[This series is a play on ‘writer’s block’.]
I met him for the first time a year ago when I came home for a short visit. Like most dogs, he was wary at first but I guess he figured out that I was family and returned to sucking his blanket while facing me. But when I went home late last year planning to stay for good, I got to know him more.
There’s an Arashi song, HERO, and I would play it to him. Of course he didn’t pay attention. He was a sweet dog, but really had no patience for humans’ weirdness even if he could be strange himself.
Some afternoons, I’d initiate a game, chasing him around the living room. Sometimes playing tug of war with his rope toy. There were times he’d be the one in the mood and would wave the rope in his mouth while facing me. He was a big dog, though still small for a Pitbull, but still heavy that whenever he’d throw his weight at me, I’d stagger back. I had scratches all over my arms and legs too because he refused to have his nails cut, unless he was taken to the vet. I had a sore butt for a week too after sliding on the bathroom floor while giving him a bath.
He was choosy with food. And whenever he liked something, he’d eat it until he gets tired of it (like beef steak). He loved sitting at the dining table while we ate. He also loved asking for food while we ate, using his puppy eyes. He developed a habit of sitting on the chair beside me while I worked. He would wait for his owner, my sister, facing the main door until she arrives. He hated our “outdoor dogs” and would bark at our “DWD” (dog with disability) through the window whenever he was in sight. But he was quite kind to our “indoor dogs”, the two pugs, who he would release from the kitchen. He would also bark at the cats traipsing on the slab roof of our front patio. Heck, he would even bark at the shadow of leaves.
He was curious about everything. He would get mad at strange things especially when they make a sound and you’re holding it, like a crying stuffed panda or the hairdryer; he’d jump and bark at it, as if warning you it’s dangerous. He liked to play cat-and-mouse even when there were no rats around (but he would always be convinced there are, and would hold vigil wherever he thinks they’re hiding). He loved sleeping on the sofa, my mother’s prayer chair, just about anywhere that humans sit. He would sleep on the bed of course beside my mother or me, whenever my sister was not home yet. He’d also get depressed whenever people would leave, and would hide under a chair and sleep.
He was very affectionate and his mere presence was very comforting even when he was just lying there on the sofa while I was across the room working. He was also a good companion providing me distraction and entertainment at a time that I needed to make difficult decisions in life. Now, he’s gone.
Who knew that 21 days ago when I said goodbye to him, that would be the last time I will see him? I couldn’t even bid him goodbye properly because he was pretending to be asleep.
The next time I go home, he won’t be there peeking through the glass door with his own special smile, his tongue hanging out from his big mouth. He was only two years old (around 24 for his breed), how could he be gone so soon.
He wasn’t our first dog. But like all of them, he would always have a special place in my heart.
He was my Hiro.
And I’m writing this very rare personal post because I need an outlet to cope with a loss of someone who couldn’t even talk, because if he could we would have known earlier on where he was hurting, and yet understood. Now I understand too why dogs are called man’s best friend.
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