I love dogs. I believe dogs are the most loyal, loving, and happy creatures to walk the Earth. If people could be only as half as nice as dogs, this world would be a much better place. Dogs aren’t two-faced, they won’t pretend to like you and then stab you in your back. They love unconditionally. People can lie, but dogs can’t. They don’t hide their feelings. They just love and stay content. Dogs want to dig, chase squirrels, and eat a lot of food. They also just want to have fun, run around, sleep in the sun, and make others happy.
I love my dog, he’s one of my best friends. He’s a Shetland Sheepdog named Toby. I got him as a 3 month old puppy in May 2008, and has been by my side ever since. We’ve gone to the park countless times to play fetch and for him to run around. We’ve cuddled together during thunderstorms and lonely days. Toby loves to be scratched and pet, so sometimes I just sit on the floor beside him until he’s satisfied. He used go on long walks with my grandfather and then be fed apple slices. He knows words in English and Punjabi. He can sit, stay, come, fetch, paw, high five, lie down, and speak. When he was younger we’d have a lot of fun playing hide-and-seek. He’s a fluff-ball of pure love that sheds a ton.
The first time we left Toby alone in the house was when he was around 7 months old. It was only for a couple of hours, but out of loneliness and petty revenge he chewed up a lot of the carpet. Because of him, we have hardwood floors in the house now. The first time we took him to the vet, he didn’t want to even look at the other dogs in the waiting room. Toby hid in between my legs until a cat came up to him. I don’t understand why, but he befriended that cat, yet still refused to even sniff another dog’s butt that day.
Two years ago, he went blind. I cried so much. He was lethargic for weeks. Toby would just lie down on the floor unwilling to go on walks or do tricks for treats. It’s a genetic condition common in Shelties. I didn’t know if he’d return to the happy-go-lucky pup he used to be. I would sit with him for hours just talking to him to make sure he knew we were still here and we still loved him no matter what.
Regardless of the unfortunate circumstances, Toby was able overcome this adversity. In a month or so he was back to enjoying walks. Eventually he learned the layout of the furniture and stopped hitting his head on walls and couches. Soon he learned when we call out ‘step’ it means to watch out for uneven ground. He’s incredibly smart. Two years later, Toby doesn’t even act like he’s blind anymore. Now, he chases squirrels in the backyard and barks at birds. He still loves to go on walks and to the park. He’s a fluffy and funny senior and will do anything for a cookie. He’s my handsome little boy and I love him so much.
I wrote this poem thinking about him growing up. During the days when I was in high school, he’d be home by himself sometimes if my grandparents went out too. I wondered what he thought. He would wait by the door around 4:30 because he knew that’s when my parents came home from work. My brother and I would return a little later. So, I wrote this poem. It’s not much, but it’s always fun to try to express my thoughts through words and art.
My dog asked me why he didn’t grow up to be as tall as me.
Why he didn’t lose all his fur.
Or why he still had a tail.
He told me he didn’t fit in.
Why can’t I eat at the table? He requested.
He wondered many things and asked many questions.
Why do I drink water out of a bowl?
When will I learn to open doors?
Why do you not bark like I do?
I am no longer a puppy, he told me.
So, why am I so different? I don’t belong.
Let me sleep in your bed. I am lonely.
No one else in the family looks like me.
I’m scared. Why am I the odd one out?
When will I be as brave as you?
Please, don’t leave me alone anymore, he pleaded.
I am going mad with these thoughts.
I wait all day for your to return.
Please don’t lock the door. Please don’t lock the gates.
When will I be allowed to leave as freely?
I just want to be with you. I’ll stay by your side.
Please tell me, he cried.