A little over a year ago, we took a six-week-old puppy into our two-bedroom apartment. It was against my wishes, but Jake talked me into it in exchange for wedding help and overall Sara worship. I named her Ripley, after the Aliens heroine. I figured if the aliens really did show up and try to take over the earth, Ripley the dog would save us. If I didn’t kill her first.
See, for the first month, I hated our dog. It wasn’t her fault; it was my lack of patience. I am not a maternal person. I do not like children. I don’t babysit. I don’t pick up poop! Until Ripley showed up. She had to poop all the time. She cried all night long. She screamed whenever I left the house, terrorizing the neighbors. She bit me and scratched me. I literally did nothing productive for the first month of ownership, because she wouldn’t let me. I lost about ten pounds. The song “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” took on new meaning. I was an emotional wreck, crying all the time, because damn it, I didn’t ask for this!
Time passed … Jake didn’t work as much as he had that first month. He was home to help out with more regularity. Ripley started to calm down. Strike that. She started to behave, because we trained her to behave. She was still a total nutcase, because she was still a puppy; it was understandable. Then, would you believe it? Something strange happened.
One morning, while reading my daily devotionals on the couch, the puppy from hell climbed up on the couch with me, curled into a little ball, and sat down on my lap. She sighed, went to sleep, and well, I was in love. I’ve been in love ever since. Sure, she still drives me bonkers sometimes. She cries like a whiney baby if I don’t take her to the dog park by noon every day. She occasionally jumps on total strangers (so embarrassing). But she has become my daily companion while Jake is at work. She has become my friend.
I talk to her like she’s a person. “Do you want some breakfast?” “Isn’t it pretty outside?” “Do you wanna go the dog park?” (She actually knows that one. If you say “dog park,” she prances. Seriously, prances.) We sit together and watch Harry Potter movies. She loves Harry Potter movies. If Jake works the night shift, Ripley makes sure I’m cuddled up safely in bed before heading back to her crate to sleep in her own little house. Once, Jake came home late and knocked on the window. She went nuts! She sounded like a Rottweiler, no kidding, which pleased my husband to no end. She is my dedicated guard dog.
A year ago, I never could have imagined being a “dog person.” But now, as we celebrate Ripley’s first birthday, I can’t imagine my life without her. I’ve even had nightmares where I can’t find her, and I wake up panicked and calling her name. Of course, she obliges and jumps into bed with me, because that’s the kind of dog she is. She’s the sweetest little girl in the world and the best “daughter” a woman could have. Happy first birthday, Rippelsnuffogas!