By Noelle Ashley, Contributor
I was in a time of my life when I felt ready to take on the responsibility of supporting another breathing being.
“Aw, look at those big brown eyes. She looks just like her mother,” everyone said as I cradled my new found love.
We had ventured to western Nebraska, out in the sticks to pick up my first ever Craigslist puppy. This is a story about my best friend, covered in fur.
I’ve always watched the dog films and cheesy television commercials with everyone gawking over the family dog.
“Ahh, shucks! The dog got into the shoe pile again,” says the generic fatherly figure on the boob tube.
I never really understood this crazy obsessed passion between man and dog. Growing up with cats had me at a level of happy I was okay with. Sure, I’d visit my girlfriends’ houses with their family dogs prancing around, begging for love and biscuits but what was it about these fur-babies that had everyone head over heels?
I imagined this love being similar to the bond between a mother and the baby she has been housing in her womb for the past nine months—but maybe a little less intense.
The day I saw my puppy perk up at me in the basement of a stranger’s house among her bundled brothers and sisters was that motherly feeling I had expected and so much more. It was almost like I had never discovered love until that moment we locked eyes. There was an unspoken bond between my soon-to-be fur-baby, Roxanne, and I. I had to have her.
Despite the countless feces scrubbings out of my carpet and midnight potty breaks, there was nothing that could stop me from loving this puppy. Being a first-time dog owner was quite the full-time job and I loved every minute of it.
I found myself transforming into a foolish dog owner. I started looking for breaks in conversation to bring up Roxanne even if the topic was hardly relevant and thumbing through countless photos of her to complete strangers (who usually couldn’t care less about the difference between what my dog looks like rolling on her back in comparison to her sitting stoically waiting for a treat). I even found myself losing Facebook and Instagram likes due to my new featured fur-model on both mediums.
I had finally obtained the fulfillment of what it’s like to own a domesticated animal with such immense personality. The feeling you receive from a friendly Friday night cuddle after a long week, the accomplishment when your dog learns to fetch or swim, the excitement you gain going home at the end of each day to the most ecstatic welcome home from your galloping, tail-wagging dog.
Sure, a significant other or family member can probably offer you with all of these feelings, but your dog lives for you and only you. Their world is surrounded by waiting for you to come home from work and play or cuddle, they live for nothing other than being privileged enough to go on a car ride to the bank with you.
Two years ago, I was the random person in line providing proud dog owners a courtesy smile when they thumbed through albums of their new pup. Now I’m the insane stranger embarrassingly bragging about how my nutty dog fetched a real squirrel for me last week and dropped it at my feet with the toothiest smile I’d ever seen. When I boil it down, I don’t mind: dogs truly are a man’s best friend.