As my 10 year high school reunion nears, I, first of all can not believe it’s been 10 years since I graduated high school, but second of all found that there was one big turning point during this period of my life and that was the day I adopted my dog, Mandu. His name means dumpling in Korean, and the only reason being – I was eating mandu when the decision was made to adopt this dog.
I know all you parents out there are probably laughing at the thought of adopting a dog as life-changing since you have your bundle of joy now, but it truly was for me, so stop laughing. I had three dogs before I adopted Mandu, and I will honestly say that I didn’t take really good care of those dogs – Rocky, Snowy and Lucy, may you all rest in peace. I was a child when those dogs were adopted, so that may be an excuse, but to be honest, I was lazy. I even remember saying “I’ll play with Lucy when she’s older, she’s too crazy right now.” It was a horrible thing to say, and I’ll never forget it. Lucy was a hyper, beautiful German Shepherd and had she gone to a better family, she may have had a better outcome. She ran away when we left her with my dad’s coworker during my family’s move. She was extremely hyper and jumped on me every chance she got. Looking back now she was a very active dog with an extremely inactive life. She had so much energy bottled up and it was our fault for not providing her a way to release that energy. I told myself years later that when I adopt another dog, I would do it right.
On June 9th, 2011, I adopted Mandu, who I think is a dachshund/chihuahua mix (much more dachshund than chihuahua though) from the Pasadena Humane Society.
As I walked through the shelter I knew I wanted a smaller dog because the apartment complex didn’t allow for dogs over 30 pounds. When I saw Mandu I remembered thinking that he wasn’t the dog for me because he had a brother who looked exactly like him. I didn’t want to split them up, so he seemed completely out of the picture for me. As I walked away, I saw an insanely adorable grey 8 week old chihuahua who I asked to take out of the cage. After a couple minutes of playing with him, I knew a puppy was not for me or my lifestyle. So I put him back in his cage and continued walking when I finally set my eyes on an adorable white mix (I honestly have no idea what breed he was) and thought that he was the one! I wrote down his number and walked up to the office. They told me that someone had already decided to adopt him and that I would be put on the waiting list. I was distraught when the lady told me that the two brown dachshund mixes were still available. I told her I couldn’t because I didn’t want to split them up and that I could only adopt one. She then proceeded to tell me that everyone is thinking the way I am, and this may lead to both of them never getting adopted. She said since they were cute adopting one would also mean a really good chance for the brother to get adopted soon. I thought about it and said I wanted to play with them first. After a couple minutes of seeing the two, I told her I would adopt the smaller one (Mandu) since he was less hyper – Mandu was completely disinterested in me to be honest. She told me to pick him up in two days as he needed to be neutered.
I continue to have heart-breaking dreams about Mandu’s brother where he asks me (in a human voice) why I didn’t adopt him too. I wake up crying, and I still wonder if I made a mistake. But, to be honest, I have my hands full with Mandu and it would have been extremely difficult to have both of them especially since I live in an apartment. I pray that he found a good home.
Two days later, I took Mandu home, and the poor thing threw up in the car. The minute we arrived at the apartment he went straight to his bed and fell asleep.
Ever since that day I have been known as the crazy dog person. Yes, I am one of those people who throw their dogs birthday parties. He became my baby, and he deserved nothing but the best.
I remember his first time at the dog park was one of the most nerve-wracking days. Would he make friends? Would he get along with the other dogs? Would he be a loner? My fears disappeared as he jumped right in with all the other dogs. He would later follow me to the local pumpkin patch for Halloween and spend his first Christmas at Big Bear! He didn’t care for the snow. A truly Cali dog.
One of the first things people notice about Mandu is his little limp. It really annoys me when people tell me about it. Are you assuming that I haven’t seen it? Or worse, noticed it and refused to do anything about it? It truly hurts when people tell me about it. They usually say, “Do you know your dog has a limp?” Of course I do! I live with this dog and walk him twice a day! How could I not?! Three vet opinions, x-rays, paw checks for splinters, fish oil, omega 3 vitamins, and numerous massages have all led to nothing. I’ve read all about luxating patellas and the vets tell me that’s not it. I don’t know what’s wrong with his legs, but it’s really not because of a lack of trying. If anyone has a clue, I’d appreciate it.
This little dog has literally taken over my life. He’s not only brought me so much joy, but also taught me how to be a person who is responsible, caring and loving. I thought I knew what those words meant, but it wasn’t until I was solely responsible for this living, breathing, beautiful animal did I understand what those words really mean. When he’s wagging his little broken tail my heart melts, and when he’s sick, my heart literally hurts so much I want to tear it out. I love him so much. Mandu may never know how much his existence has changed my life, but it really doesn’t matter. As long as he enjoys the remaining years of his life, I’m happy.
Like every other dog lover – here’s a site dedicated to him.