family · Pets

Venus´ Story

Venus started to be part of my life almost eight years ago. Everything began with a phone call from who was my partner, one Saturday, November 4th:

– Hey, I call you because I just picked a hairy, four- legged bug.
– No way! You know that we have Chico, the cat, at home – he was a six-month old cat that shared our one-bedroom flat with us.
– I know but she´s so cute!

In the beginning, the idea didn´t seem funny to me but I gave up. I thought that, in the end it could be a good idea, as we were going to live to a house with garden, so we could be more confortable there.

That night I had a celebration and I didn´t have the chance to see the “hairy, four-legged bug” until the next day. When I saw her, the only thing I could do was shrug my shoulders and “fall in love” with her. Her legs and eyebrows were brown and the rest was pitch black. Her wide legs made me think that maybe she was a potential rottweiler… There was nothing far from the truth than that: many people bet that she´s a mix between griffon, beagle and yorkshire.

Her story with me started when an irresponsable person left her abandoned with her siblings inside a carton box in front of a hotel in the south of the island of Tenerife. One of those puppies has the leading role in this story. She was the luckiest one, as I heard… I can´t understand how there are persons that are so cruel and they can live without remorse… but this story is about Venus, the lucky pup.

From that moment on, Venus was part of the family. It was funny to see how Chico and Venus played together. When she first arrived they both had the same size: a month later she was taller than him and her colour was brown. She was a bit naughty but she soon learned that she wasn´t doing the right thing. In December Venus decided to eat my lentils soup (typical food for New Year´s Eve: it brings luck): It wasn´t her fault, it was easily reachable by her. She also had to celebrate the fortune she had that someone took her home… Since she was a puppy she has protected the houses she has lived and barks to what she thinks it´s a threat: I still remember the noisy way she greeted us one day, when we were still moving. She wasn´t three-months old and her barks were strong…

Venus had to confront a decisive time in her life: the arrival of a human baby. She left being the centre of attention to leave the space for the new “intruder”. Venus has always been very respectful with her: she knew that everyone was going to be disappointed with her if she would have harmed my daughter.

Soon she changed a leader for another: my partner decided to move on with his life and I had to be her master. We both adapted to the new situation slowly and learned to live together… At that time, all the commands were in French but now she is “bilingual” and she understands Spanish as well. She was taught to sit down, lay down, to shake hands and not to nap on the couch… The normal commands for a dog. It cost me lots of cheese but also patient and love.

Once more, Venus had to change house and left behind a great garden for a huge roof. Those were hard years, where her presence was mostly on that roof and on the street when we walked her. Venus has always accepted changes with stoicism. Her only requirement was that she knew I was around and, if I had to go out, I would be back.

At that time Venus didn´t like others to be her leaders but me. Sometimes she became a little jealous of my daughter but it never was more than a fright (showing teeth and gum and a small bite). Those years were hard and I realized she was part of my small family.

Step by step, she became more than a pet (satisfactions and sacrifices included) to be a being that accompanies you even when she only sleeps close to you.

Right now my daughter, Venus and I are sharing a two-bedroom flat with a small garden with my actual partner and, eventually, with his two kids. The dog has become the perfect link for the three kids: they get along quite well. They have something in common: they adore and spoil her.

It doesn´t matter how long she has to be alone at home (work, travel…), Venus always greets me moving her tail and bitting my hand while she cries of happiness. She even adores the person who rescued her from a sure death, her first leader. In the animal kingdom, there are a lot of  grateful beings…

Many times we have the perfect reason to go out: walk the dog. It´s the perfect solution when you don´t know where to go with the kids. She doesn´t get sick in cars and it´s very funny to see her when she pops out her head and her ears fly with the wind. Every day, she gets more and more clever: she rests in the car so when she goes out, she has all the energy to run, jump… and chase.

Venus is an expert… lizard hunter. All lizards are afraid when they hear her paws approaching. She has no problems with plants or stones between a lizard and her: She makes holes with her paws and with her head moves the vegetation to get to her prey. Once I had to open her mouth with my hands to free an alive lizard she hunted… My grandfather used to say that she was a born-hunter because of the shape of her ears: He knew why this statement was right.

She has impressed me lately. I realized that everytime I feel sick (headache, discomfort…), she has approached quietly to keep me company. My partner has been surprised by her lying down on the floor next to my bed… Right now she lays down close to me, keeping me company while I write these lines…

There are no reason why she doesn´t like some people from the building. If she hears them coming or going, she´s alert, taking care of her garden: territorial. Many have tried to become her friend but it´s almost impossible: not even with a ham sandwich…

It´s funny that sometimes I feel that it´s not fair that she waits for us outside shops or restaurants. My partner, not an animal lover, considers her part of the family. We understand that it´s not higienic to let dogs enter a restaurant but we feel it´s not fair on her.

That´s why I don´t understand people that buy a pure breed puppy for Christmas or birthdays. In the beginning they are loved because they are the new “toys” at home. After that, they become a problem: where can I leave the dog when I go on holidays? The result? They are abandoned anywhere. This holidays, while we were walking Venus through a forest (La Esperanza, Tenerife), we found the rotten rests of a dead dog. If he had an owner, this person had no enough heart or courage to gain his love, trust and all the satisfaction a pet can give you.

It is also true that there are many places where the dogs can´t get in to walk. I understand that there are misbehaved dogs that do not respect their owners. On the other hand, I understand that dogs are, first of all, animals with their instinct alive… If dogs are minimally well educated, they can´t not be a problem if they walk without leash close to their owner (yesterday Venus crossed ways with a runner and she didn´t care less for him). Maybe it is necessary to warn to those dog owners that leave their dogs without supervision while they are walking them, those who do not clean after their dogs and compensate those dog leaders with well behaved dogs close to one another, as the best human´s friends (as it´s been said).

(First published in three parts: http://maritza-in-english.blogspot.com.es/2010/12/venus-story-part-i.html in December 2010)
Update:
Almost two weeks ago we have to say goodbye to this dog-shaped angel. It was the toughest decision I ever had to take but I know it was the right one. In any case, she left this world after making a celebration of her life: people came by home and made a celebration. Her ashes are at home already, we have a lock of hair and made impressions of her front paws. She will live always in our hearts.

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