Most of you must’ve been familiar with the new member in our family, Lucy Loo. I often post about her in my IG account, sometimes in other socmed sites although not so often to avoid my mom knowing about it. Yes, as a devout Moslem, she would be quite dissapointed (or annoyed?) with Lucy’s presence in our lives. Many people, my mom included, believe that as a Moslem, you shouldn’t have dog in your house. I don’t understand this concept though. After some traveling abroad, I am almost convinced that this concept is more cultural than religious. But I don’t like seeing my mom being upset for what I see as a small thing, so I decided to keep her in the dark about Lucy.
That’s quite unfortunate for her though because Lucy is such an adorable being. Totally opposite of her rather scary all-black look, she’s very, very sweet. Polite may not be the right word, but I’ve never met a dog with such a good and gentle personality. She doesn’t really drool (yaiks!), doesn’t bark, doesn’t jump. She follows orders (most of the time), comfortable with strangers or new space, okay with vet or car trips. And lately she’s shown us her playful side, which is very cute. I have to admit that she’s much more than what we expected. I did ponder a lot about adopting a dog because it could be handful. Do we really want to have such a big responsibility? Well, it turned out that adopting Lucy is one of the best life decisions we ever made! Here are a few personal reason why it is so.
- Lucy taught me to stop and smell the flowers
Not literally, though she literally does it. One of the repeated advices that we heard from our adoption consultant and trainer is that we need to walk her often because she need her exercise, but more importantly, it’s a good way to build trust and bond with the dog. Walking her in the first 3 months was a difficult task. She used to be a street dog, once a guard dog as well, so her radar is very sharp. We suspect she took on the pack-leader role in her previous ‘life’ and that’s what she did to us, so it was a struggle. Every. Single. Walk.
Now the walk is a lot more relaxed activity so I often find myself spacing out. When she stops, I also take my time to stop my spacing out and observe my surroundings. I just realized lately that because of walking with Lucy, observing is coming back as a habit. I used to love observing people and my surrounding. Somewhere along the way I just stopped doing that. I think it happens when I started working. Life was quite fast-paced that there was no time to ponder and look around, wonder what other people are doing or thinking at the exact moment. That was also the time when I sort of lose my creative thinking. Now that it’s coming back, I totally support the idea that taking time off has a direct corelation to an improved ability to do creative thinking. I can’t say how many ideas, decisions or resolutions popping up while observing people or nature. So now I’m almost certain that when life seems to be overwhelming, what I need to do is to take a short walk, and like Lucy, stop and smell the flower.
2. Lucy taught me to be more patient
I know that having a pet is a lifetime responsibility. Of course. What I didn’t really expect is that it’s like having a 2-year old. Forever. We have to be constantly aware of where she is or what she’s doing, just because. There are times when we let our guard down and she does something we didn’t think she would. Like eating food from the table or kitchen sink, stealing her treat and finish the whole bag, or killing an innocent mouse right in front of us. At one time she seems to be obedient, at other times it seems like she has her own mind and decide not to listen to us. Maybe to some level, she does think like humans do. So nothing really shocking, they were all kind of expected. It’s just tiring sometimes. But like having a 2-year old, the joy outweighs the hassle, so we wouldn’t trade her for the world. I just have to remember to be more patient. This could be some sort of training before we become a real parent.
Lucy and her mischief
3. Lucy taught me that love is a blessing, sometimes giving it away is a lot easier than receiving it
Many stories that we heard, including from our adoption advisor, said that separation issue could be one of the major problem for an adopted dog. So it was natural that I was a bit nervous when we had to train her to be alone at home. In reality, she just looked at me with a Meh expression and went back to sleep. 5 minutes away. 10 minutes. 2 hours. 8 hours. I felt like I had more problem leaving her. Perhaps because she’s so used to taking care of herself, she didn’t quite follow us everywhere, didn’t really ask for attention, didn’t really show any interest to play. So mellow that we were concerned if she’s okay. Almost a year in, we still think that she does have a mellow and independent personality. However, she starts to extend her paw, intentionally touching us for some attention. She starts to sleep or hang around somewhere near us. She starts to come to us at times, asking us to pet her. She starts to sleep on our hand or leg. We think that all of those are her ways to ask for some love and connection from us. She’s still quite jumpy when we touch her unexpectedly, but she seems more comfortable in our companies. A lot of times when I look at her, this thought comes across: if it’s that hard for a dog to ask for (and receive) love, how hard it must be for a child who went through adoption to do so. Hence, I’m counting my blessings everyday, for I have an abundance of unconditional love from my parents.
Observing our lives in the past year, I suppose her biggest impact is that we’re now able to achieve that 10k steps a day as recommended by the health professionals. All three of us are still slightly plumpy -borrowing her vet’s expression-, so we may have to add a few thousand extra steps on a daily basis, but it’s quite an improvement within a year. Our mental health is clearly improving a lot. Lucy is a big responsibility, but she brings so much joy to our lives, I don’t think I can ever go back to a life without a dog. In any case, I am so looking forward to enjoying more years with Lucy.