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in search of dogs [lifestyle]

because i have a dog-sized hole in my life

My life at Brown has been largely devoid of dogs. I often go days without seeing a single dog. And I don’t like that. My life at home was filled with dogs—my first sight after opening my bedroom door in the morning, waiting for me on the first step as I tried to go downstairs, sitting on the back doormat with her tongue out as I entered the kitchen. Everywhere I looked, Sara could be found. 

* * * 

Meeting Sara

We adopted Sara as a puppy from the local humane society in 2016. To be honest, I had really wanted to adopt an older dog. I just love their calm demeanors and graying snout hairs. In the end, my youngest brother picked out Sara. She was the last puppy from her litter to be adopted.

The humane society said she was a retriever mix of some sort, but we honestly still have no clue. My best guess is she’s some mix of beagle and probably retriever, but at the time, she was just this little ball of white and brown fuzz. As she traipsed around the little pen, we thought we spotted a hint of a limp, but it ended up being nothing, perhaps just an early lack of coordination. After we filled out all the paperwork, we took her to the pet store to get a collar, leash, bed, dog food, and some toys. I had her cradled against my shoulder as we walked down the aisles. I was still in shock that we had actually gotten a dog after years of me begging my parents then years of me accepting it would never happen. But it happened. And there she was, this tiny puppy lying on a pillow in the middle of our living room. The timing was unfortunate for me though, because a few weeks later I had to leave for an overnight camp. I was afraid Sara wouldn’t remember me or that I would be lagging behind the rest of my family in terms of connection with her. I think it all turned out fine.

What Sara’s Like

Sara’s weird in the best way possible. She enjoys sitting on chairs like a human, but it gets to be a problem when we only have enough chairs for the people in the house and then Sara claims one of them when us people are trying to eat dinner. She also enjoys watching the squirrels in our backyard through the window. She rests her head on the windowsill and puts her nose right up against the glass. All our windows have stains at roughly Sara height from her snot and saliva. Closing the curtains doesn’t stop her either. She squirms her way through the folds until just her hind legs and tail are visible. We can tell when she spots a squirrel by the wagging of her exposed tail. Sara’s not so great with other dogs. She means well, but she still hasn’t really figured out how to socialize with dogs in a doggy way. When she sees a smaller dog while on a walk, she tries to pounce on it. When we did some dog sitting for a family friend, Sara tried to keep the other dog confined to our kitchen. I don’t think she slept those few nights out of fear the other dog would explore the remaining parts of our house. Sara’s really good with people though. People love Sara. My brother’s friends look for any excuse to come over and hang out with her. I’m convinced they’re only friends with him just so they can spend time with Sara (Only kidding!).

What Sara Probably Thinks of Me

She’s definitely figured out what she can get away with depending on the family member. Sara absolutely adores my mom, or maybe she’s terrified of her. Either way, she goes wherever my mom goes and does not fool around with her. With my brothers, Sara does lots of fooling around. This ranges from obsessively licking their arms and legs to trying to steal food off their plates at meals. Sara fools around with me a little bit, but she knows I’m too ticklish to have my limbs licked. And she knows if she’s polite and quiet, I’ll let her look for squirrels through the windows in my bedroom. Sara’s also figured out that if she hangs out on the staircase, I can’t resist stopping to pat her head or rub her tummy as I pass. Sometimes when I’m up late and everyone else is asleep, I like to go sit with her on the stairs. When I have trouble finding her in the dark, I just listen for the sound of tail excitedly wagging against the carpet. Then I plop down next to her and stay a while until she falls back asleep. Sara snores pretty loudly.

* * * 

Here’s the deal: I wanted to write an article about people and their dogs. I imagined doing interviews where I’d ask people about their dogs, learn what it’s like having a dog at Brown, and, most importantly, get to spend time with some dogs.

But you know how it is. Things came up, I got busy, etc., etc. So the article hasn’t happened—yet. I’m determined to meet some dogs, so if you have a dog, please contact me at andy_luo@brown.edu. In exchange for getting to spend time with you and your dog, you’ll both be featured in my next article!

Note: please do not contact me if (1) you do not have a dog, (2) you have a dog but your dog is not physically in Providence, (3) your dog does not consent to being featured in the article. If (2) applies to you, I’m sorry. I feel your pain. I, too, miss my dog very much. However, if you meet all the criteria and would like to be featured, I do hope you’ll be in touch!




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