Last month I wrote my column about my furry little babies, Geri and Kylo. Not only do I love and adore my dogs, but I think I love all dogs — now.
When I was little, we had this big, white dog named Softy. She was the best dog, letting my brothers and sisters and I do whatever we wanted to her. We would tug on her, hug her and even ride on her. She clearly loved us, too. She was so sweet and we all spoiled her.
But one day, she wasn’t there anymore. My mom and dad told us our uncle had to take her to “a farm” but we knew better. She was gone — for good. I was devastated and angry and thought I would never love another dog again.
Then a few years later, when I was riding by pink Huffy bike around the neighborhood, a mean, snarly-looking dog with the biggest teeth you’d ever see was running around the streets. It barked and I barked back, thinking my bark was bigger and I’d scare it away.
That didn’t work so I tried and tried to peddle faster, but my little-girl efforts failed. It caught up to me, and he (or maybe she) got me — biting me right on the ankle. I was bleeding and blubbering all the way home, which was about a block and a half away.
I remember when I got home, my mom cared for my, what I would call a vast and gaping wound, with a Band Aid, kissed my sweaty head and told me to go back outside and play. Through my flowing tears, I told my mom I never wanted to see another dog again. I was terrified and even offended that any dog would want to bite me.
For years, I wouldn’t — couldn’t — get near a dog. It was heartbreaking, but I had to protect myself — both physically and mentally.
It was about 10 years after the biting incident when my brother brought home one of those things that I had avoided for so long. He was a small, golden-colored Pekingese who was just as scared of me as I was of him. But after a few hours, I warmed up to him as I noticed his big, brown eyes, his cute, smashed up face and his lion-like image.
I’m not sure where he came from and what past he had, but he was very timid, scared almost of his new surroundings. He would snuggle and give very gentle kisses. I was hooked. He cured me.
We named him Poochie, and we spoiled him and loved him and made sure he was comfortable in his new home. About a year later, we got him his own companion, another Pekingese we named Poocha (yeah, we are a bit of a corny family who gives their dogs silly names).
Then along came Tic and Tac, and eventually there was Dinky. They loved me and I loved them. They were the first dogs my daughter knew and were the foundation of her enthusiasm and love of dogs. They’re gone now, but they will always be part of our family.
When I got married nearly 20 years ago, my husband had dogs, too, but they were outside dogs. It wasn’t the same. I had been so used to having a dog in the house, greeting me when I came home, cuddling with me on the couch and even sleeping next to me at night.
It didn’t take long to convince the hubby that we needed an inside dog — a pet we could love and raise together. Geri was a Mother’s Day gift I received 15 years ago. She has gotten older, but she still is excited when I walk in the door, she’ll cuddle on my lap and she has her place on our bed.
Wanting that same companionship, the hubby needed that same love only a dog could give. We rescued Kylo, a small terrier mix, who, at first, didn’t want anything to do with being held or cuddled. Eventually, after a few months, he couldn’t get enough of our attention. He’s a good dog, a fun dog, a loving dog. He’s our Kylo.
Needless to say, my fear of dogs is no more. Show me a furry face and I’ll melt.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.