Watching the Flintstones every weekday afternoon in my parents bedroom was something I did as a busy six year old. One day the sounds were different when my dad came in from work. There was barking. I loved dogs, we didn’t have one, or did we? Could this really be happening?
My dad made an intoxicated impulse buy that day on his lunch hour. One of his best decisions ever in my opinion. A dachshund! “Is he mine?” My mom noticed from the papers that he was born on April first, she insisted we name him Fool. I was immediately insulted on this puppy’s behalf and declared “his name is Pretzel”.
Pretzel was the title of a book I often took out from the school library. A story about a dachshund who was unusually long, his length ended up being a great advantage and a big help in the end. I took this story to heart and hoped my own unusual shape would be an advantage to me and that I’d be accepted and helpful, as Pretzel was in the story.
Here he was, Pretzel, in the flesh. He would remain by my side for seventeen, yes, seventeen years. He slept with me every night, burrowed close, under the covers. He not only kept me warm, he was there for every young girls first. First human best friends, first crush, first A, first D, first time driving, first kiss, first job, first cigarette, first drink, first computer class and so many more. He graciously listened to all the stories of joy and pain that came along with it all.
We talked every day. He even waited patiently for me through two hospitalizations, six months each time, he even got smuggled in for a visit or two. Pretzel taught me what unconditional love really is. I learned how to give it and how to receive it.
Learning gratitude for having a companion like Pretzel is something else I learned. Not sure how I got so lucky to have a friend like Pretzel who would stick by me like that, I’m just thankful that I did. Those pawprints were the first of many that remain on my heart. Who was your first furry best friend?
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