I remember my first year in my mom’s hands. I was her birthday gift she gave to herself. She chose me from many of my brothers and sisters. She thought I was the cutest thing ever, and so she loved me. My dad was not really overjoyed by my unexpected presence but he learned to love me too. Nowadays he is mainly the one looking after me. There was a time they loved me. They loved me very much.

The second year was also full of affection, but yet not as much as the first year. My mom lovingly washed my fur, cleaned me after I got dirty rolling in the mud and she brushed my fur and massaged my neck and fluffy ears to the point of no return – I would fall asleep in ecstasy.  Eventually my mom and dad learned about my sleeping habits – I snored badly. They called me an old man. And oh, I can snore! Those comments made me laugh in a dog way, but not for long. Soon after I ended up sleeping on the floor a few feet away from their bed. Apparently, that didn’t help, so therefore eventually they sent me out of the room into the corridor. It was a hard thing to swallow and adjust to as I was spoiled rotten already by then. I began to rebel – I peed everywhere. This was and still is at times my way of asking for attention and affection. I want what I used to have! I want to be loved. Why did love suddenly start to dissolve, I kept asking myself? My dog’s demands for love did not help me in any way. They created a space for me in the far far corner of the house and barricaded it with a wooden fence and left me there. I felt lonely. I don’t like being left alone. They hardly notice me nowadays, so I learned to bark a lot. They shush me every time I make noise or put me in the garage full of darkness whenever I become too much for them. Throughout the years I have become a lonely barking Ruff.
I love my human mom and dad and I enjoy being one and only for them, however five years ago they brought this child into the house – a baby human brother, and he became their world. My little head could not understand why he was more important than me. After all, I did my work –  I barked at everyone, especially possible intruders, I protected our home, after let out to run around I always came back and gently asked to be let back in, I ate only once a day, even though I would have liked to eat more, and I loved unconditionally. And my human brother… I even guarded him, and all he did was play, eat, make noise, torment me at times and cry. That’s all, and yet they loved him more. I was lost for my barking words!
However, another sad truth is my mom’s mother does not really like me. She pushes me away as far as she can and often is harsh with words. However, at times she has those moments of warmth and gentleness and her human heart overflows with love. At those moments she takes me out for a walk and talks to me in a gentle voice. But it is a rare occasion, very rare.
And one day loneliness hit me hard. It was raw, it was painful, it was scary. I have never felt so vulnerable in my life before. That raw intense feeling of not being wanted… I guess you are familiar with that feeling too. It is hard, isn’t it?
I enjoy being loved and feel human affection. I love to run around, chase the ball, bark at neighbours’ dogs and play with neighbours’ children. I often run into their gardens and make lots of noise in my squeaky Ruff’s voice. No one seems to like me very much any more. However, there is someone I know that always misses me and loves me. The sad thing is she rarely pays her visits as she lives far away from my homeland, but whenever she comes around, I am the first one she greets. I think she has a crush on me! I am greening now from ear to ear by just thinking of her. She is a sister to my human mom. She even stands up for me if she sees needed. She does not allow anyone to push me around. She always says good morning to me and before bed time she wishes me goodnight. She makes me feel very special. Whenever she is around, she washes me, combs my fur, makes sure I am fed, walks me, plays with me a lot, chases after me and whenever she can she lets me sleep with her. I love sleeping next to her. She doesn’t mind my snoring, even though at times I would end up next to one of her ears. However, she does mind my hairy fur, hence before sleeping time she brushes me, and I like that. However, my mom started trimming my hair, especially for summer season, which means I have to find other ways to be loved and pampered. Whenever my sister’s time comes to leave to the far far land, she always comes to me, scoops me in her hands and gently whispers in my ears: “I love you, my little sweet buddy”. That’s when I know she is leaving and my little loving heart starts beating faster and harder – I become very sad. After she leaves through the door, my life goes back to my usual existence in the small corner of the house out of everyone’s sight: then hardly anyone comes to say good-morning or wish me goodnight the way that my human sister does; then hardly anyone notices me and gently whispers in my ears the words of love; then hardly anyone needs me the way that she always does; then hardly anyone protects me.
And so I sit barking in my far far corner of the house dreaming of the day when my sister comes back and again gently scoops me in her hands and whispers the words of love: “I love you, Ruff. I love you very much. Always remember that”. And oh, I remember! I wish she knew just how much I miss her and appreciate all that she does for me. I long for her. I wish I could express my gratitude and joy in the same way she does. Oh, I wish! At those moments I wish I was a human…

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