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Gizmo T. Pug turns five-years-old today. It seems like just yesterday he was a puppy, running around like a crazy person, growling and begging to lick someone or something, just going spastic.

Oh, that was yesterday. Because he hasn’t changed. Though his chin is graying and his teeth are only growing more gross, he’s almost the same dog now as when we first met him: a rambunctious son of a bitch.

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Brief history: Gizmo T. Pug was bequeathed to Hailey and I in the summer of 2009 by my parents. We were both very excited. However, I have to admit, a few weeks later, I sort of hated him. I hated the extra responsibility. “What? He has to go out more than zero times a day!? What? He has to eat? What? He has to take baths?”

I turned into a four-year-old.

But I outgrew that thanks to some tough love from Hailey and realizing I needed to act like an adult. And it’s been great ever since. I hope he never finds out I hated him at one point. It’d be tragic.

They say that dogs are man’s best friends. And I agree with that because Gizmo is sort of an asshole, which is what I need the most when I’m feeling down or upset. There have been times where I’ve just broken down, hating myself, doubting everything, wanting to give up, sell my camera equipment, all that crap. I’ll be alone in the apartment, crying, curled into a ball.

Then I’ll look up and see Gizmo. He’s staring at me. His ears are pinned back, a physical sign he knows there is trouble or something is up. I need him. I need him to curl in a ball next to me and just let me hold him. I call for him.

He doesn’t move.

“Gizmo, please. Come on!”

He doesn’t move.

“GIZMO!”

He runs, grabs his squirrel, and drops in near my face.

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I’m not lying. This happens every time I get upset and get in this mood. He grabs that stupid squirrel and tries to get me to throw it so he can grab it, sling it around, then bring it back to do again.

And that’s why he’s the perfect dog for me. He doesn’t let me wallow in my misery. In fact, he does everything he can to get me out of it. Sure, it’d be nice if he’d just calm down and let me hold him, but he knows that won’t help. So he drops his gross, smelly squirrel by me and gets me out of my funk.

This is anthropomorphism at its finest, I’m aware. But I truly believe it as well.

Dogs are the best. I only hope they know, somehow, what they mean to their owners.

Happy birthday, Gizmo.

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