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I had always loved dogs. Right from the start. I remember in first grade, the teacher, Mrs. Williams it was, asking us all what our favorite animal was. It didn't take much time for my juvenile mind to think it over. Of course it was the dog. What else?

I never knew where it came from; this sense of love for these creatures. I had never had much contact with them. But as long as I remember, there was something so fresh and intriguing about the essence of the word "dog".

When I was about 8 or 9, I remember my favorite tv channel was Animal Planet. While every other young kid on the block was watching Barbie Magic Princess, I was curled up on the couch watching Animal Cops, or something like "The Miraculous Birth of Cows". I never had the sense that I was odd, though. Even if I was.
And so my "fixation" you might call it, turned into an "obsession". I realized that you could actually have one as a pet. And so it began. The Legacy of The Dog Lover, and the Saga of Pleading. In other words, I started asking my parents for a dog. Incessantly.

Over the next span of years, I'm really, truly, surprised that my parents didn't just drive me out to the middle of the Arizona desert and leave me for the vultures. I was a true pain in the parental butt. And once my little brother came around; oh, now I had a little accomplice.

The number of plays, books, papers, movies, posters, etc. was unbelievable. I don't really think my parents understood. We WANTED this dog; whichever dog it was. And when a kid WANTS something, it WANTS it. A child's will is stronger than any steel or polycarbonate superduper stuff.

I remember one Christmas, our parents tried to curb the nonstop begging by getting us a "Fur Real Friends" puppy named Gogo. It didn't really go the way they planned. We used it as a weapon to fight for our "real" dog even more. We insisted in taking it outside to "pee and poo" every hour. Even if we were out, we had to get home to "let the dog out". We shoved "dog food" (aka. cheerios) down it's artificial throat until the gears finally got clogged inside and Gogo's era ended.

I wish my parents had video taped some of the plays we came up with. They ranged in comedy to tradgety. Once we learned how to use the remote, we recorded Animal Cops and It's me or the Dog and made it part of our plays. We spent our weekends making costumes and painting our faces with pastels. Once, my brother's face swelled up from the markers we used on him we had to go to the doctor.

We raised money, even though our parents had said countless times, "It's not about the Money."

These antics went on and on and on. I can't even begin to describe the determination that was put into all of this. I still marvel at it myself.

I'm sure you want to hear about how the story ends. And it does have a pretty satisfying ending.

This Christmas, my parents finally gave way. The 20 ft high, 10 ft thick walls they had built around themselves finally collapsed and they made the decision to surprise us with the fruit of our labor.

December 25, 2009, I'll never forget that day. All of us were done opening presents and our whole living room looked like, well, you could easily compare it to my room. It happened like on A Christmas Story, there was a hidden gift behind the tree. Cheesey, you might say, but this was like living the day I had so long drempt about.

As dad pulled the box out from behind the tree, I didn't suspect anything. It was just a regular clothes box. Flat and square. Nothing doggish about it. My brother and I pulled the wrapping paper away, still nothing abnormal. We lifted the lid together almost nochalontly. The first thing I saw was a red box. A red box? With the generic Labrador Retriever? That said Milk Bone? I stared at it. Complete silece. Not even a cricket dared to chirp. I stared for a good 30 seconds. No facial expressions, no hand twitches, nothing. After that had gone by, I broke down into tears. No, not tears, sobs. I don't really know why. I wasn't sad. I think it was because I didn't get it. My brain was programmed the other way. This situation was not compatible for human comprehension. I sobbed and shook there. In front of my brother, in front of my parents, in front of my grandparents and great aunt and uncles. I got up shakily and
walked/crawled out of the room. My dad, of course, was there, shoving the video camera in my cranberry red face and booger filled hands.


Two months later, we found the one. The pup of our dreams.
Rudy.





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