Thursday, June 21, 2012

Looking for love

The Chef debacle threw me into a tail spin. The very next morning after learning that he was engaged, I responded in the only reasonable way I knew: by going to the animal shelter and getting a dog. I missed my childhood dog Siesta more than ever. How I wished I was five-years-old again and could snuggle my face into her fur and cry. With her, it was easy to express my feelings. She always accepted the way things were and loved me no matter what.
Siesta was supposed to be a full bred Chihuahua when we bought her at a local pet shop but my parents speculated later that she was most likely a terrier mix. Whatever she was, that small grey dog with dark brown soulful eyes looked like she stepped in white paint then used the tips of her feet to brush streaks on her tail and chest.
When I first saw her, she was a puppy, weighing only a couple pounds, sitting all by herself in that pet shop window, she looked so lonely and sad until our eyes met and she squealed in delight. Siesta was the last in her litter to get a home, grey tufts of hair curling on top of her head and pointy ears that were nearly as big as her entire body. When I held her, I experienced for the first time the sweet aroma of puppy breath, a combination of baby powder mixed with dog chow and a hint of moist fresh air; how pure and angelic it was.
From the time we brought her home that night, Siesta became my confidant. She got her name because Siesta was the only Spanish word my father knew. The instant Siesta joined our family, I never wanted to go anywhere without her. When I wasn’t with her, I missed her fur’s nutty aroma and her tiny feet that smelled like corn chips. She was supposed to be the family pet but everyone knew Siesta was my dog. She slept with me. She followed me everywhere. She drank from my Betsy Wetsy doll’s baby bottle and ate doughnuts and bologna while sitting in a high chair. That dog would do anything for me.
This gray wire-haired, goofy-looking dog meant everything to me. I pushed her in a toy baby carriage, rode my bike with her in my backpack, and couldn’t fall asleep without the noisy hum of her snoring. I even knit her a hat and scarf for the winter, complete with holes for her pointy ears to wear when it was chilly outside.
It was Siesta who taught me about love and forgiveness. Because of my strong bond with that dog so early in life, I knew deep down that I always felt more comfortable with a canine by my side. But I hadn’t yet felt confident enough in my ability to take care of a dog on my own. Yet faced with this devastating breakup of a relationship that really never was, the big black hole expanded in my heart practically bursting in pain. The only reasonable thing I could think of to do was to find love.

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