I would like to start off by saying that I am an animal lover in every sense of the word. Before I was ever able to walk my family had a dog or a cat or a fish, but you get the picture. I have had many different types of pets in my life, and I loved all of them. However, when I was younger my mom did most of the dirty work. I would bring a stray, or possibly one of the neighbor's, cat or dog home and say "Please, please, please mom can we keep him?". I would make a sad face and promise to take full responsibility of this pet; this time it would be different. And it never was, but my mom being the loving wonderful person that she is would always tell me yes.
She was always the one who ended up having to potty train, feed, water, and generally deal with all the other responsibilities of pet ownership. I would love and play with the puppy/cat/hamster or whichever it was at the time, but I typically bailed out around chore time. Should my mom have let me do this, probably not. However, I'm a functioning part of society today, and I don't run away from my chores anymore, so I wouldn't say it damaged me. I continued to do this until I was almost eighteen. Don't ask me why, because it wasn't like eighteen was some magical grown up number for me. I certainly was not a grown up then, nor am I now, but this was when I decided to rescue a fat little ball of fur who I named Melon.
Melon was only around eight weeks old when I got her. She was one of about twelve or fifteen puppies from two litters that these people who didn't take care of their animals had. Did I want to take every puppy their home with me, of course, did I think my mom was going to have that, of course not. Does anyone ever really know what draws them to a certain animal? I certainly don't there were so many puppies running and hoping around, but for some reason I chose Melon. I thank God every day that Melon was the puppy I chose too.
When I took Melon home my mom was unhappy to say the least. We already had two dogs and a cat, but once she saw her she couldn't say no. She did, however, tell me that Melon was completely my responsibility, and that I wasn't getting any help from her. So like all the other times I promised to be responsible, only this time I really was. I was the one who fed, potty trained, walked, watered, trained, and gave melon love and affection. I had to wake up in the middle of the night when she jumped off the bed and couldn't get back up. I was the one who woke up in the middle of the night to take her out or to clean up the mess she had left for me. I trained her and taught her new things. I played fetch and tug-o-war with her. I watched Melon grow up from being a tiny yet chunky, clumsy white marshmallow into a fairly large still clumsy beautiful dog.
Melon is like my child, since I don't and am not planning to have any human children. She brings me joy and happiness everyday. She is waiting at the door for me every day when I come home, and she is always extremely happy to see me. If Melon has bad days she doesn't show it, and if I had a bad day she always knows and makes me feel better. She is full of life and energy, and she loves me unconditionally. I would not know what to do without her.
I know to people who are not avid animal lovers this article may sound like I'm a quack job, but I can assure you I am a fairly normal person. I have learned many lessons from Melon, that if I had not truly taken responsibility for her, may not have ever learned. Melon is one of the truest beings I come into contact with on a daily basis. The world is cruel and mean and unforgiving, but when I get home Melon is none of those things. She is truly one of the best friends that I have.
By Ashley D Vaughn
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