“Man’s best friend” is the best friend for ever.

Something was going on but I didn’t know what was the problem. Sometimes I’d like to be able to press a button (THE button) and appear next to someone, something or somewhere. But this is the end of the story, let me start from the beginning. This is going to be a different (probably more personal) writing.

It was a Sunday (if I remember well) of November/December of 2003. I clearly remember it was a cloudy day. They were building a shopping centre near my house and the new World Trade Centre building of my city. I was 10 and I had always wanted to have a dog. Since that day everything was going to change at home. I have to say that we were thinking on having a dog since years ago. My parents made it clear that a dog is not a toy. I knew it was not a toy. I felt mature enough to understand that, even if I was only 10.

I only have some memories of that day. I don’t even remember my feelings. I suppose I was so excited that I am not able to remember that. I remember the road we took to go to the pedigree dog breeder place. It was full of curves. For me it was a crazy way. Once we got there we went to see the Westie puppies. Oh yeah, I didn’t say it, we went to a Westie breeder, a really good one apparently. A breeder who takes really good care of the dogs and breed them in the middle of the nature (his name is Alborada i Vallbonica). Westie is the name given to the West Highland White Terrier dog breed. They come from Scotland, as it name indicates, and the greener the environment the better for them. These dogs are intelligent, self-confident (a bit egocentric, to be honest), agile and stronger than what one may expect from a 8-10 kg dog.

We saw two dogs, 4 and 5 month-old respectively, of Westie at the dog breeder place. A bit old you could think. That’s how this dog breeder works. They breed the dogs until they are prepared to leave the “burrow” (just to name the place where they were born with their relatives somehow). It was instantaneous. My parents and I quickly felt that the 5 month-old was the dog that we wanted to take care of. – Now I wouldn’t do it that way. I would like that the dog chose me, as we did that day with her. It’s the fair deal. You choose me and I take care of you, I give you company and I help you whenever you need it. Not even from a dog breeder, but from a place where dogs wouldn’t have a future if we didn’t accept them in our families. – Her name, Lluna (see translation here).

On the way back home Lluna looked sad. It’s normal to be sad when you enter a car for the first time to go somewhere that you don’t know with humans that you don’t know. Nevertheless, she was not sad. She was dizzy (remember that the road was full of curves). Just before entering the parking we stopped the car in the street and she puked. Nice welcome to her new life. The adaptation period lasted around 1 week. After that time she got used to us and we got used to her. Christmas was starting.

The years that came after that time are part of the most important memories that I have from my childhood. We travelled all around Spain. From rural house to rural house. Having said that I want to expose something. It is unbelievable how old and close-minded Spain is in the topic of dogs. They are not allowed to access almost anywhere. Beaches, bars, hotels, parks… It’s sad how this country behave in front of our best friends. Luckily my parents and I discovered a better way for travelling. Directly in contact with nature. We slept in houses in the middle of no where, with foxes surrounding us, with and without light, in the north and in the south, cold and warm. It was an amazing experience. I remember the trips to Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia, Andalucia (almost all of the regions), Aragón, Valencia, Madrid, Ávila, Segovia… and more. Also the south of France and the north of Portugal. My father told me once, I was only 11 or 12 I think, “You can’t go abroad if you don’t know from where you come from, you have to know your country, its people and its customs”. And yes, let me say that he is more than right.

These were mainly summer holiday trips. During the year we travelled around Catalonia in day and weekend trips. I am sure (and lucky to say) that I have been in all the counties of it. Just to write here some examples, with Lluna we went to the mountain (in summer and winter), to the beach (from Cadaqués to Sant Carles de la Ràpita), we discovered the volcanic forests of the centre of the country, we visited Catalan medieval villages, we tried almost all of our typical meals, we walked together on the Catalan Pyrenees, we swam in river and swamp waters, we enjoyed the Ebro Delta and we lived Barcelona. During the work days the routine was part of our lives, as everybody’s lives. I went to school (later to the University), my parents to their jobs and Lluna stayed home for a while. I can say that she was our personal housekeeper. She liked to play with my shoes and socks. It was very funny to see how she could really identify the roles of the people in the house. I was like her old brother. When she wanted to play she looked for me. My dad was the “Leader of the pack”, as Cesar Millán perfectly defines in his series “The Dog Whisperer“. My mum was the hunting person. In other words, the one that provided with food to the “pack”. It’s funny how Lluna went always behind her when she was hungry. She knew where her bed was but she insisted (not talking of course) that she had to sleep at the “Pack’s Leader” room. So we moved her bed there, we are easy to convince.

With that I will tell you a bit about Lluna’s personality. She was an amazing dog among all, a very special one though. She didn’t like all humans (yes, she was very intelligent). She was cautious and curious at the same time, strong and independent (not politically talking, even though she comes from Scotland, but who knows). She quickly learned that her bathroom was the street (1 month or less of teaching was more than enough). For this reason she was waiting for us to go to the street 3 times a day, like a Swiss clock, in front of the house door. I remember a day that we decided to leave her free in the street for a while, without belt. We were running and playing together until the moment that she decided that it was enough. At that point she started to run outside the park, directly to the road. Of course we were screaming and scared that a car could crash on her. It didn’t happen because she was crossing through the pedestrians crossing, of course. She was just heading home. She sat at the entrance waiting for us. I think she was not even 4 years old. We were absolutely surprised of what just happened. Dogs can easily surprise us (we never left her free again in the street, just in case).

I could continue for hours but I think it’s time to finish. That was a more personal story, I hope you won’t complain about it and that you could enjoy it. This post is just to show how incredible this 13 years and a half have been with her. Sadly some weeks ago we had to say a final “see you soon”. I was far from home, as I explained at the beginning with the story of the “teleportation” button. With the years one realises how fast it was and how much fun we had. It helps to say goodbye too. So many memories and stories behind that they would never fit in a thousand books.

This is a very short summary of how I lived with her. Hope you all can live it at least once in your life, in your own way.

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