My Pets

May 22, 2008
By Eric Ciura, Hoffman Estates, IL

In a perfect society, everyone would be happy all of the time, and there would be no times of sadness, regret, or negativity. However, this is not how our society functions. Every once in a while, times are bad, and I could use someone to bring my spirits up, and allow me to be able to forget past events. Luckily for me, I have two brothers eager to bring up my spirits every single day when I walk through the front door of my house. Anxiously waiting for my arrival are Halo and Roy, my two favorite dogs in the world.
However, Halo and Roy have not been the only pets that I have ever had, as my family had owned one other dog previously.

When I was a young child, my first pet was a large dog named Harry. Harry had been part of my family for a long period of time before my birth, as he had been my mom’s pet. Harry appeared as if he was a vicious dinosaur, as he was larger than me for the majority of the time while he was my pet. Harry had thick brown fur and appeared similar to all other golden retrievers. Despite Harry being one of the gentlest dogs I have ever met, my jaws often trembled when I saw Harry for the majority of my life. My fear of my dog probably existed due to the fact that he was larger than I was. In addition, my dog and I shared an experience while I was younger where my fear of him tripled in a single moment.

When I was a young child, probably only a few months old, I had been enjoying a chilly fall day outside in my yard. While I was sitting on top of the picnic table in my car seat, my parents enjoyed finishing the fun task of raking leaves. I had been wearing my pram suit at the time. A pram suit looks like a one piece winter coat, and the outside is fuzzy, so it appears similar to a dog toy. Suddenly, I saw a large animal running toward me as fast as it possibly could. As my dog came closer and closer towards the picnic table which I was sitting on top of, he continued to pick up speed and looked straight into my eyes. Seeing two large black holes stare into my eyes, I became afraid, and before I could even think another thought, I found myself flipping quickly through the air, and then landing abruptly on the lawn.

As a result of being knocked off the picnic table by my dog, my fear of Harry vastly increased. In addition to increasing my fear of Harry, the incident began my period of dislike of my dog and fear of all dogs. As a look back, I see that it was dumb not to like a dog, and that Harry was a gentle soul who meant no harm whatsoever, but Harry did do many things that made me dislike him. Often throughout the day, Harry stole my favorite toys, and ran around the house with them. I understand that Harry was just playing and having fun, but as a four-year-old kid, I became angry to have to stop playing in order to wait for my mom to gather my toy back. In addition, Harry often ate many of the Oreos which we had in the house. I know dogs are not supposed to consume chocolate, but Harry loved them. However, as Harry ate more Oreos, there were less Oreos for me to eat. Despite the things Harry did to cause me to dislike him, I was sad to see him be put to sleep when I was seven.

After my first dog was no longer a part of my family, it was nice to not have to worry about the responsibilities of taking care of an animal, but it often felt like twenty percent of our family was missing. Three years after Harry was put to rest, I was again able to experience the joy of arriving at a home with a dog to great me at the door.

While I was in fifth grade, my family and I went to a Chicago Wolves hockey game with my Boy Scout pack. In addition to having a “Boy Scout Night”, the Chicago Wolves also had “Adopt a Pet” night during the same game. This event was sponsored by the Chicago Animal Shelter. The shelter had brought many dogs and puppies to the arena in an attempt to find homes for all of the nice dogs. As we arrived at the stadium, we walked into the entrance where all of the dogs were stationed. At this point in my life, I no longer feared dogs, but grew to love them, so I was excited to see all of the dogs. I enjoyed playing with all of the dogs from the shelter, but one of the dogs caught my eye. In one of the corners, I spotted a small brown dog who joyfully greeted every person he saw with his tail quickly moving back and forth. Instantly, I knew that this was the dog for me, as no other dog I had met was as friendly or as playful as he was. His name was Halo, and he was around a year old. Despite not having talked previously about getting another dog on that night, our family had decided that sometime in the future we would be getting another dog. However, we did not realize that we would purchase a dog so soon, or that we would be bringing home a dog from a hockey game. After deciding that Halo was the perfect dog for me, I desperately persuaded my parents to adopt him, as I feared that many other people would desire a dog as friendly as Halo. With the help of my persuasive arguing skills, I was able to convince my parents to adopt Halo. After we had finished filling out the paperwork, we made our way to our seats in the upper deck by my friends. When I first told my friends that I had just got a dog, they thought I had meant that I just purchased a hot dog. However, I had just gotten a new pet, which is much better than buying a hot dog. When the game was over, my family and I walked back to our car happy that the Chicago Wolves had won, and we were to be walking with our new dog.

Despite being a friendly and playful dog, Halo took a little bit of time to adjust to living in our house instead of at the shelter. For the first three days at our house, Halo did not make a single sound. We had thought that we had bought a quiet dog, but the fourth day came. On the fourth day, Halo barked for about five hours straight. Throughout that period, my ears felt as if they were standing in the front row at a rock concert with no breaks in between sounds. After this day, our family had a pretty good idea on why Halo may have resided at the shelter. Despite his barking problem, there is not another bad thing that I could say about my dog. Halo is definitely the friendliest and nicest creature I have ever met. Whenever he meets another person or dog, Halo greets him or her with his tale wagging and eager to give him or her as many kisses as they desire. In addition to being friendly, Halo is one of the most obedient dogs I have ever met. After attending obedience school, Halo was able to sit and stay no matter what his location. In addition, Halo always comes into the house when called, and he stops bothering guests when I tell him not to. Since Halo loved every dog he met, I thought that Halo would be much happier if he had a friend. This idea of mine led my family to adopting another dog.

About two years after we had adopted Halo, my family and I went back to another Chicago Wolves hockey game. To our surprise, the game we went to also was “Adopt a Pet Night”. Before attending the game, we had not discussed adopting another dog so Halo could have a friend. However, I once again spotted another dog that I felt we could not pass up. This dog was white, a little bigger than Halo, and his name was Roy. Despite my desire to have Roy as a pet, my family felt that Halo would not want a friend, as he had the entire house to himself. As a result of this objection, we were not able to adopt Roy after first viewing him. As my family and I sat in our seats viewing the game, I continued to discuss with my parents the possibility of adopting a friend for Halo. I felt that Roy would be a good friend, and that they would get along well. However, my parents still felt that adopting Roy would not be best for Halo. During a timeout about twenty minutes later, people from the shelter had brought one of the dogs onto the ice. Suddenly, I realized that this dog was Roy. As I saw Roy walking across the ice, while his picture appeared on the television, I once again tried to convince my parents to adopt Roy. This time, they agreed, and my family once again was able to walk home from a hockey game with a dog.

As Roy began to become a member of our family, we realized that Roy acted pretty much the opposite of Halo. Besides having white fur instead of brown fur, Roy hates other dogs, and he rarely listens to any word I say. However, Halo and Roy both love all humans. Opposite of what I had hoped, Roy was not the friend for Halo I had hoped he would be. Roy was the bully while Halo was the tiny and scared freshman. Since Roy has much larger muscles than Halo, he often bullied him around the house, attacking Halo and not letting him jump onto the bed. In addition, Halo was afraid to leave our deck and walk into the yard while Roy roamed the area. However, Roy is now beginning to treat Halo much better, as fights rarely occur, and both dogs often run around the yard with a single goal in mind: to catch the rabbit. Despite the initial disobedience and fighting, I believe that Roy will continue to become a better dog.

Throughout their lives, my three dogs have taught me many things. First my dogs have taught me that dogs are the best to talk to when times are bad. Dogs are great listeners, and they will always love you no matter what you do. Also, adopting Roy has taught me that if something is not broke, do not fix it. Halo was perfectly happy living in our house by himself, and I feel that he always wishes that he was still living without Roy. In addition, my dogs have taught me to be happier more often. Throughout my life, I have never seen one of my three dogs sad while they were home. Everyday, they have cheerfully greeted me, lifting up my spirits and showing me that life is too short to be sad about the past. Finally, Halo and Roy have showed me that dogs living in the shelter are not bad dogs at all, as all they want is a home and people to care for them. I hope that many people choose to adopt pets in the future because there are many animals that need a home. I know that I will never again consider buying another pet from any place else other than a shelter.

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