My dog humanizes me

Pancras - Plainsboro, New Jersey
Entered on March 8, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe that dog could humanize us.

Brownie is my dog. I remember the day I got Brownie. It was fifteen years ago on Dec 28th. My daughters, Tricia and Stacy, were still enjoying their Christmas break. Since my wife was working at that time, I took a day off to spend ‘quality time’ with my children. The kids wanted to go to the SPCA. At that time, I did not even know what the SPCA was. SPCA stands for Society for prevention of cruelty to animals. My children promised me that they would just ‘look’. And I believed it. Once we were there, we saw Brownie. At that time, Brownie was only 6 weeks old. He was very tiny. When the little puppy looked up at us, his eyes were begging for love and friendship. The moment my children saw those eyes, they forgot what they had promised. My children hugged me. They kissed me. They promised me that they would be good kids. They would do all the work if only I would bring Brownie home. Although I do look tough, I have my soft side. I feel good when I am so needed by my children. They both wanted me to say “Yes”. Of course, I paid a big price with my ‘Yes’. Life has never been the same as before. Now, life is a struggle every day. The children love the puppy. We call him Brownie because of his dark brown color. Brownie is a mix of German Shepherd and Labrador. He is not too big. He is now about 60 pounds.

I have learned my lesson. “Do not put too much weight on your children’s promise.” They have short memories. Why? Very quickly, I’m the one who is doing all the work. I walk Brownie. I feed Brownie. I discipline Brownie. Brownie is smart. He knows that children are not strong enough. Thus, he won’t listen to my kids when he does not want to. Almost everyday, I hear my children complain, “Daddy! Brownie is bad. He does not listen. He is biting.” Almost everyday, I hear my wife’s high pitched voice, “Take Brownie out for a walk.”

Walking Brownie is a job no body likes. Brownie likes to lead. He likes to chase after any running object. When I walk Brownie, my neighbors often say, “Mr. Wong, Brownie is walking you.”

I do enjoy having Brownie now. You know why? I have humanized Brownie. Like me, he is smart. He is bilingual. He knows Chinese. He understands English, but only if you speak it with a Chinese accent. Like me, he likes to watch TV. He has now become a couch potato. My wife always says Brownie even snores like me. Is life a struggle with Brownie? No, not any more. Life is now a joy with Brownie. Brownie and I have aged well together. Brownie has humanized me!