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Truth be known, I just wrote a book about a dog I love, but before Buddy, I was never really a dog lover and never imagined I’d be one when I was growing up. 

At a backyard BBQ when I was eight years old, I was told not to get in the Maltepoo’s face. For those not familiar with puppy-bred lingo, that’s a mixture between a Poodle and Maltese. However, the dog was so cute, I couldn’t resist that white puffball. 

She quietly roamed the backyard of our friend’s house and seemed harmless.  She didn’t even yap like I expected from a tiny dog. She intrigued me and I wanted to play with her. 

Ignoring all warnings, I reached for the dog. My hand barely skimmed the top of her head when I suddenly heard a high-pitched screech and felt an enormous pain in my leg. The cute fluffball had bitten me.

Tears streamed down my cheeks. I grabbed my outer thigh, fearful a chunk of skin was missing.  The owner rushed over and put the dog in their house. They apologized profusely. I was in shock and focused on my mother, who tried to calm me down while examining the wound. 

We left the BBQ immediately, and by the time I got home, I had a handful of stitches and a bandaged outer thigh. A few weeks later, I learned the owners put their dog to sleep. I was torn between relief and guilt. While I was still freaked out about the event, I felt badly that I was the reason a dog’s life had ended.

No wonder I put the kibosh on ever owning a small dog; however, I considered big dogs a few years later.

While leisurely riding my bike home from a friend’s house, I saw a huge black Doberman Pinscher. He was attached to an extremely long chain runner in the front lawn. I panicked hearing his incessant barking and pedaled with all my might, calling on every ounce of strength and agility from my skinny 10-year-old legs. I prayed for the strength of Wonder Woman, or even her tiara in my front basket—to make me appear fearless.

Thank god nothing happened, but I saw that fierce looking black dog in future nightmares. My childhood experiences put a damper on ever being a dog person. In junior high, my boyfriend’s golden retriever pinned me against the door of his family’s laundry room. I think he was just being playful and I knew he wouldn’t hurt me, but I panicked and screamed for help. 

By college, every guy I knew owned a dog.  I hung out with a Bulldog, Black Labrador mutt and even a Rottweiler. They were all extremely obedient, which gave me a chance to relax around dogs, but the real growth happened when my roommate agreed to keep her boyfriend’s litter of Bulldog puppies at our apartment. 

I didn’t appreciate this Bulldog’s drool, dark gook, and shedding fur, but I loved her hairless puppies. I found myself racing home from class every day to play with them. Once they were all sold, our place seemed empty. I was startled by how quickly I had bonded with those puppies and I missed them very much. My life would change completely when my twin daughters begged me to get a puppy. I assumed I’d be the one instilling all the obedient training and important lessons. I wasn’t expecting to be taught by him. Aside from children, he’d be the most significant teacher in my life.