by Haribaldev Kaur
For years I had this little dog I called Scruffy. Scruffy was the most beautiful dog you would ever want to meet. She didn’t make a lot of unnecessary noise like a lot of dogs you may see around your neighborhood. On many days you could find her quietly curled up on the mat in front of the house. I often wondered if she went anywhere or if she had any dog friends. It turned out she did...lots of them. Her personality drew them. Not only did other dogs love Scruffy but people also loved my Scruffy too. She never fought or warred with other dogs. Even if there was a fight going on she was the first to leave the scene. It wasn't because she was a coward. Oh no, she was far from that. She was very brave and loved to protect others, especially dogs smaller than her. Scruffy believed that there was no use in fighting or barking over insignificant things. However, that kind of thinking often caused her to be alone.
If Scruffy got into an argument, she would walk away even if she felt she was right. If there was food around and another dog wanted it Scruffy would just move away and let them have it even if it were her food. If another dog showed interest in mating with her she would walk away if another female dog appeared. It was as if she felt she wasn't deserving of anything. Or maybe she just felt if it were meant to be hers she wouldn't have to fight for it. This was the kind of thinking that left her hungry and lonely for many years. She started to get skinny after a while and could always be found curled up on her favorite rug. I often joked with her stating she would die from starvation and loneliness if she kept going on like this. When I did this she just looked up at me with her big, sad eyes before she went right on relaxing. I joked about it but part of me was seriously concerned for her. So, I started feeding her inside the house. She was not happy about this occurrence; for she liked being outdoors.
One day I came home from work and Scruffy was not in her usual place. I didn’t make too much of it, because after all she was an outdoor dog and she knew her way around. Plus, she had her collar on if she happened to get lost. But, when night came and she still hadn't returned I started to worry. My instincts told me to look behind the house. So, I did and there she was. She was sitting up and looking kind of weird, almost as if she was ill. I tried to coax her into coming to the front of the house but she wouldn't budge. I looked at my watch. It was too late to take her to the Veterinarian. I took matters into my own hands. I decided to pick her up and have her sleep inside with me until morning.
The next morning when I awoke Scruffy looked even stranger. So I immediately picked her up and placed her in my car. I was the first person in the vet’s office that morning. An hour later the vet appeared in the lobby to speak with me. He told me there was nothing physically wrong with Scruffy. He asked me if there'd been any changes in Scruffy's life. I told him there had been no changes. He told me he'd seen these kinds of behaviors when there was a dramatic change in the dog's environment. At that moment I felt there must be something going on in the neighborhood because it sure wasn't going on at home.
So Scruffy and I returned home and as we drove up my drive there was a beautiful dog I'd never seen before standing at the gate. Scruffy immediately perked up. It was as if she smelled the other dog. She became so excited I thought she might burst through the window if I didn't open the door. Ah ha! The mystery was solved. I could not believe this but my dog was in love. Scruffy was in love. Sadly, though I felt it wouldn't last long because as soon as another female dog came around Scruffy would walk away with her tail between her legs and that would be the end of that. For a long time I sat in the car and watched the two of them. They seemed to be having so much fun with each other. I prayed this time Scruffy would not walk away from her new found love even if another female came around, but fight for it if she really wanted it. But sure enough in a few weeks I saw the same beautiful dog with another female dog walking pass the house. And there was Scruffy...in her old familiar spot, in her favorite position, not even paying attention to who it was passing by. But this time she was even sadder than before. She did not eat at all and refused to move from her favorite spot. I tried to talk to her. I kept telling her to go and fight for her dog friend, but she did not listen. She just looked up at me with those big, sad eyes and then dropped her head back down to her legs.
After a few weeks of this I walked outside one morning and Scruffy was not in her usual spot. Was this good news? Had Scruffy gotten over her sadness? Hopefully. I looked up the path and there she was having what appeared to my human eyes a very intense conversation with her male dog friend. Scruffy had, for whatever reason decided that she was no longer going to keep walking away from what she wanted just because someone else wanted it too. They didn’t deserve it any more than she did and so she made herself known. He could walk away from her if he wanted to but she deserved to be happy just like any other dog.
Now, I know you are probably wondering how it all ended, but it really doesn't matter. What matters is that my dog, Scruffy finally realized she deserved to be happy and loved just like any other dog. And just because another dog wanted what she wanted it didn’t mean they deserved it anymore than she did. It took her a while, but she decided to stand up for what she believed in. So, if there is something out there you want go for it. If you don’t get it at least you tried. You made the effort and who knows next time it might be your time. If my Scruffy can do it so can you.