I have been laughed at, patronized, and pitied by non pet-people. I may have been irritated, frustrated, or disgusted but now I just feel sorry for them. Non Pet-Peeps don’t understand Pet-Peeps and vice-versa. It is not until that unexpected and unexplainable connection is made between a person and their pet that one can finally validate the bond. Non Pet-Peeps just have not met the right pet yet! They have not experienced Pet-Power.
My own initiation to Pet-Power came after graduating from university. I had always liked animals and much preferred them, even in my play toys. We had a Collie named Maggie, who I really don’t remember. I had my first horse as a thirteen-year-old young girl. We had almost ten great years together. But still, it took that special pet to help me finally experience Pet-Power.
Moving to Detroit churned up a bit of anxiety. I was concerned for my safety. Thus, my solution… get a dog. I was directed to a local vet that in turn gave me a phone number for a free 5 1/2 month old female husky. My best friend, Heidi, and I jumped into my little maroon Civic 4-door. With Heidi’s navigational help, we arrived at our destination.
The place facing us was a small aluminum trailer in sore need of repair. Old stuff was strewn everywhere. As Heidi and I stepped tentatively from the car, the front door opened to reveal a woman in her forties, dressed in odd colored sweats, smoking a cigarette. She leaned out the door and squinted at us.
“You here for a dog?” she asked with a hint of suspicion.
“Oh, yeah….”, I started.
“Well, come on then.”
I guess we passed the test and were motioned to follow her around to the back of the trailer. Stepping gingerly, we followed the thin, scraggly figure. A big, hairy, brown and black animal with huge golden eyes, whined and jumped up, straining against her chain.
“That’s Nikki.” The woman pointed to the beast. “She’s German Shepherd and something.”
“Australian Shepherd, I think.” A man had appeared.
“Whatever,” snapped our hostess. “We also have a bunch of puppies.”
Not wanting to be hasty or rude, I followed the lady a little farther on with Heidi on my heels. We came upon two scraggly female mutts chained up to their respective tiny doghouses, with a swarm of puppies crawling around and over them. I fleetingly wondered if any puppies wandered away without the safety of their chained up mothers…I had to banish the bothersome thought. The puppies were cute, but my attention was diverted by the lonesome wail of the hairy beast we had first encountered. It was my undoing. The poor thing wanted attention so badly…
“I want Nikki,” I told the couple. “I promise to give her a good home and will leave my address and phone number so you can check on her.”
The woman smirked at my last comment but the man smiled and nodded. I realized upon coming close, that there was no collar and that the chain was clamped tight around the animal’s neck. I felt anger and resolve.
“Wait just a sec.” The man left and reappeared with pliers.
Once the chain was forced free, Nikki went into motion. She took off like a shot, running for her life. I followed Heidi back to the Honda and opened the back door. To everyone’s amazement, the huge ball of fur barreled into the opening, flipped herself around in the back seat facing me and planted herself firmly against the maroon upholstery. She laid down with her chin on her paws, looking up at me. Her eyes seemed to plead, “Please take me with you.”
For fourteen years and at least ten home moves, Nikki and I shared our lives. I never felt alone with my big wolf-look-a-like protector and friend. She was a big lovable companion and a delightful reason to go home each night. Although she looked fierce with her black face and golden eyes, Nikki was actually a big baby who loved to cuddle in your lap. I only saw her actually “go nuts” on one occasion. While having the gates wide open and Nikki tied off to the side so she would stay around while I packed up the moving truck, an unknown man started to walk up behind me. Nikki went berserk. The man backed off even though my big protector could not have reached him.
Nikki taught Pet-Power to me. She also taught me about unconditional love and acceptance. That dog gave more to me than I could have ever given to her. I have questioned who saved whom. She will always have a very special place in my heart and because of her, I became a smitten rescue dog person and have rescued dogs ever since.
Aisha is a hard-driving, no-nonsense businesswoman who I know personally and have worked with professionally. A bit of a neat-freak and extremely well organized, she has a place and system for everything. I know she thought me a bit of a sentimental flake when I’d get mushy about my dogs or if I made comment about a passing puppy. She was a good sport and tolerated it, but I know deep down she was thinking, “OK, whatever..That’s just Janus.”
I knew that Aisha had a big black Lab-mix growing up so I was a bit bewildered at her lack of desire about dogs, but chalked it up to her Non Pet-Peep Persona. So imagine my surprise and delight when a tiny little black Lab captured her heart and transformed this tough Non Pet-Peep into a card carrying Pet Parent Freak! She even has brought in two more big dogs to make a total of three large Lab-Mixes (one being her old childhood dog, Lucky). Her perfect existence turned into a lovable mushy mess of love and mutts. She now stops to ‘oooh’ and ‘aaaw’ at every passing puppy and has to have Labrador calendars and pictures of her “girls” in the office. If Aisha had the room and funding, she would rescue as many dogs as possible. Pet-Power hit her hard!
Big D is another perfectionist; clean car, clean house to the point of OCD. He is a big gruff guy that scares most people until they get to know him. Imagine my horror when I helped him to adopt a puppy for his kids and the scared little animal promptly projected her last meal in his spotless leather backseat. From that day on, he put up with my dogs to put up with me, but never touched one of them on purpose. He tolerated my addiction and even played with them in his own way. He and Nikki would chase each other around the house. Big D even went through accompanying me to the emergency room to have to put down both Nikki and Rusty. I could tell his big heart broke but he still did not want a dog of his own. That was all my silliness.
Well, nothing twists a Daddy like his youngest child and when Kalli wanted a Pomeranian puppy, he had to give in. Big D accompanied his daughter to a wonderful breeder couple that had three little puff balls from a champion bloodline. Kalli picked the middle puppy; not too shy but not too aggressive. For Kalli, she now had a cute little accessory to show off. For Big D, something else happened. The little Pomeranian, Jack, plopped his little rump down in front of the big man’s recliner and yipped at him. He continued to yip until the astonished Big D bent way down to pick up the demanding little puppy. Jack immediately licked the big guy and cuddled into his arms to drop off to sleep. Big D looked rather helpless and distressed for a minute or two but relaxed and smiled as the little puff of fur settled into a perfect slumber. Jack’s tiny puppy sides lifted and fell against his big human pillow. D melted into mush, his eyes glistened with love and awe as Jack burrowed his way into the big man’s heart.
Although no one would have expected it, when Big D and Kalli separated households, Jack went with Big D.. He is more than his little buddy though. He is the one and only “thing” able to wake Big D up with a smile and chuckle and he is the one sure-fire medicine that makes the big man feel better through his battles. Talk about successful therapy! Jack saw his big Daddy through the worst of it. Pet-Power strikes again!
So the next time you meet a Non Pet-Peep, do not despair. They just haven’t met the right Pet yet!