I should preface this by saying that I'm a cat person. I should also mention that as I write this, a fluffy white puppy is continually clawing at my leg to get my attention, and I'm finding it quite endearing. I may be a cat person, but I constantly find myself surrounded by dogs- some big, some small, and some in-between.
I do love cats, but the thing about dogs is they love you.
When I was little, I was terrified of dogs. I thought the only thing they wanted to do was jump on me, and whenever I was around one for too long I would cry. When I was around the age of eight, I went to visit my cousins with my dad and my brother. They had (still do, actually) a giant yellow lab, who ran at me as soon as I walked past the gate into the yard. I have no idea what happened after that, but I remember ending up in the living room rather shaken. Even so, I liked the idea of having a dog. I wanted a friend, and at that point my only options seemed to come from the canine sort.
My mom has a friend with a golden retriever. When my brother and I poised the idea of getting a dog to her, she said if the golden retriever ever had puppies, she'd think about it. As with any good story that begins with an "if," it just so happened that the golden retriever had puppies about a year later. My brother and I approached my mom with the promise we'd take care of the puppy (sweet, naive, eleven and nine year olds... sorry, Mom). We took a road trip to a suburb near Los Angeles, and met our future puppy for the first time.
Zi grew very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I took to calling him Clifford. He was big, he was red, and he kept growing for a long time. The first picture below is of him as a puppy, and the third is of him at our previous house. As for the other dogs, that's a whole other story.
The second picture is of me and the stay pitbull dog that wandered into my dad's yard one day and stuck around for about a year. We got along really well, actually, and my experience with him has caused me to look a dogs differently overall- especially the ones who are seen as stereotypically dangerous by other people. The fourth picture was taken on Christmas last year, and it's of Phoebe, my dad's dog that he got when I was fourteen. Zi and Phoebe are similar in that they both have lots of energy but know when to be calm, and I think that's why I love them (and dogs) so much now. The fifth picture was taken a couple weekends ago when I was visiting my dad. His girlfriend was out of town and had left her two dogs with him. I sat down and was bombarded by three wagging tails, and one of them sat by me as I wrote this essay (as seen in the sixth picture).
Back to what I was saying about dogs being energetic but knowing when to be calm- I've found that with Zi, especially, he's the best for cheering me up and for being comforting me. A couple years ago, I was having a really bad day, and went outside to where I knew he was. He galloped over to me and sat while I cried, his head on my lap. Then when I had stopped crying, he bounded away and came back with a star shaped chew toy.
I love cats, but the thing about dogs is they love you. They're there to comfort you when you're crying, and they're there to make you laugh when you need to at least smile. I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world, and because of them I can certainly see myself getting a dog in the future.