Fear isn’t the right word for how I felt about dogs. It was more like a terror-induced anxiety. Whenever a dog barked, snapped or came within two feet of my ankles, my heart would race, my palms got clammy and my whole body would tense. Stiff as a board, I wondered if this was what a fear induced allergic reaction felt like. Was there a shot or some ointment for it?
Our cat, Optimus Prime, is a misanthrope. He doesn’t like humans or being pet, unless it’s on his terms. I have the faded scratches on my arms to prove it. One day, amidst the paper grading, classwork and stress, my husband and I realized that we craved more affection. A dog would be perfect because we were too poor, too immature, and too self-centered to afford a human baby.
After months of scrolling on PetFinder, we walked through the doors of the Mahoning County Dog Pound. Nothing could have prepared us for how heartbreaking this place was. Near the pound’s entrance were some scary looking adult Boxers and Pitbulls that barked and pulled on their chains attached to iron bars bolted to the ground. Terror made me pause in front of the cages, where I stared at these dogs. With each step closer, the dogs bark a little quieter, their tails wagged harder; despite the fear some part of me realized that these “vicious” dogs just wanted some attention and some human interaction.
We finally went into the pound. Dozens of dogs were locked in iron cages. Each called out to us for a little petting time or some affection. We fell in love with the first dog we saw. She was a tiny, brown ball of fur that couldn’t have been more than three months old. Each time my husband put his hand near the bars, she would mash her head against him, fighting for a few more seconds of warmth. If he pulled himself away, she would yip, scream, and howl. The warden said she was found wandering the streets and had been locked in the pound for about a week before we arrived. She was waiting for us.
We were approved, got her spayed (as per Ohio law, all adopted pets have to be neutered and spayed no matter how old they are) and took her home. As soon as she found the cat, she tried to nibble him. That was when we knew her name would forever be: Megatron.
For the past two years, she has been one of my best friends. I talk to her about my day, my ideas, and personal setbacks. Meg is always there to listen. She sits near my head when I have a migraine and she never leaves our side if we’re feeling sick. We provide her with food, water, hugs and cuddle sessions. She brightens up our lives and is such an important part of our family. I used to be terrified of dogs, now I have so much love for them. I have Megatron to thank for that.
Do you have a similar experience with dogs? How do you feel about your fur ball?