My Furry Siblings

December 5, 2008
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My dad always says, “You better treat your brother and sister right, they’re part of this family.” Funnily enough, he is not referring to Josh and Casey, my real life brother and sister (although I am sure he means them as well), but rather my two dogs, Lucky and Clover. However, they might as well be my actual siblings, because like any close knit family, we hang out together, watch TV, play video games (well I do, anyway), and run around outside, laughing all the while. And, of course, we occasionally fight; Lucky just hates it when I roll around in bed, as the two cuts on my heel right now can attest to. But at the end of the day we love each other, and I would do anything for them.
We have had Lucky for almost as long as I can remember. He is a Bichon Frisé (a.k.a. curly lap dog) and about eight years old. I still remember the day we brought him home. I had spent three years begging, groaning, and pleading for a puppy. At the time I was about seven or eight years old, smiling from ear to ear at the very thought of finally having a dog and not being able to wait to play with him. When I saw Lucky, it seemed like a wonderful dream had come true. There he was sitting in a crate in the house of a trainer somewhere in Long Island. The only thing that mattered to me right then, right there, was the cute puppy, with curly white hair, floppy ears, huge brown eyes starting up at me while I stood on the old brown rug staring right back at him. On the ride home I didn’t know what to do, whether to hold him or let him be, whether to pet him or just sit there quietly. I do not quite remember what I did. I could barely contain my excitement and I recall the flash of breathless pleasure that came with the realization that sitting next to me was an ever-faithful companion and friend. Lucky excitedly looked around at every new person, place, and thing that sped by as we drove the long way back home. At four months old, he was going to a new home and family.
When we got home, he ran around our kitchen, both confused and curious now that he was in this strange place far from that crate on the brown rug. I wanted to hold and pet him, to scratch his ears and to let him know that he was safe with people who loved him but my parents held me back, telling me to give him time to get used to his new home. My brother and sister had the same desires but were retrained just as I was. So he roamed around the rust colored tiles, weaved between the green metal legs of the chairs, explored his new bed and sniffed the air. Eventually I could contain myself no longer. I gathered him up and rubbed his pink stomach while he licked my face and smiled, his long tongue flopping out between his teeth, one of them at a slight angle curving out of his mouth giving him the crooked smile that I would grow to love.
Lucky is, perhaps, a misunderstood dog. Commonly a dog is considered a “nice” dog if it quickly submits to its owner. Lucky does not particularly like submitting to anyone. I often tell my friends that Lucky runs the house and we are just his guests. Most nights he jumps up to my bed, sniffs around, digs at the sheets, and finally cuddles up next to me, letting out a deep breath and quickly falling to sleep. He runs around our backyard, his tongue flapping while blades of grass fly in all directions as he chases imaginary prey across the yard. Lucky can also be very “territorial”. Try to move his food bowl while he is eating or take away something he is chewing on and he will react, well, aggressively. And by aggressively, I mean trying to bite that hand, even if it is the hand that literally feeds him. He reacts in a similar manner if he is moved while sleeping or resting. This is rather annoying since I tend to roll in my sleep, and if my foot hits his back I wake up the next morning with a painful token of his annoyance.
Despite this quirk, I love him just as much as the day I first laid eyes upon him. Like my actual brother, Lucky receives my unconditional love and no amount of nips on my foot could ever change that.
Eventually my siblings and I asked for a second dog; we searched the web and finally found a Yorkshire Terrier that we named Clover (so now , together our dogs are “Lucky Clover”). Clover is a tiny dog, with smooth, straight black and brown hair and wide eyes. Her small button nose is always sniffing at something, and her sharp ears are always perked up, listening to someone or something at all times. When we first brought her home she fit in the palm of my hand and after about a year she is still small enough to fit in the crook of my arm. Her short legs are always running or jumping, pawing at her toys, nibbling at someone’s feet or the furniture, or licking anyone that comes within range of her tonuge. She will lick a person’s face or hands profusely given the chance, and all the while she has a grin on her face, eyes bright with excitement. Often I see her throwing her toys into the air, pawing and biting them as if they were some rabbit or bird she caught hunting. Whereas Lucky likes his peace and quiet during the night, she is always full of energy, eager to run and play until the sky is full of stars. As soon as we let her out of her playpen she is a black and brown streak flying down the halls, ripping up any paper that is lying around, and bothering Lucky to no end, jumping at his face, begging the resting dog to play. She is still a puppy and her constant energy is so contagious one cannot help but smile and play with her when she jumps up to the edge of the playpen, her front paws resting on the very top, panting and looking expectantly for a scratch behind the ears or the chance to show off how she can attack the tennis ball on a rope lying next to her bed.
Lucky and Clover are family, plain and simple. Lucky is a brother, and Clover a sister. They are a constant part of my life, like Josh and Casey; I always know Lucky can be found of the first step of the front steps with his head leaning on the metal rail, on the landing of the back steps, or sitting on the wooden chair in the kitchen, resting comfortably on the blue pillow. Clover is in her playpen, or on her leash attached to a kitchen cabinet, running around, ears perked up for the sound of someone approaching to,hopefully, pet and play with her. To not have them truly would be to lose a part of myself. I cannot imagine life without them. I have a human brother and sister, but Lucky and Clover are my other brother and sister, my furry siblings.

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