. He follows me everywhere. She does her own thing.
He sleeps in my arm like a teddy bear at night. She sleeps at the end of the bed.
She is the reason they came into our lives. As I walked by she stood on her hind legs, paws and ears up, big pleading eyes, barking small friendly barks.
Immediately I heard in my head, pick me, pick me! I did. I picked her up and she licked my face all over. When I put her down, she ran over to him, alerting me to the small trembling ball of fur in the corner. That was all it took; at that moment they became part of our family.
As I sit writing, a small tennis ball has been dropped at my feet. He loves to play ball. I throw the ball and he runs as fast as he can across the room with a little skip, adjusting his hind leg.
He is healthy but needs a little extra support. He can’t go up or down stairs and we have a doggie stroller for long walks.
We take care of one another.
I cuddle and rock him when he is feeling down, she still alerts me when he is doing something he shouldn’t, and he wakes me every day at 6am with doggie kisses.
His happy-go-lucky demeanour keeps me hopeful and reminds me the world can be a good place
He brightens our day every day. He makes dark dreary days joyful. He makes bright sunny days that much brighter. I cannot look at him without smiling.
He has his own smiley face. Tongue out, lightly panting. He twirls a lot because he cannot control his happiness.
I don’t want you to think he is perfect.
We have our dark moments—like the chewed baseboards and the area rug that went to the curb covered in pee—and there are the rare moments when his temper comes out.
In these moments he locks eyes with me, raises his leg and pees on the wall. I feel a mixture of pride and anger in these moments because I do think it is a smart move by a little guy with few moves at his disposal.
I cannot imagine my life without them.
They keep me on a schedule, force me to get outside and provide never- ending entertainment and joy. The day they came into my life my heart grew three sizes.
And that’s my story of how a two-pound puppy stole my heart, taught me unconditional love and made me a better, more kind and understanding, person.
His happy face and shy demeanour changed my life for the better, proving that love can be found in many places. It doesn’t need to be earth shattering or disney-like, it can be as simple as picking up a trembling puppy.
Stacey Jacobs has been a Sex Educator for almost 2 decades. For 13 of those years she worked as a Sexual Health Educator at Planned Parenthood. She teaches in the Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies Program at the University of Waterloo and when not educating, she enjoys reading, walking her dogs and eating good food. The life of a Sex Educator is usually not as interesting as people assume.