Our cute little Nala
If anyone had told us that we would find so much joy from another dog so soon following Sasha’s passing, we would have laughed cynically.
You are the very epitome of things happening to you when you least expect it. From the moment we stumbled upon your photo, we recognised cuteness, uniqueness and vulnerability in your face that tugged at our heartstrings. From the first time we held your tiny puppy form in our arms, we simply fell in love.
Having decided to answer the call to care for another dog, we had been both excited and quite apprehensive. A large part of us remembered just how much time and patience we had to invest into training a new dog, and wondered whether we were truly ready for the challenges ahead. A small part of us just felt this tiny… guilt (for lack of a better word), thinking that perhaps, we had decided upon this a bit too quickly and run the risk of ‘replacing’ Sasha.
Your arrival caused quite a bit of ‘shock’ to both our systems. For me, it started from the moment I picked you up and put you inside the box at the back seat of the car. The screams you projected as I drove away were so ear deafening I wondered whether I’d be able to concentrate in taking the 40-minute journey home. I was astounded, therefore, to find you fast asleep literally 5 minutes later, and stayed that way for the rest of the journey home, and into your first night with us.
Like a newborn, you woke us up every 2 hours or so for the first month throughout the night, demanding us to take you outside to do your business. Having dealt with a geriatric, no longer barking 18-year-old dog, we now had to deal (and learn to ignore) your incessant cries and howls afterwards, demanding us to not put you back in your assigned den.
We weren’t quite sure when, or even how it happened, but you’ve shown some similarities to our previous dog, surprising us greatly. As days turned to weeks, the resemblance of you to Sasha, especially seen from one side, were uncanny. You exhibited the same resilience in digging through your blanket during playtime. You growled and thrashed your toy, shaking your head from side to side as though you were possessed. Once or twice, you even walked around in circles, trying to ‘fix’ your blanket so that it moulded around your curled up, sleeping body perfectly. I know – the more logic explanation would be to say that it was part of your breed; you are, after all, a half Jack Russell. But we’d like to think of it as Sasha reincarnated; that her spirit has gone into you, showing you the ropes.
Still, you had your own set of personalities, and it has been a delight discovering those. You often sit patiently on the edge of the lounge room/kitchen, waiting for us to finish cleaning up the kitchen and go to the lounge room to give you attention. You have this oh-so-adorable head tilt, one-ear-shooting-up pose, as though asking us, “what are you guys doing, and when are you going to finish?”
Now that you’ve learned that you could jump up (anywhere!!!), you would climb up to our bedroom and make yourself comfortable when tiredness overtake you at midnight (and we aren’t showing any indication of going to bed any time soon). And you have this habit of splashing water all over your chest after frolicking around the nearby park; something we have never encountered before – not in Sasha, nor any other dog we’ve played with.
As you celebrate your 6-month birthday, we look back on how, in such a short time, you’ve enriched our lives; become a balm to our open wounds. It has been indescribable to watch you grow from a chubby, tiny puppy with short, stumpy legs to a thinner, long-legged small dog. It has been really amusing to witness how one simply has to look at you to evoke your cute, relentless barking. We are simply amazed at your love of endless playing, and the fact that all we have to do is stretch our arms and spin around like a helicopter to compel you to run around in the backyard until we’ve run out of breath and energy. And late at night, sleeping between us or between mine, or Daddy’s legs, we had to stifle our snorts and chuckles to see you roll around like a roast chicken, silently begging us to rub your tummy.
Our only regret is not being able to spend this milestone with you. As we sit in our hotel room in Manila, sifting through photos and watching video footages, we count the days to our coming home. We look forward to holding you in our arms again and resuming our daily adventures.