Missing Styro

After a tiring but exciting game of badminton with colleagues and friends, one night I arrived home expecting another routine I follow when home alone – i.e. park car, open door, dump perspiration-soaked clothes, watch the late news and hit the sack. I was so surprised though to see our handycam on top of our center table with a sticky note attached. It says “..watch the video! Bulldogs are beautiful! Miss Styro!…” It was from my wife (who’s working graveyard shift that night) who was able to record a 30 minute excerpt from a Martha Stewart show on TV which I presume is most likely a rerun, but it doesn’t matter anyway. The episode featured a show packed with English (and French) bullies. Among them was Tyson the skating bulldog which we actually first saw through a forwarded email and that I somehow doubted if it was somewhat fake or what. Anyway, he does skate in the show’s set.

Watching the show, did brought back memories of a bully named Styro who was with us just for a short period. We “adopted” him from my aunt. I can still remember at that time my wife was somehow reserved on the idea of having a dog at home with us. However, upon her arrival from work and when she and the white bully (thus the name) met each other, I knew from that time on, the bully did win her heart.

Prior to his arrival at home, I did some research on how to handle dogs, specifically English bulldogs – Styro’s breed. But on the first night, the advance reading didn’t quite work. What I must have missed was that this wrinkle-faced, short-nosed, big-headed creature does already have his own idea of a good night sleep. Before sleeping that night, we tried placing him at a cozy corner inside our house to sleep on (barricaded by our makeshift fence of washing machine, cardboard boxes and shoe racks) and what we got instead was total resistance and a couple of hide seek game from him. Eventually, we gave up the chase scene, and were wondering how to settle the stand off. What surprised us even more is when he just went straight to our bedroom and as if saying what he wants, dropped his stout body on the floor right below our bed, and almost immediately went to sleep and snore.

So there goes the cozy corner and the start of us having an instant baby whom will be between us, on top, on our feet, on our face or whatever its sleeping mood dictates every night for the next months to come. I cannot exactly remember how long before we adapted to this new company of ours and a new nighttime routine introduced to us by this cuddly dog. For the most part of his stay, It seems like our subconscious was programmed to get used to his daily activities, one of which was his “peepoo” time which I still think he scheduled by himself to be between 12:00 midnight and 1:00 am daily. Every time I think of it even until now, I cannot exactly comprehend how I was able to wake up every night at that time. And to actually see him sitting beside the bed, staring directly at me as if controlling my mind to get over with my REM so as to accompany him outside the house while he does his “peepoo”. Well, the saying maybe right, “You don’t adopt a dog, the dog adopts you”.

Styro has his own set of menus for his meal too. This dog was a voracious spaghetti eater – other than his regular canned or dry foods. And not only that, he knew which spaghetti sauces were cooked well by my wife and which one weren’t. He sips the pasta just like any person does. And although we knew from books that chocolates are bad for them, we occasionally gave him a taste (just for the taste of it!) of choco flavored ice creams, which he likewise liked a lot especially during the summer season.

Having a breed like Styro is a feat almost similar to having a baby, at least we think so (even until now). Regular trip to the vet is a must. And what’s funny at that time is that we haven’t had a car yet so going to the clinic means taking him through the tricycle – a local transport. In there, a mixture of awe, fear & adoration is what we’d usually get from the drivers to the people we’d pass by most as if wondering if it’s a cartoon character they’ve just seen. Even in the clinic while waiting for our turn, other dog owners would also spend time patting and playing with him which is usually the reason why their own dogs would whine or bark to take back their attention.

Well we can’t actually claim that Styro was the greatest dog among others, but we can be sure that he did left a mark in our hearts when he left us just more than a year of staying with us. He was never just a pet to us but a family member that will always be missed.

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