Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Conversations I have with my dogs

I just read about a Taiwanese photographer who takes portraits of dogs. 

In an effort to spread awareness about animal care and responsible dog ownership, Tou Chih-kang photographs dogs from the animal shelter moments before they are put to sleep.

Perhaps the saddest part is that these dogs are usually victims of neglect, most of them abandoned by owners when the novelty of owning a dog wears off. Without adoptive families, these dogs stand no chance.

I ache when I read stories like this, and seeing the photographs do not help, either. 

My chihuahua Benzene, on days I feel he feels neglected, looks at me with his clear eyes as if asking me what wrong he had done to receive the torture of inattention. I melt. Same as when Misty, the cheeky chihuahua, wags her tail at me and finally comes to rest in my arms before she falls asleep, or when the labrador Fiona comes to greet me as I get home. I melt, every single time.

Misty the eager chihuahua
I cannot tell you how many tearful afternoons I’ve spent going through CARA’s Facebook and seeing all those poor, helpless dogs.

When I was a little girl, I wanted a dog and my father would not let me have one. I wanted a dog so much, I started dragging a stuffed animal around on a string and fed him doggie biscuits from cut out calling cards. I wanted a dog so much I paraded this stuffed dog on a string in front of my father hoping to heaven that he reconsider his earlier decision of not letting me have one.

He finally gave in after years of begging and hundreds of cut out calling cards in the shape of Scooby Snacks.

A few years, countless chewed up rubber slippers, tons of lysol, and sacks and sacks of dog food later, the family owns 8 dogs: 5 chihuahuas, 2 beagles and a lab. 

Happy beagles
Not only has my father said yes to dog ownership, but it seems he’s warmed up to the dogs as well. It was a rare and precious moment when my father let Mimi, one of the chihuahua puppies up on the couch with him as he was watching TV. My mother, on the other hand, needed no convincing. She loves the dogs, and the dogs love her. Some afternoons you hear her talking to the dogs as if they were her babies. My father usually jokes that she’s sweeter to the dogs. I now find my brother still staring expressionless at the computer, eyes fixed on the screen but this time with a chihuahua pup cuddled on his legs. Even Camille, my sister who gives no love to any living thing, had her snow queen facade melted. I catch her staring at doggie photos on her Ipad. She tells me that sometimes, while staying at her dorm in España, she remembers the dogs and how cute they are. She tells me that makes her want to go back home to Parañaque just so she could play with the dogs already. “Welcome to the club”, I said.

I now sit on my bed typing this while two chihuahuas nap away beside me. We live with 8 dogs, and I wish we could take in more. On days when this blog becomes too cold and impersonal to talk with, I spend time conversing with my dogs. They always listen, and all they want in exchange is a belly rub.


  1. I loved your post :) If only we can take more than 3 dogs in our small apartment - I'll have many dogs too :)

    1. A fellow dog lover! Thank you! We now have 9 dogs and they're all lovely. I think all dog lovers dream of taking in every dog they can care for. :)


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