Walking the dog

JUST BE - Bernadette Sembrano (The Philippine Star) - August 2, 2015 - 10:00am

Every Saturday morning, I go out on a date with our dog Uni. She’s a one-year-old shitzu and maltese hybrid. On Saturdays, she’s my master. I let her drag me where she wants to go. When she sprints, I sprint. When she rests, I wait for her until she’s ready to go. She’s the boss, except when she attempts to go near the stray cats to play. 

It’s refreshing to let Uni take the lead. Normally, I would prefer to take the scenic route — say, under the trees at the UP Oval — but Uni is not particular, the world is her playground. She goes anywhere her nose takes her, and so I am led to her curious world. Off she goes to the bushes, the pond, in streets and alleys. 

She chases after the birds, or sits beside laborers and employees early for work, and makes friends with security guards who are having their breakfast. 

I don’t know how many blocks we walk; sometimes, we just go around in circles. It doesn’t matter. When I’m with Uni, time seems to slow down and we lose track of it.

All of a sudden she’s exhausted, slumped in the middle of the road! Of all places she decides to rest — right smack on the pedestrian lane. Good thing there are not many cars at 6 a.m. 

We both cool down at my favorite breakfast place where the waitress, Ivy, gives Uni iced water. Not a lot of restaurants are pet-friendly so it’s no wonder that dog lovers converge there. I settle Uni in front of an electric fan, where she basks in the wind with her tongue sticking out, her gaze constantly searching and eyeing something, and then she rests on her elbows like a sphinx. 

Elbows! She does not have elbows — I know!  

Other dog parents will be able to relate that dogs become our babies. 

After becoming a dog mom, your intuition towards your pet heightens. You are able to feel their fear, their joy, their sadness or anxiety. Whenever we need to leave her at home, she goes under the bed or couch. It’s hard to leave her behind. 

When I arrive home from work, there she is charging towards me, if only her little body could pounce at me, she would have done it. We run back and forth and she lies on her back demanding that I scratch her on her tummy.

A dog is able to reciprocate our love and you understand each other, and enjoy each other’s mere presence.

Yes, Uni is a dog. And I wonder how humans and dogs are able to share a connection.

Science has tried to explain how dogs seem to exhibit human traits through neuro-imaging studies, to see how their brains react at the smell of humans, etc., etc. Based on results of an MRI on dogs, they are able to respond well to the smell of humans compared to everything else.

And they love us back! According to a study by Azabu University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, both humans and dogs produce oxytocin, a hormone responsible for feelings of unconditional love when they gaze at each other.

I am a certified dog lover and our dog loves us back unconditionally. Truly, it still amazes me how much I’m learning from our little bundle of joy. 

(E-mail me at justbe@yahoo.com. I started blogging, too: www.bernadettesembranoaguinaldo.com.) 


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