To The Dog I Told My Mum We Did Not Need, It Turns Out We Did Need You, Especially Me

“Come and look at this! What do you think?” my mum asked myself and 2 of my sisters when she showed us a picture of you. Straight away I thought ‘not another one, we already have two, three is going to be too many, and it’s me that’ll have to feed them’.

A few days later we drove quite a bit to come and “look” at you. My first impression was that you were bouncy and annoying as you hit my face with your tail about 10 times in the space of a minute. You were also chewing on a blue top milk carton, which I’d never seen a dog do before… As we drove home I tried to tell my mum and sister that we really did not need you. We already had 2 other dogs and adding you to the mix would’ve been too much, especially with your annoying tail. I mean I was 13 years old so I knew everything didn’t I?

Anyway, we were having you and that was that. ANOTHER dog for me to feed, what a terrible tragedy..

I remember coming home from school a few days later and was greeted by you barking at me as soon as I walked through the door as if I was an intruder in my own home?? I mean the cheek!

Somewhere along the line I must’ve warmed up to you a little. You were the perfect dog to be fair, well behaved and not hyperactive (apart from when you heard ‘good boy’).

I guess you weren’t that bad.

On the something of something in 2013, I’d been to see Imagine Dragons and had come home all hyped up and so I decided it’d be a good idea to let you sleep on my bed for ‘the night’. Little did I know you’d become my permanent bed partner, for most of the time, on a single bed!! No wonder I was such a crabby teenager. I’ve got to say it was a little confusing waking up to hear a manly, human-like snore coming from the end of my bed.

So the years went by and I guess I grew to love you more than anything in the world. You became my best friend. Yes, you, the dog I tried telling my mum we didn’t need…

One morning, I woke up to the news that I’d lost my other best friend in my life. It was a shock and I don’t know how many nights I spent awake, crying, feeling lonely. Yet, the whole time you stuck by my side, and even though you don’t know what to do when I cry (you walk in to the next room usually!) you were there for me to cuddle and cry to, which I’m sure you would’ve soon told me where to go if you’d been a human!!

You kept me (somewhat) sane and essentially saved my life. Despite it being a really difficult time in my life, I had you to go home to everyday and to keep me company during the many sleepless and tear-filled nights.

You started sitting in the bathroom whilst I had a bath or a shower and I am convinced you did it because you were looking after me. Whatever the reason was it made me feel better.

Then I got asked out on a date, and the date included you!! Socially awkward me could NEVER have gone on that date without you, despite you showing me up in the first 30 seconds by doing a huge poo. You also decided to go off on your own adventures and show my date that you could do what you wanted, you didn’t have to listen to me trying to call you back from the stream you decided to have a trot in.

You also ended up on the second date when my date became my boyfriend and another friend for you to add to your list. In fact I think you might’ve fallen in love with him by the end of date number 1.

Then I turned 17, and I could drive and then the real adventures began! I could take you anywhere and you got to sit in the front passenger seat, although you liked to sit behind the wheel until I got in the car. We got to go to Roath Park, Caerphilly mountain, and you even got to come on exciting adventures such as going to Asda..

Not long after my 18th birthday, your left leg decided to give up on life and so began another scary point of my life. I decided to take you on a ‘last trip as a four legged dog’ to the beach. How dramatic.

And who had to take you to get it amputated? Me! I thought it would be the last time I’d see you and I cried like a baby on my way home in the car. It was a rainy day too so wasn’t too fun.

But, you pulled through and were up and prancing around just like you had been 5 years prior when you hit me numerous times in the face.

Surprisingly, we were soon back to your favourite spot – Roath Park with a trip afterwards to Stag Coffee, where you not only got to eat sausage (and some of my chips) but also see one of your favourite friends.

And so, it now seems that the right leg is slowly giving up, and it’s getting nearer to us saying goodbye. You were once the dog I tried to convince my Mum we did not need and now look at me. I was either extremely lucky to have you placed in my life, or you were purposely put there, I guess I’ll never know. But I do know that you are the best friend I’ve ever had and I couldn’t have gotten through the last few years without you by my side. So here’s to you, Pan, the second hand doggie but the most loved doggie. I love you forever and always.

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Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.