Mi Amor

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I haven’t been certain about much in my life, but I knew the second I saw him that we were meant to be together. He was with someone else at the time, but he looked at me with his velvety brown eyes and I felt so much love it hurt. He felt it, too.

Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” played in my head and I had visions of us taking long walks together and cuddling on the couch. I knew I had just met the love of my life. All that was left to do was to purchase him.

His price tag was steep, $1,200, but I had no choice. I bought him on the spot and scooped him from the woman who was contemplating whether he was right for her. I went to my hometown, Saskatoon, for Christmas and I knew my mother wasn’t going to be thrilled when I brought home my new companion.

She wasn’t impressed. “What are you going to do when you’re at work? When you go away? Who’s going to look after him?” she asked. I would. I didn’t know the specifics, but he was the love of my life. I knew I could make it work. My mom has since come around after seeing how much joy he has brought to my life.

So I returned to Calgary with a new companion under my seat. My family helped me pick a name. Naturally, a muscular, charismatic Chihuahua could only be called Pedro.

He has been my constant companion for eight and a half years now. He went on the road with me when I covered the construction beat as a journalist in Alberta. He has been to doggie day care in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton. He has been on about eight flights. Once I snuck him on a flight and he escaped and ran down the aisle. It is a good thing the folks at WestJet have a sense of humour.

Although no Chihuahua could ever possibly embrace Winnipeg winters, Pedro has made a name for himself since we moved to The Peg. When I walk him down Jubilee and Osborne, I often get stopped by people who have “heard of Pedro.” One woman ran after me when I left a book store and asked, “Is that Pedro? My daughter told me all about him. I just have to meet him.”

Pedro is the quintessential Latin lover: he woos women and makes them swoon. He’s romantic, charming and funny. What more could a woman want?

But he is not without faults. For starters, he hates big black dogs, particularly bearded breeds. Whenever one walks by, he becomes enraged and barks, thrashes and acts in a manner that gives little dogs a bad name. He belches. He lets out mastiff-sized farts.

He’s also terrible about going outside to pee in the winter, so I have to buy him puppy pads. He has gone through terrible bouts of separation anxiety when I stopped freelancing from home and took a job in an office. We worked through it though.

He has developed interests such as chomping on bull pizzle all day and chasing my cat around. I have come to accept that some time apart is healthy.

When I do have quality time with him, I cherish every moment. I put down my iPhone and I clear my mind of all the daily noise and stress so I can be fully present and enjoy every second with Pedro.

Pedro is not my first dog. I grew up with dogs and I had a dog named Eliot when I went to university. I loved them all, but Pedro is the love of my life. There’s something truly special about the way we connect.

Waking up and going to sleep with Pedro by my side is the greatest joy in my life. The beauty of little dogs is that they live a long time, so I will have many more years of joy with Pedro.

Mi amor.