Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What a wonderful feeling it is to be loved {by a cocker spaniel}

Today I have two special guests, Jane and Piri of "Always with Yoo" blog and I couldn't be more excited. I stumbled upon Jane's blog last year during my random blog hopping tour and was immediately attracted to this adorable, doe-eyed Cocker Spaniel! Jane's blog is the kind of blog I that gives you the warm and fuzzy feeling. Jane and Piri have one of a kind love story and that bond is simply beautiful. When I read her story I really felt like it's a letter from a long time friend to a friend, not a pet owner to her pet at all. Thanks again Jane for sharing :) Let's begin.....

I've had multiple love at first sights in my life. I know, that sounds weird, but I'm a big animal person. My mama was an animal lover and so we always had pets growing up. They were all my first loves. Of course my husband as well. He holds a special special place in my heart. And just as I thought there wouldn't be room for one more "love at first sight", he stared at me with those big curious eyes and that did me in. It was love at first sight for me. Again. For like the 10th time.
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Piri wasn't our family's first dog or our first cocker spaniel. We had one growing up. I named him Bobby after a boy in my second grade class. He lived to be 7 and died after an unfortunate car accident. It broke my heart to pieces and our family never spoke of having another dog again. That was until when I was in college. I received a call from my brother telling me that he saw the cutest cocker spaniel and brought him home. That his name was Piri {pronounced "Petey"}, which our mama named after a famous Korean song from her days. My heart sank but was also joyous at the same time. Is this little bugger going to steal and break my heart, too?
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{Our first meeting. We were like Batman and Robin. Of course he was Batman and I was his sidekick.}

I saw him for the first time in November, 1999, during Thanksgiving break. I was 20 and he was 8 months. So curious. So animated. So full of play.

He followed me around everywhere and wanted to play tug of war with my sock the entire time. He slept next to me. Even shared my pillow. We stayed in bed late, but one morning he was up and got impatient when I wouldn't wake up to play with him. He pounced on my stomach and when I woke up with a "ugh" I saw big brown eyes and a playful smile looking down at me. I'm telling you. This was love.

Piri came to live with me in New York in 2006 when my sister in law became pregnant. My parents drove him up from Georgia and I thought this is going to be easy peasy. He was such a fun and mellow dog the last time I saw him that I didn't think I would have any trouble.
Boy was I wrong.

The minute my parents left, he cried. He cried for three days. He woke me up at 5 am to go out for walks. He showed aggression to the neighborhood cats and dogs. And he had severe separation anxiety. I couldn't leave the house without him barking the second I locked the door.
Oh, what did I get myself into?

I didn't know a change in scenery would impact him so much. I felt so helpless and spent countless of hours trying to figure out how to cure his separation anxiety. I needed to be the pack leader. I needed to stay calm and let him know I was calm. None of these solutions felt tangible. I needed something asap to not get us kicked out of the apartment. I needed a social life!

For me though, the thing about having a pet is that they're for life. I know certain situations don't always allow for that. But Piri having separation anxiety wasn't a good enough reason to give him up. Instead, I came up with alternative solutions. I gave up going out with my friends, but invited them over to hang out at my place from time to time. I had really great and supportive friends who were so understanding and loved Piri. This made our situation a bit more easier. Yangkyu was always there and drove us to places so Piri can play in the park, at a dog run and be more social, and so that I can go out on an ice cream run and enjoy it outdoors.

I also patiently practiced training with him to let him know that I was coming back home. I left the house for five minutes the first week, increased to 10 minutes the following, and so on.
I don't know what did the trick, but about after a year of big improvements {but oh and many drop to your knees, fancy cry my eyes out, kind of fails} his separation anxiety slowly began to disappear.
And he became the friendliest dog in the neighborhood.
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Piri is now 14 years old. He will be 15 next month. His playful brown eyes have now become so wise and so soulful. He has since lost his hearing, has arthritis and other signs of aging, but that playful wag is still there. I don't think it will ever go away. He has opened my eyes to so many things - how to be happy, how to forgive, how to not let the little things worry me, how to cuddle, how to really enjoy a mouth watering apple and how to just love and be.

I read somewhere that a dog is the only thing that will love you more than him/herself. That's Piri in a nutshell. There were times when I was so frustrated at him and the situation I was in. I'm sure I let him down too but he's never let me know. Instead, he always came over to sniff and tickle my hands with his cocker whiskers and nudge me with his head. I think it was his way of saying that everything will be ok {or maybe it was to demand neck scratches because he always ended up with one after those head nudges}.

I can't explain this incredible feeling I have for Piri. My husband and I were talking about it the other night and it both left us stumped. We looked over to a sleeping Piri, his nose smelling something in his dream {probably chicken or apples, his favorites} and we just laughed. It's these little moments that make our hearts tug. And being loved by a cocker is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
Thank you Nelah for giving me this opportunity to share the bond I have with Piri.


  1. so beautiful. i absolutely adore Jane and her blog. i recently started following her. her posts really touch me. i knew about piri's blindness, but had no idea what she had experienced prior. i had two dogs at one time. they lived until they were 10 and died within 1 month of one another. it really helped that they were together, because they kept one another company. but i know my 2nd dog died of heartbreak because she missed the other dog. animals are just like us. it can take awhile for adjustment. Jane you're doing an amazing job with piri. God Bless!

  2. It's love at the first sight for this cute and adorable dog! I moved to Doha from Milan and now I'm missing my animals (2 cast and 2 dogs) who are actually at my parents'house!
    Facebook Page Bonjourchiara
    Bloglovin Bonjourchiara

  3. thanks for having us nelah! and much love to you kim & chiara!

  4. Petey! I always thought you pronounce as 'Peeree' lol
    So Petey it is c: Xx

  5. Oh Jane, I loved this story of you and Piri!! Gave me goosebumps! I didn't know he had such separation anxiety - cheers to you for taking the time and patience in helping him overcome that!! He's such a sweetheart! And happy almost birthday to him, I know you guys will have such an awesome celebration!!

  6. I actually cried at the end part after reading this post. It was bitter-sweet for me. My parents boxer passed last October at the age of 13. She definitely had hearing and sight issues. It broke our heart to see her go. We accepted her departure but I still miss her presence every time when I visit my parents and looking over at where we place her dinner bowl and the hardest was when we open the main gate, she wasn't there to greet us.
    Jane writes well and you're right. it's like her post speaks to you so dearly. I'll go over to check her blog now =)

  7. Oh goodness, her first meeting picture is just the cutest!!! Love this guest post :)
    xo TJ

  8. Jane, your love story with Piri is incredibly beautiful and touching! Since I've been reading your blog for awhile I have some sense of the mutual love and devotion you share. That bond is just the sweetest and you're so lucky to be in each other's lives :)

    Thanks Nelah!

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  9. Love your story Jane! Love this guest post Nelah!

  10. What a sweet love story! Relationships like this are such treasures. :)

  11. Piri and Jane are perfect together! I couldn't imagine a better girl and pup duo :)

  12. I love Jane and Piri!! Their story is so beautiful!


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