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A Love Letter to My Dog
To the best friend a girl could ever have.
IMAGE Vladimir Kudinov | pexels.com ART Clare Magno

Hey you,

Who would have thought that it's been eight years already? Eight long years of being housemates and roomies. It's amazing how we've stuck it out, especially since you're...

Always hungry. Yes, I say this like it's a bad thing because in your case, it is. Remember last Christmas when you pawed the refrigerator door open, stuck your head in, and devoured what was supposed to be the househelp's noche buena? Boy, was Manang Bing mad at you; I had to reimburse the platters of spaghetti and ham that she had set aside to feast on with her friends. Good thing you didn’t plow through her famous paella, or else it would have been World War III at home.

But curiously, despite the urgency of your famous appetite, you would always wait for me for dinner. Sometimes I would come home late and there you would be, craning your neck at the sound of the door creaking open, your eyes glittering in the dark. I would be tired and cranky, eager to get dinner done and over with. But it is always an event for you. You would sit beside me, waiting for my first spoonful before bowing your head and devouring the food that has been laid out for you hours before. Never mind that your own food is never enough, that you also have to nudge me to give you some of my favorite adobo or share the last few fries with you or even give you practically half of my meal, come to think of it. What matters is that besties who eat together stay together.

A fair-weather friend. I remember when you first met my sister. Her eyes lit up, and she ran to give you a big hug. Boy, did you lap up the attention. Before I knew it, you were best buddies with her and barely spared me a glance when I called your name. And there was that time you first encountered the then-suitor-now-boyfriend. I was pleased at how protective you were of me, how you warily looked him up and down. Hah, hurt me and I'll unleash this wrathful creature on you, I remember thinking gleefully. But now you cheerfully greet him as if you're the best of friends. I'm always left sulking at a corner as he commandeers the remote control and you two sit contentedly on the couch.

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But even if you've gotten close to my sister, your eyes still seek me out. There we would be at BGC, braving the throngs of people walking their pets. You would be strolling with my sister while I lag behind. You would always stop and wait for me no matter how insistently she urges you to continue walking, giving one of your special happy grins once I finally catch up. And while you're chummy with the BF, there are still times I would catch you eyeing him suspiciously. Maybe it's for those little squabbles that you would eventually find out about. In the aftermath of one, I would usually rush to my room and flop into bed. The bed springs would creak as you settle beside me, your worried eyes trying to catch my teary ones. And I would hug you and you would patiently listen as the whole story comes spilling out. And you would never, ever judge, especially if I realize I'm actually the one who's wrong all along.

A ruiner—of clothes, shoes, etc. You've destroyed at least three pairs of Havaianas flipflops, gotten tangled in a months-in-progress crochet project and thus unraveled the entire thing, and stained numerous outfits.

But you would follow me around in such a mournful, repentant manner that I couldn't help but feel guilty for yelling at you. You would try to make it up to me in so many ways, and I would melt every single time. 

A scratcher. Those long, sharp nails of yours—I've got scars from them and gain new ones every day! How you would whine and whimper at the mere suggestion of cutting them, as if basic grooming is akin to losing a limb!

But honestly? I would gladly endure many more scratches if it means more hugs from you. And you know how I get mad every time you claw at me for attention? I have a confession: I actually like it when you do that. Especially when I pretend to ignore you and you get frantic by the second.

Yup, eight long years.

As I count the white whiskers that have gradually appeared on your snout, I still see the frisky little puppy that we picked up at the pet shop, the one where we were told that you're 70% Pomeranian and 30% Japanese Spitz and you turned out to be 100% the most adorable dog in the universe.

Your eyes may have dulled with age, but they still shine bright when you look at me. You've driven me nuts by making chew toys out of my slippers and peeing against the hamper, but you know what, I smile as I type this right now (unless you're doing one of the two at this very moment—you're suspiciously silent). And while you've gotten to like my sister's belly rubs and the BF's company, there's no question about where your loyalties lie; at the end of the day, you still scoot over to my side, love and adoration in your eyes. Yes, eight wonderful years with you, you silly, sweet, darling dog. We've had countless mishaps and lots and lots of screaming (barking, in your case) matches, but you're the best friend any girl—or any human, for that matter—could have, and I look forward to decades of unconditional love and adventures with you, my Puccini!

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Much love and a handful of fries from your hooman,

Steph

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Stephanie Jesena
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