I’VE often wondered what Cleopatra would say if she could talk. For the record, Cleo is my pet Miniature Schnauzer. Would she have a British accent? Yeah, let’s give her a British accent…something like Jamie Oliver’s. How would her voice sound like? Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz? Queen Latifah? Maybe Cameron for now, until I find someone better (I’d prefer Meryl, but take a look at Cleo and you’ll know she ain’t gonna pull off a Meryl).
Having Cleo has been one of the most wonderful experiences ever. It’s an incredible feeling knowing that when I leave for work in the morning, she misses me. When I get home in the evenings, she is waiting by the door to jump at me and lick my hand or face in dizzying welcome — the lonely hours she endures when I am away all forgotten.
Cleo’s an early bird..err.. dog. She’s always awake before I am. I know, because despite the fuzziness that accompanies those moments when I’m stirring from sleep, I can hear the patter of her footsteps as she circles my bed, waiting for me. The minute my alarm clock rings, she shoves her furry little face into mine and attempts to lick my nose so I’ll get off the bed and take her for a walk. Sometimes, she resorts to desperate measures like pawing me or jumping on the bed.
She always stops by for a goodnight gaze and a pat on the head every night before slipping to her usual spot (under my bed). As always, I can see part of her little head or bits of an ear peeking out below. When it’s particularly warm and balmy, she sleeps out in the open — always within an arm’s length from me.
Cleo knows when I’m sad. Many times, she’s sat patiently while I cry into her fur, not minding that my tears are capable of leaving her quite damp. And always, she looks at me with those grave, solemn eyes, never judging; always my biggest fan despite my screw-ups.
I first had Cleo five years ago; she’s the best thing that ever came out of a past relationship. Yet, I am guilty of sometimes taking her loyalty and love for granted; I forget.
A friend of mine sent me an e-mail recently, which reminded me of the many ways to show love to my pet. Thanks, Jean, for the Pet’s 10 Commandments. It left tears in my eyes.
A PET’S TEN COMMANDMENTS
1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can’t bear to watch. Don’t make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.