Cruiser was a special dog in many ways. He was the master of all the things and starter of all the fights. Personality and passion were things he never lacked. He always tried his hardest for me. He was a survivor and carried all his scars with honor. He hated having his nails done and absolutely loved playing with his toys. Despite not liking very many people, he had a lot of friends, go figure. Cruiser, Cruisey, Cruz Cruz, Crucru, The Master will be greatly missed! Hail Cruiser!
Cruiser was and always will be my heart dog. That little dog weaseled his way into my heart, and there he will stay. When I hear the term “heart dog,” an image forms in my mind, a smile creeps to my lips and my heart hurts just a little bit. A heart dog is a dog that develops a deep emotional connection with you that can literally make your heart hurt a little. The journey you develop together is formed from challenges and obstacles.
Do you not get that weird feeling deep in your chest when you look at your dog? Do not worry. Just because a dog is not your “heart dog” doesn’t mean you love or care for them any less. A heart dog is just a little different. Some people never have a heart dog and that is okay. Others are extremely lucky and have multiple heart dogs. You may not even realize you have a heart dog until after they are gone, or your dog may become your heart dog at first glance. There are no hard or fast rules pertaining to heart dogs. For everyone, the journey is different.
A heart dog relationship is not always easy. The relationship makes you work for it, but at the same time, you balance each other and keep one another grounded. The journey, whether it be in the past or yet to come, is what creates a heart dog.
Cruiser took me for one wild ride. I pulled him from animal control covered in scars and as mad as a hornet. When he tried to take the face off the vet tech at our first veterinary appointment, I knew I was in for some trouble. It wasn’t easy, but with the help from a certified dog trainer who specializes in dog behavior, we were set on the right path. I worked hard to gain Cruiser’s trust, so he didn’t have to be afraid anymore. He needed to trust me and know that I would take care of him. Through this training bond our relationship grew and blossomed. One day I looked down at him and I just knew. This little guy was my heart dog and we belonged together.
Remember that the journey belongs to you and your dog, and you get to decide how to describe your relationship. No matter how that relationship looks, it’s yours alone. Sit back and enjoy the ride!