When we traveled to Texas for the holidays, my son got interact with four dogs, Wiwi (a dachshund)

Chuckie, a Pomeranian

Mack, a bishon frise

And Spot, a Rat Terrier

All this doggy time got me thinking about my childhood pets, and particularly my childhood dog, Villa. Villa was a Border Collie/German Shepard mix.

Me, Villa, and my Brother, Jonathan

The story of Villa: My brother was in the 9th grade at Bronx Science and perpetually cutting class. One day when he was roaming around the Bronx and not going to school he found Villa, trying to steal food from a local bodega. The bodega owner yelled at her and attempted to hit her with a broom. My brother kindly offered Villa half of his hamburger (he ate meat then he is now a vegetarian), found a rope that he used for a leash, and took her home on the D train.

I arrived home later that day from the 4th grade.

“I have a surprise for you.” He said with a smile.
“What is it?” I asked.

He opened his bedroom door and out ran Villa. She jumped up and licked my face. It was one of the most exciting days of my childhood. My parents told us we couldn’t have a dog and my brother brought one home regardless of their household mandate.

Villa lived with us for fifteen years. At age 15 she was diagnosed with lymphoma and passed away. My brother and I visited the vet together to say goodbye. I will always remember her.

I want my son to have this kind of a relationship with a pet. It is such a profound feeling to grow up with an animal. I feel like Villa helped to raise me. I want my son to have this same sense about his own pet(s).