🐶For dog-lovers only!

You will always remember your first dog. Not because it was the best, smartest, or most beautiful dog in the world, but because it was your first one. Your first furry love.

My first dog was a poodle. Like most children, at the age of 5, I decided I wanted a dog. Immediately. At any cost. Or my life is over, as I said to my parents. Needless to say, I drove my parents crazy begging for a puppy every single day. After crying and begging for it, I thought of a new strategy – a non-verbal one. Every evening, I would take my plastic dog toy, wrap the bathrobe belt around its neck, and pretend to take my puppy for a walk around the living room and in front of my parents watching TV. I would talk to my dog during these walks, pat it, and check my parents reaction to my performance. I had to act it out for the whole month, every evening, until my parents gave in and agreed to get a puppy. I won!

The day we went to choose a puppy from the breeder was the most memorable one. It is hard not have your heart melted when you see a bunch of little, curly bundles of joy and cuteness. All of them were of different shades of red and brown, but, for some weird reason, I wanted the most chocolate one, the most tanned one, as I said. I had the same weird obsession with cookies at that age: I only ate the darkest, most “tanned” cookies, refusing to eat the ones of the lighter color as they reminded me of milk and I hated milk.

At the breeder, I spotted one chocolate puppy right away. But no matter how many times I tried to engage with the puppy, he did not like me. He ran away from me (maybe I looked like Dennis the Menace for this puppy😁). He even scratched me when I tried taking him in my little hands. I got upset and had tears rolling down my eyes. That chocolate one was the “ideal” puppy, I thought. Siting on the floor and figuring out the next strategy to get close to him, I did not notice that someone was licking my hand at this moment. I looked down and saw a puppy of a lighter apricot color. She was looking at me, licking my hands, and smiling with her eyes. After a minute, she lied down with her head on my knees. I looked at my parents and said: “This is the one. She chose me. We are taking her home with us.” Thus, Laura became part of our family. Our apricot bundle of happiness.

Like with your first love, you have many loving and many awkward moments with your first puppy. The awkward moments included:

🐩 The one when my mum would ask me to watch the puppy sleeping on the sofa and I would accidentally drop it on the floor, trying to cuddle it and take into my clumsy hands. I would go for days feeling guilty, hiding the truth from my parents, and asking God to please let my dog not have a broken back.

🐩 The one when my parents would let me walk the dog by myself, without supervision, for the first time, and I would get the dog into the puddle of black asphalt fuel oil (welcome to the USSR). My dog was participating in dog competitions at that time, so imagine how “happy” my mum was when I brought back the dog all covered in black asphalt oil which did not wash off. A truly memorable experience.

🐩 Or the ones when we would take Laura to dog competitions and she would never win. Like never. She did have a good pedigree. Her dad, Snickers (yes, like a chocolate bar), was the champion of the country once. Laura, however, turned out to be a very shy dog, not letting anyone come too close to her or touch her. She was not enjoying the competitions too much, so we stopped participating.

Among these awkward moments, there were much more loving ones: cuddling, running around the house and playing hide-and-seek, eating ice cream together, choosing egg yolks over egg whites (I had weird food preferences, and so did my dog), tobogganing in winter, hiding under the blanket during the thunderstorm, having a staring contest, refusing to be brushed by mom, watching cartoons together, hugging when sad, and being with each other every moment of our lives.

Laura died when she was already old. By the end of her life, she had some problems with her internal organs. She could not walk or eat much. She was often in pain. Unfortunately, the day when she felt the worst, I was home alone with her. We all knew that her time was coming, and we would have to take her to the vet soon, but we did not know it was that day. My parents were at work, and I was at home. I heard Laura whining, almost crying. I ran to the hallway to see her lying down and whimpering. I called my parents immediately and they told me to hold on: they were coming from work right away and taking her to he vet. I lied down next to my dog, my face facing hers. She was in pain. I was in pain too. I was crying like never before. I knew it was the end. I was saying: “I love you, I love you, I love you.” I was saying goodbye to my best friend, my furry love, my first dog. She would forever stay in my heart.

It took 10 years for my family to finally be ready to have another dog – an adorable black Pomeranian, who they absolutely love. I grew up and moved away to build my own home and family in Canada. A year ago I saw a dog that stole my heart. It was a breed I had never seen before – labradoodle, a mix of Labrador and Poodle. Poodle, I thought. Laura, I thought. Yes, that is the one. Someone to remind me of my first dog and someone to bring completely new feelings and experiences into my life.

Decided. I am getting a puppy this summer🐶.