When I was 22 years old, I made the bold move to get a pup on my own. I was living between my parent’s house and my Aunt’s house because she was out of the country a lot due to some adoption process. Anyways, I decided that I would take care of this pup and train him or her to be an inside dog. For most of my life, I have only seen dogs live outside. Some in their tiny dog houses, others tied behind their master’s house, or a big group of them out in the wild. We called those wild dogs ‘boonie dogs’ because they would just come out of the boonies or jungles in Guam.
I met my first indoor dog, Sumo, through my friend Claire. She had him with her all the time. In her car, in her room, at our coffee hangouts…EVERYWHERE. I was amazed at how he knew how to urinate on a pee pee pad. That was my goal. I wanted to have a cute little doggy that would be with me at all times and go potty in a pad. With that being said, I don’t think I had the right motive and mind set when I set out to get a puppy.
BUT, to get a puppy I did…I knew I wanted a small furry dog (again…not the right motive and mind set!) I went between researching for a Papillon or a Pomeranian. I couldn’t decide…but, then I saw an ad in the Pacific Daily News for 8 week old Pomeranians for sale at $400 or $500 (I can’t remember anymore…) I called the number and the lady told me where to go so I can pick and choose one. Guess where the address led me to? A Korean restaurant in Tumon (don’t ask me why she had dogs in her restaurant!)
As I walked in, I saw the 4 puppies and the momma on the floor at the restaurant. The little pups were running around, however, there remained one at the food bowl constantly munching away on her kibble. Shem, my brother, was so amused by her because as the other pups were excited to play and greet us…she just kept chomping down her food. He said she belonged with us…because she would fit right in (our family does love to eat!) I thought that was a good observation and that is how we picked Chai.
For as long as I can remember, she loved eating! She would even fight others for her food. And don’t even get me started with the barks…every time my mom sat to eat…Chai would keep barking so she can get a piece of whatever it was she was eating. When I got a call a few weeks ago from my mom with the news that Chai had stopped eating…I already knew that her days were counted. Oddly, earlier this year, when I left Guam…I had this weird thought and feeling that could be my last visit with Chai around. After all, she was 15 years old! And, after three weeks of not eating as her usual self, she finally took a deep breath and rested for good. She survived two pregnancies, a major surgery, and old age!
When I got Chai, I never had planned to leave Guam. But, two years later, I applied for a job I wanted and sadly did not get. I talked about leaving Guam with my parents and setting out to do something better with my life, and they gave the OK! I was a bit sad leaving Chai, but I knew that my mom would be able to give her a better life than I could if I had taken her. Looking back, I’m glad I did that… for the sake of Chai and my mom. Chai filled the void my mom had of not having me around, and my mom filled the void for Chai. In a way, it was replacement therapy for both. They comforted each other, they ate together, and Chai would always be at my mom’s side. Countless hours of laying next to my mom, especially when her chemo treatments left her body so weak, Chai never left her side. Her presence will be truly missed, but the fond memories we have of her I will treasure forever!