Dogs are man’s best friends. To us, our pet dogs are not only our best friends, but they are also part of the family.
Bolt and Sky, respectively, a Shih Tzu and Labrador Retriever, complete my day. It is always a joy seeing them run from my daughter’s room for their morning bathroom break.
Sky, the Family’s Gentle Sunshine
Then, after I give Sky a walk while Bolt stays behind, I will prepare their breakfast. Seeing them excitedly finishing their first meal of the day melts my heart. I know this will be another day of playing, eating, and sleeping.
Typically, Shih Tzus can quickly feel hot, especially in tropical countries like the Philippines, where we lived. At around 11 AM, he would run inside my daughter’s room almost daily when he was outside. Bolt will position himself in front of the aircon, telling my daughter that it’s aircon time.
That is always on cue. Bolt has a way of knowing that it is time to go inside the room. He would pester my daughter with his continuous barking until the young lady would yield.
Leaving the House
By keeping their eyes trained on us – up and down, they can sense if we are leaving the house. They trusted us enough that they just stay put by patting them on their heads and saying that we will be back. They are such sweet dogs.
Barking and Getting Attention
Hearing both of them barking when the car is pulled over gives me that energy even when I am tired from work.
When the gates are securely locked and the car tires are covered with a piece of wood to prevent Bolt from peeing it so it will not get rusty, the Manang opens the door for them to see me immediately. This also means that it’s bathroom time again.
They have a way to catch my attention. Bolt would lay flat and wiggles his tail so fast while Sky would run and push her nose against my hands, perhaps her way of kissing me.
At dinner time and the sound of plates or spoons and forks clanking, they would run as speedily as possible to get the best position at the dinner table.
One will go under the dining table while the other, behind the chair so they will have a vantage point in case one of us would pity them with a delicious slice of meat or boiled native potatoes.
You know how they make faces so that you will give in to their gluttony. Their dinner schedule is 6 PM while ours is at 7 PM. It is only a little over less than an hour has passed. But here they are, asking to feed them again.
Can you guess who will give in? Naturally, the gullible me would give in. I always have a ready treat for them seeing those sad eyes.
Playing Balls and Giving Belly Rubs
After dinner, I would lounge on the sofa in the living room, watching TV. Both of them are on my side – in the opposite direction. Bolt would disturb me because he wanted to play with his favorite ball or wanted a belly rub. Sky loves to be stroked while asking her how her day was.
There are no dull moments with them, despite the stress and exhaustion brought about by our work demands. I forget whatever bothers me when they are around.
Travels and Birthday Celebrations
As part of the family, they are considered when planning travel and family events. We ensured they were not left behind alone inside the house for a long time.
Bolt and Sky were with us in Lakawon and Sipalay, where we spent our summer outing a few years back. We provided a comfortable seat for them, bringing their feeding pan, dog treats, toys, wet wipes, and dog towels. We are one big happy family.
We don’t forget their birthdays. Their two other Manangs, based abroad, would arrange the dogs’ birthdays cakes and merienda for the five of us. Again, we are like little children singing “Happy Birthday” with our party hats on our heads.
While they could not understand what was going on, nevertheless, they would eat their birthday cakes. Bolt sometimes looked confused, but he ate the cake just the same. Sky, on the other hand, would finish the cake if allowed. She’s a big eater and eats almost anything.
Aside from my happy family life, living with Bolt and Sky is the best thing that happened in my 57 years. They give me loyalty and love, and I give it in return. That is the absolute essence of a family – sharing, loving, and caring for each other.
Bolt crossed the rainbow bridge on March 23, 2022. He was seven years old. I am writing this piece to honor his memory.