Love, the Globe


Sean Kim

In the latest edition of our love column, Disha discusses her love for dogs.

Love. The four-letter word that sparks an idea of a passionate flame in my mind, blazing brightly with an ardent fervor.

I never pictured in my mind that love could be as simple as the smile growing on my weary face as I walked into my house, greeted by the sound of excited barking.

I’ve been a canine fanatic for as long as I can remember.

At two years old, I silently played with animal figurines. I dragged a plastic dog on wheels all around the house for weeks on end despite the irritating screech. Every visit to my uncle’s house meant going to the backyard by myself and sitting beside his two golden retrievers, stroking them clumsily and sharing the lively confessions of a first grader.

It was not long before I found out my dreams of having a pooch of my own were simply that. Dreams. Moving to America with my parents’ growing careers meant there was hardly any time to handle anything other than two elementary school children.

Not only that, my mother was deathly afraid of dogs. Devastated at the news, my sister and I protested, and so my mother was forced to tell us, as a means of quelling our resistance, “we’ll get a dog in five years, maybe.”

Five years seemed better than never. I was hooked. Late weekend nights, my sister and I scribbled down future plans for our dogs.

We devised names, picked breeds and researched to no end. For our first Christmas in America, I was gifted an awkwardly large book about dogs, and in it contained information about all the common dog breeds. I pored over the blown out, high resolution pictures of the groomed poodles and shaggy shepherds. Convinced I would be a veterinarian, I spent hours educating myself on dogs. It’s obvious that my love, passion and excitement all bordered on obsession at times.

It was also no surprise that five years later, we were no closer to adopting a new member of the family. I held out a small lingering hope, but having ventured into the mature waters of middle school, I was no longer quizzing my sister on dog breeds or writing journal entries about my fictitious alternate life with a puppy.

That being said, I still played with my friends’ four-legged companions, watched the Buddies movies and visited our local shelter just for kicks.

I started to prepare myself for the idea that maybe a dog would never be part of my future, but I was caught unprepared by the dangers of seventh grade.

From a storm of violent emotions I had never dealt with before, to losing all interest in school whatsoever, I felt as if I had hit an all-time low.

It worsened over the year, and I started asking to be home-schooled as a last resort. Things didn’t start picking up until the school year drew to a close. We were packing up our belongings, moving to a house in a new neighborhood when all of a sudden, my father got an email from our local shelter about some foster puppy arrivals.

“Let’s go!” my sister shrieked in excitement. I threw on a coat and rushed out the door as fast as I could. My mother’s reluctance couldn’t stop us.

It turned out, the arrivals were only two weeks old, much too young for us to handle. But seeing as we were at the shelter already, we asked if there were any other puppies available for fostering. We immediately agreed to taking two older puppies at the first sight of them snuggled up against each other, snoozing like tiny angels.

However, Jojo and Jet were the opposite of angels.

They were rambunctious monsters of destruction packaged in the cute bodies of month-old puppies.

If moving into a new house wasn’t difficult enough already, having two sets of paws dashing around definitely didn’t speed up the process. They trampled our bushes, peed on every carpet they could find and fought with each other so much that they knocked over everything in their path.

Simple tasks became impossible: they whined incessantly in the car, crawled out of my grasp despite a valiant effort to keep them restrained and wiggled onto the driver’s shoulder.

Spending two months watching the pair of miniature devils grow up shaped my summer to be one of the best I’d had so far and pulled me out of my melancholy gloom permanently.

I had never known a single face on the block, but taking them outside meant regular encounters with other dog-walkers from the neighborhood. I jogged with them on evenings, snuggled with them on my bed, chose them to be the models of my photography passion. Lazing on the porch swing while they trotted around the backyard became a Sunday afternoon recreation. Soon, the three of us had a plethora of experiences, from horror stories which made for hilarious anecdotes to affectionate, tender moments cuddling them tightly after a rougher part of my day when I realized how much I loved having a furry friend by my side.

Unfortunately, we realized when the new school year came around that there would be no one to stay at home with them, and we decided not to go through with making them members of the family.

Another person was already in line for adopting them, and after Jojo and Jet, we had to say goodbye to the idea of adopting a pooch of our own for good. No more lingering hopes or what ifs. But it was those small moments of exhausted bliss watching the two puppies clumsily trample over themselves that redefined love for me.

Love didn’t have to be the zealous, idealistic obsession it started out as.

Love is draining. Even annoying, at times.

Love is having someone, furry or human, there for you when you need them.

Love is the giggles, the exasperated sighs, the annoyed yelling and the warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

While there’s no sight of my own Fido in the near future, I still stop to pet the dogs I pass by on my daily walks and occasionally visit the shelter, excitedly waiting for the day I turn sixteen and can volunteer.

There’s no doubt dogs still hold a special place in my heart as “man’s best friend” even today. And someday, I’ll have a tail-wagging, miniature devil of my own.