My husband and I have four pets including two dogs and two cats. When my husband and I met we combined my two cats and his two dogs into one happy family and as happy as we may seem, Roku, the male dog, and Salem, my black tomcat, fight for attention and food on occasion.
I love my two kitty boys very much and have a special bond with Salem (I shall write about that another time), but my bond with Roku is extraordinary. My husband always jokes that we are one unit, as one is rarely seen without the other.
When my husband, Andrew, and I met he warned me that Roku will probably bite my feet. Apparently, he was kicked as a puppy and had a deep rooted hatred for feet. There is also the fact that he is mostly Chihuahua, which is known to bite and be protective over their owners. When I first went to Andrew’s house I anticipated Roku biting my feet so I wore my big platform boots. However, while wildly barking at me, he didn’t go for my feet; not then and not ever. In his typical fashion, once he “allowed” me in, he jumped into my lap and cuddled with me.
Roku is the most difficult dog I have ever come to know. He has bitten both Andrew and I and almost every one of our friends. He bit Andrew when he bent down to kiss me and he has bitten me in the face twice when I bent down to kiss him on the head. By now most people probably would have gotten rid of him, but even though I am not a dog, I can really relate to any creature that has trust issues and attacks out of fear, or because they were startled or hurt.
At times Roku tests me to my limit, especially when he bit a couple of our friend’s kids. The first time he bit me in the face it was so deep that it left a little scar on my nose. In the heat of the moment I was so angry that I even thought about getting rid of him, but I figured I needed to pay better attention to the warning signs and body language he permitted.
Although Roku will never like kids and always bark at strangers, I have found solutions to make sure no incidents happen again. He finally started mellowing out this part year and maybe it is because he is getting older or because we live by the beach and are able to spend more time with him. It could also be that I have trained him fairly well and learned how to make him feel more secure.
Because I am consistent with my commands and he trusts me as an authority figure, Roku listens to me and only me. Constantly working with him and giving him an abundance of attention is the reason he is my shadow. Whatever it is, going to the bathroom, kitchen, etc. he is by my side. Even if I kick him out of the bathroom to clean the litter box, he watches over me from the front of the door. He always lets me know when he is hungry or has to go to the bathroom.
When I am on the couch you can guarantee he will be snuggled up by my side; always wanting skin to skin contact. Sometimes Andrew will pull him into his lap and Roku will accept his love and affection, but within minutes he pulls his tail between his legs and “sneaks” back over to my lap. This occurrence is rather amusing; it’s almost as if he is saying,
Sorry dad, but I need to be back with my mom.
Sometimes when I fall asleep on the couch he will literally spoon with me. As long as I hold him, he doesn’t move an inch. As mentioned before, I have a special bond with my cat Salem, but I have never developed the same bond with any other animal in quite the same way as I have with Roku.
Roku means the world to me. He makes me happy when I am sad and he continuously teaches me that it is worth it to trust, no matter how old you are. He gives me kisses and snuggles when no one else is around and he is my little shadow, as Andrew said, we are melted into one.
Carmen was born and raised in Germany, but moved to the US on December 2, 1992. She became an American citizen in November 2006. She loves to write and she facilitates her blog called Carmen’s Psychic Donut. She currently lives in Los Angeles and is a Trupanion policyholder.