Viewpoint: Four-legged unconditional love worth every penny

By Amy Heard
Copy desk chief

Juliet is a 5-pound Chihuahua I adopted from the Waco Humane Society last year. She is also the Lariat’s mascot, a guard dog and my best friend.

I should have known better than to go to the Humane Society that day. My plan was to play with the kittens, but when I walked in the cat room, the pathetic, shivering dog sequestered in a cat kennel captured my heart.

She was underweight, dirty and shy, but none of the other dogs I saw affected me the way she did. It was Parents Weekend, and when my parents got into town the next day I took them back to see the dog I had fallen in love with.

I had counted on them to talk me out of getting a pet, but they knew I needed her as much as she needed me.

Some forms, $50 and a very expensive trip to the pet store later, Juliet had a pink collar and a new home. My mom loves to tell people the story of Juliet’s first shopping trip — the way she tells it, Juliet perked up the minute I placed that pink collar on her neck. She knew it meant she belonged to someone.

Juliet has a crate and a dog bed, but she sleeps under my covers every night. When I’m stuck at school longer than usual, I worry about her. She won’t eat her dinner unless I watch her do it, and when I get home she does the cutest dance and squeal I’ve ever seen.

We had pets my whole life, but I have never been so attached to an animal as I am to Juliet.

Apart from being my constant companion and a stress reliever, Juliet has also been a major responsibility.

I never understood how much went into owning a pet until I was on my own for veterinarian bills, flea medicine, food and everything else Juliet needs (seasonal outfits included).

My bank account definitely took a hit when I decided to become a dog owner, but I wouldn’t trade Juliet for anything. She takes some getting used to (aka, if she hasn’t met you multiple times she assumes you’re a threat) and it can be annoying when she decides midnight is a good time to get aggressive with her toys, but there’s nothing quite as effective at lifting my mood as a loving dog.

I am far from having a family, but caring for Juliet has given me a small taste of what it’s like to have something be completely dependent on you.

In return, I have received unconditional love, unlimited baths and an unbelievable amount of black dog hair on my white duvet cover.

Amy Heard is a senior journalism major from San Antonio and is the Lariat’s copy desk chief.