How do I love thee, my furbabies? Let me count the ways.
When Papa passed in 2016 after five years of battling Alzheimer’s Dementia, you were there to comfort me, distract me, keep me busy so I did not have much time to sulk and be lonely.
In one decade of being a hands-on furmom, you have all given me not only comfort, but joy, pride and purpose. When I feel blue, you give me cuddles and wet kisses. You follow me around like love-sick puppies to the point of me almost stumbling around when in a rush for errands or meetings (before and during the pandemic). When I have to go out even to buy groceries and other essentials, you all whine and wail as if I’d be gone for ages, and you are all piled up to greet me when I arrive, or even as I wake up and get ready to go out the bedroom foyer. Like I’m your Mona Lisa. You all curl around my ankles, or lick my legs. When I pick you up, my face and ears always get moist with kisses, or get rubbed with furry fervor. You each have your way of getting my attention or making me feel like I’m the best thing next to chopped liver.
You give me joy with your antics and dynamics. How you stand on your hind legs, pawing at me to show off or get me to play with you. How you play bow to let me know how you love me. That’s how you say that you love me. How you all sit and beg at meal times, or sit and wait for treats.
Because I trained you the “no sit, no treat” policy. I love watching your doggie communications or dynamics, and I’m lucky if I catch it on video and edit it for Tiktok, where you have gained me almost 26 thousand likes and over 2000 followers in such a short time. Like how Annika and Morgan mimicked human lovers when Annika Belle seemed peeved and Morgan wooed her with a gentle paw on her snout and she gave in. There is also how Holly Golightly, after getting a bone or a treat, climbs over the play pen that protects the sofa and safely gnaws at her prize without any paw managing to disturb her. How Devlin once came running to me, paws on my lap as he is too tiny, because his Yaya (pet nanny) took something away from him. Joy when my puppies begin to eat solid food or walk on their fours, or play and make funny faces even. Awe when Angel always goes before me to the toilet and inspects all corners, then lays guard while I do my business.
You make me one proud furmom when you win fashion, agility, talent, sports contests online and in real time before and even during the pandemic. I claim dibs at the most awarded pack in the metro, at least eight of my then pack of twenty have won various awards. I likewise have maybe the only local trilingual poodle. She can understand commands and do tricks in Filipino, English and French. Her name is Angel, and I playfully call her my supawstar, because of her multiple awards in fashion, talent, agility and swimming categories. Observing her natural flair for water, I coached her on her very first swimming match, in which she bagged the grand prize in the medium category. She can also sing and dance on cue.
Then there is Athena, my alpha dog and the queen of my pack. She is a pawgeant titlist, a canine amabassadress, a product endorser, a ramp and print pawdel, a tv pawsonality and an all-around celebrity dawg. When in an event, and someone you do not know comes up to you and tells you they are fans of your dogs, you can’t help but beam with pride. My dogs have been featured in print and on television, showing off their wardrobe, or doing doga (dog yoga), or rocking the catwalk and bagging awards. Some have also guested in social media webinars.
But more than all that, my dogs have given me purpose. Someone said, where you find purpose, it is where you find happiness. I find happiness in my teaching and in my dogs. During this crisis, when many are besieged with mental health concerns, my dogs and my support network of family and friends have kept me grounded, and quite literally sane. They keep me company in times when my mind refuses to shut off, or when fears set in.
Blanche P. Mapile, MBA, is a facilitator at John Robert Powers Manila, was a mentor and coach at La Vie Institute, and a lecturer at the De La Salle University Taft campus for four years. She is also a free lance writer, PR practitioner, social media manager and influencer, and animal welfare advocate.
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