This summer I am approaching my sixteenth birthday: which for all teenagers, is the most important and coveted birthday there is. At least, that's what MTV has led me to believe.
But the reason for all the excitement behind a sixteenth birthday isn't just the hugely fun parties: it's because now you are old enough to obtain a driver's license. So, with that being said, you would think that I would have asked for a car or something along those lines.
No. Instead I wanted a puppy.
Looking back on this, it probably wasn't my best decision. I'm going to be out of the house in two years. But it was one day when we had visited where my boyfriend worked and saw the Petland across the street that we happened upon the newest addition to the Spencer family.
My parents had wanted to get a Cairn terrier as their next dog (my first dog, Woody, is dying of Cushing's) and we found that they had one teensy female Cairn terrier with sweetheart chocolate eyes and an adorable face. She stole my heart right away. I began plotting ways that I could raise the money for her and take her home, all of which were completely irrational. But luckily my parents brought her home, and she is my birthday present.
Being Elton John fans, we named her "Kiki P," after Kiki Dee, who sang "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with the famous singer. It doesn't take much to guess why we changed the "D" to a "P."
The first few days were admittedly nightmarish as I wondered what exactly had I gotten myself into and realized that I didn't really know what I was doing. I chased her around all day, played with her, and tried my best to get her to not eliminate in the house.
For a dog with such stout legs she runs like lightening, and being a Cairn, she's as equally brave: she wants to take down cars, bigger dogs, and anybody that passes in front of our house. I remember one morning that I tried to stop her from racing around, I ended up catching my foot and splitting my toe open on our basement door.
Of course, I didn't notice it until I walked back upstairs... tracking blood through the house. At least for those first few days or so I slept well, because I didn't keep her in my room. Though when we discovered that the dog should be sleeping in a room with one of the family members, I have successfully found sleepless night after sleepless night, like a new mother. Although I'm sure raising a newborn baby in some ways is a whole lot worse.
I've gotten into a groove now and everyone has chipped in to help me with what our Kiki needs. And she's been an enthustiastic ball of wiggles whenever someone comes home. If she hasn't seen you for an hour or so, the next time she sees you is like "a brand new day." She loves to meet people, even if she can get a little nippy when she first greets you. (That's another thing that I have to concern myself with.)
She's taken to liking Woody, and the cat is now almost tolerant of her. At night when she's exhausted from her long, playful days, she curls up in a ball on her bed and drifts off to sleep. It's moments when Kiki meets people, or when we play with her, that I find she's not a mistake after all. In subtle ways, she has improved my life.
Pets are important to each and every one of us. I've found that the older that they grow with us, the more important they become, the better friends they will be. No matter where they come from: a store, a breeder, or the humane society, every animal is deserving of a home.