My Shadow

“A life without pugs is possible, yet pointless.”

~ Loriot

So here she is. Finally. A little black shadow. Following me around the house, the garden, the streets I walk. There she is. Our little fur-ball. Always happy, loving, forgiving. Always there. Always warm and cuddly. Loyal.

I grew up with dogs. They were family members. They were


my foster-mum,


my big sister,


my little brother.

They were family, without forgetting that they were dogs after all, dogs with dog needs. I loved them all. And I always felt loved by them.

They don’t stink. And they aren’t dirty. They don’t bite or disobey. I can’t stand all these demeaning arguments people give you against owning a dog. (Even though I know that there are responsible arguments against owning a dog, like lack of time or lack of money.) When a dog is bad, it’s a reflection of a bad owner. A dog never is bad, it is made bad.

They can mean the world to you. My mum told me many times that when our first dog died, I cried and asked her: “So whom am I going to talk to now, when you and dad are angry at me?” I was five back then. While my dad was fighting his tears and the dirt to dig a grave for our dog, I was crying on the sofa watching Balto. It took some mourning before we felt ready to get another dog. My dad helped me to bridge that time by giving me a plush toy that looked like our old dog. But it hardly comes close…

When I moved out from my parents’ home, I suddenly was dogless. And I didn’t like it.

When my son was born, I knew I wanted the best for him. And for me “the best” included a dog. The relationship with a dog is something special. Because they don’t superficially judge you. They take you for who you truly are. And they wish nothing more in return than being taken care of, love – and a treat now and then.

So we got a dog. She joined our family this year in May. She was already two years of age then. She came from a previous owner who just didn’t have the time anymore – occupational obligations were consuming the former owner’s life. We took her. Not the cute little puppy. We took the one who needed a second chance. A confused, insecure beauty. Shy, sentient.

“You sure the dog is okay back there?”, the husband asks from the driver’s seat.

“Yeah, she’s just nervous. That’s why she is breathing so heavily.”

“Breathing? More like hyperventilating.”

“Now it’s quiet.”

“She just laid down.”

“You sure she’s not dead?”

I peak into the trunk. Two puzzled brown eyes stare back at me.

“Pretty sure.”

She would spend days lying in front of our front door, expecting to leave again.

We didn’t push her. She would take her careful tours checking us out. A few moments. She would let us touch her. Then she would return to her place by the door.

I would take her out to walk, play and train. Basic training like “Sit” and “Down”, “Wait” and “Come”, and very important:”No!”. Hand feeding her. Being patient.


“Yes, dumpling?”

“I don’t want her to leave.”

“Whom do you mean?”

“The dog. I want her to stay here.”

“She will.”


“If we all get along with each other, for as long as she lives.”



“Because I love her.”

I won’t lie. I didn’t love her right away. I couldn’t. What if she didn’t fit our family? What if we would have to return her? I would have been heartbroken.

And then things changed. Slowly, but strikingly. She would give bark to protect our home. She wouldn’t sleep by the door anymore, but next to the husband’s bed. She would follow us around like a little shadow. She would lie on her back begging us to pet her soft, pink belly. She would come to solace when someone cried. And she would try you. This little shy lady suddenly would challenge you. Maybe she could sit on the couch with you? Maybe she could walk you instead of you walking her? Cheeky black wolf. Cheeky, but oh so charming. And I started loving her.

Maybe there is some deeper reason why dog spelled backwards reads god. What kind of a religion would that be? A holy book named: “Eat, Play, Love – and pee on things”. Would there be commandments?

  1. I am thy dog.
  2. Though shalt cherish me.
  3. Though shalt feed me.
  4. Though shalt pet me.
  5. Though shalt walk me.
  6. Though shalt entertain me.
  7. Though shalt understand the seriousness of catching one’s own tail.
  8. Though shalt vaccinate me against rabies, distemper, parvovirus and hepatitis.
  9. Though shalt deworm me at regular intervals.
  10. Though shalt comb me if necessary (even against my will).

Hm… I don’t know. Commandments seem more of a sneaky cat-like thing to do 😉


Another deceased family member. The only cat we ever owned. Well… or who owned us. A strange little fellow who behaved very much like a dog.

The husband just visited me upstairs. He greeted the dog first, who is lying next to me… as usual. He told me to walk the dog because he is “busy with something else”. Okay… well, I guess this means my text ends here. When you gotta go, you gotta go.


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