This is a true story about the time a couple of my friends decided to leave their Labrador with me.
A little background info about the said Labrador before we dive in – Jenny was beautiful. She was five months old, and her owners happened to be a really lovely couple, then in the fifth year of their relationship. The guy adopted Jenny as a surprise present to his girlfriend. How did I come into the picture? They needed someone to look after their puppy, they cast a look around and settled on me. Which was all very good.
Except that it was not. Not even remotely.
I am the kind of person, who, to be very honest here likes pets and children from a distance solely because I am terrified of dropping them or feeding them at improper times. I’ve never had pets before and I’m bumbling and awkward around them. Except maybe hamsters because they don’t really require a lot of attention.
So, keeping Jenny was a huge decision. The first night she refused to eat anything or even sleep in the same room as me. When I took her out for a walk, she wanted to run off and play with the street dogs. And chase pigs. And I had to fight for my life to keep holding on to her leash. All fifty pounds of her, fighting to break free and get away Lord knows where. I might add now that it was freaking scary because it was past midnight and it was freaking deserted.
The next day was, if possible, an even bigger nightmare. I had to leave her alone with my aunt and get to the hospital like at 8 AM. And my aunt being the amazing person she is, locked herself in her room, leaving poor Jenny alone in the hall. With no milk. And no water. And no food. And she gave me a very angry call right in the middle of the dressing I was doing to give me the telling off of the millennium.
“Your friend’s dog has pooed all over the place and peed all over the place. Come home right now and clean this mess. Or you’re gonna have to take this dog and get yourselves a new apartment.”
This, from an aunt that was actually staying over at MY place (just so I’d have someone to give me company when I needed some TLC). So what did I do? I finished up with the dressings as fast as my hands would let me and ran home. The stench in the living room was unbearable. Poo all over. And there was a giant puddle of pee right in the middle of the hallway. And there was Jenny, skidding on her own pee to come say hello to me.
My heart melted.
I don’t know why, it just did. I gave her a hug, pee and all, and reached for some rubber gloves. All the while ignoring my aunt that was going off on one angry rant after the other. It was just me and Jenny, in that moment, just us and the understanding that had unknowingly passed between us. When she looked at me with those eyes, I knew. She’d felt unwanted the whole time. And she felt bad somewhere for all the trouble she’d caused my aunt. Or maybe that was me imagining things probably.
Later on while we were watching TV together, Jenny and I and my best friend, Jenny kept scratching at her ear. We noticed that it had gotten infected. And her owners had been forgetting to take her to the vet.
That’s when I realised: it wasn’t easy being Jenny. And she was a helluva fine dog, not one bark nor one whine out of place. Not one bit of drama. I’ll say she was super high maintenance but she deserved every bit of it. My broke ass loves her forever. Hair on my sofa, the drool, the pee. All of it.