Her nose is brown and wet. She sniffs my right hand, carefully, as if to read me, as if to detect and prevent danger. Does it smell like cruelty, a hand that can smack her head and burn her paws? She seems undecided at first, hesitant, but continues her search for a good smell. She finds it in my notepad lying on my lap. I took it to Poland this past summer and it must still have the smell of my parents’ dog. A good, careless, happy lab that never had to worry about his paws being burnt.
It smells good, she decides and wags her tail. She lies next to me, her skinny body finally relaxed, at ease. We took her from the shelter few days ago, you and I. A Staffordshire terrier mix, a stray. She is one year old, or maybe 9 months, no one really knows. She can look intimidating, I think, her hazelnut eyes piercing through, her broad chest and strong jaws giving the impression of an aggressive dog, a defender of her pack. But she’s still the one who needs to be defended, shy and skittish. She jumps when I tear the paper towel unexpectedly.
She’s been with us only few days but I already love her with that unreasonable unreciprocated love that makes me throw away my literature homework and just lie on the floor, looking at her. She doesn’t pay much attention to me then, and I stay still until she finally does. I pet her then, she wags her tail. For a moment we seem connected. We are, I think.
I want her to love me, of course, and I am sure she will soon enough, but I want her to love you more. To follow you with her eyes and sit calmly by your side. It seems strange even to me, to have that wish, but I do. I know you like her too, very much already; I caught you looking at her tenderly, and I noticed how your voice softens when you say: our dog, Choco. I still want her to choose you as the biggest love of her dog life so you just won’t be able to reject that amount of commitment and enthusiasm and tail-wagging and nose-licking and she will never have her heart broken like I did.