Growing up I had a few pets. I went through a few goldfish and we had a few birds come and go. I've always liked animals, even the blue tongue lizard that used to live under the stairs out the front of our house. I always wanted a dog though. I'd visit relatives or friends and the first thing I'd do is go say hi to their dog. I'd be at the park near home and people would walk their dogs and I'd go up and pet them. Even the ones that would nip at my feet. I would annoy my mother for us to get a dog but she would just say no, until the day she said we were going to see a breeder to pick up a Jack Russell puppy. Mind you by this stage, I was 20 and about to move out of the house, so it wasn't exactly for me. It was more of something to keep my mother company now her two children were moving out. Still though, I wanted to come and just see the puppies. We were looking at the litter and my mother was talking to the breeder. I was just playing with the dogs. I was holding a boy, actually I was holding 3 but one boy I thought we should get, but my mother was holding a little girl puppy and we decided to get her. I held her while we drove home (my aunt was with us and I think she wanted a turn at holding her also but I wouldn't give her up) and although she was my mothers, she was really mine. We called her Annie.
The nights were hard for the first week or so. She would cry and whimper because she was used to having her family around and now she had a couple of strange people. It wasn't hard in an annoying sense, more hard in that I didn't want her to feel that way and wanted her to be comfortable. We had a bed for her in the laundry so I'd lay in there on the cold tiles with her until she'd fall asleep, but she'd wake up during the night and cry so either my mother or I would bring her into one of our rooms. She eventually got comfortable though and would sleep through the night. She was tiny and each morning I'd wake up and she would be sitting beside my bed waiting for me to get up. Then she'd follow me down the hallway and I'd go down the stairs but she wouldn't be following me anymore. I'd look back at the stairs and she'd be at the top of the stairs looking at me like I'd just abandoned her because she was too small to get down the stairs. So I'd go back and lift her down the couple of stairs and we'd both keep walking to the kitchen. There were a couple of stairs up to the kitchen so again, she'd be looking at me with a "why are you leaving me?" look and I'd lift her up the stairs and we'd both have breakfast. This would happen everyday and she'd grow and look at the stairs and try to work up the courage to give it a try but then she wasn't ready so I would lift her down and up the kitchen stairs. Then the day came when she made it down one stair and she looked at me wagging her tail, but wanted me to lift her down the next stairs. Eventually though, she conquered the stairs both up and down. The next challenge was jumping on my bed. First she'd get tall enough to put her front paws up on the side of the mattress. So instead of waiting me to wake up, she'd kick the mattress to wake me up. That's when things started to happen in her time rather than mine. Then eventually she could jump up on the bed, so she'd lay on my chest looking at my face and shove her nose in my face as soon as I started opening my eyes. No snooze button on that alarm clock.
I'd teach her things and let her get away with a lot but I would also keep her under control. She would be bad and would think she was the leader but I would keep her in check. She'd be bad and try to eat her food under my bed and snap at me when I'd try to grab her food to get her back to her bowl. She knew to not bite hard though and if she thought she was too hard, she'd snap out of defensive mode and lick my hand to apologise. She'd bark at big dogs because she knew I'd always protect her, but if they barked back, she hide behind me. So I'd pick her up to take her away and she'd start barking at the dog again. Like she didn't have to worry because I was holding her. So I'd put her down on the ground again and she'd stop barking and try to get me to hold her again and look at me like she was thinking "No, what are you doing? That dog will kill me. Protect me again". Annie was a little dog that thought she was invincible. But she wouldn't abuse it. She knew I wouldn't let anything happen to her but she also knew that she couldn't push it. She liked people and liked other dogs if they were relaxed dogs and didn't get too close to me.
I've never really liked or wanted children. I don't hate kids, I just don't want any. I don't know what to do with them or how to interact with them. I like people that I can talk to and they respond in ways that I understand. And that is how I would talk to children of all ages. I would talk to it like I would talk to anyone else and get jibberish back and not know what to do. Also they stare at me and they're not mine for me to tell them to stop and go away. They're not doing anything wrong but who sits directly opposite some strange guy on the train and just stares at the guy? That said, Annie is the closest thing I would consider to be my child. I realised I loved her, taught things to her, protected her in ways that parents would liken that to how they raised their child. The difference to me is, Annie was more loyal, we understood each other and she was consistent. Children grow and change and would probably think I'm lame or what I'm doing is not for their benefit but to not let them have fun or whatever. And if it was my child, it would be an absolute bastard in a multitude of layers. Annie however, was just a consistently pure joy for me. It didn't matter how I felt or how bad a day I had. I would just go visit Annie at my mothers place and I'd feel happy again. It was like she would know when I was feeling down also. She'd just come up and curl up next to me and just look at me like she was asking if I was ok.
I could tell hundreds of stories about my Annie. Little stories like her sitting at the window with her head around the curtains waiting for me to get home. Or how she would lay on my pillow when I'd get up during the night to go to the bathroom and not move when I came back. How her ears were silky soft and when she was young, she looked like she had black eyeliner. However, like so many other things that have brought me joy, it had to end. July 1st, 2014 I stopped smiling. We had to put her down because she had tumors throughout her body and unfortunately I couldn't protect her from those. Since then, I don't think I've smiled out of pure happiness. Sure I've smiled, but it's a smile like when you hear a funny joke or you're doing something fun. I haven't smiled simply because I'm happy. I'm just sitting on the couch, watching tv and Annie is curled up on the couch with me. Just happy.......