Love Through Change

It’s the night before the arduous Kinematics Physics test and cool beads of sweat slowly drip down my forehead as I started preparing two days ago. My sea salty tears merge with the droplets and roll down my cheek. As I turn to grab a tissue, a white blob enters my foggy peripheral vision. Fuchsia, with her wagging tail and flapping tongue, races toward me, springs onto my shaking legs, and stares into my watery eyes. While she stands on her two hind feet and licks away the tears, my trembling hand slides down the silver rim of my desk and feels her cloud-soft corkscrew curls, immediately releasing the tension and stress built up in my quivering body.

Before Fuchsia, a rushing anxiety would overcome me whenever I encountered a dog. My parents had convinced my toddler self to eat by saying, “Eat, otherwise we’ll make you stand outside with the dogs!” My fear of muscular dogs aiming to tear me apart and stampeding towards me from all angles was therefore colossal–that is, until I met Fuchsia. Initially, the thought of a pet, especially a dog, had never come up in my household, since both my sister and I would panic if one was in sight. Whenever we would go outside for a walk and spot a dog, regardless of whether it was on a leash or not, our rapidly increasing heartbeats led to our panicked run averting the furious animal. Our parents would try to stop us with this continuous phrase: “The more you run, the more it’ll chase you!,” but it came in through one ear, and left out the other, causing us to keep up the sprint.

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A few hours after a walk like that, my family dropped me to a weekly dance class. On the car ride back, my mother asked, “Aarzu, would you like to have a fluffy, white dog?” Perplexion caused me to stay quiet, but even without a definitive “yes” from the rest of my family, my mother agreed to the interview for adopting this puppy. We learned that the ball of energy that I had started to become attached to had gone through a dreary year of suffering. Her cold owner had been roughly managing Fuchsia as if she had been a stray raccoon who entered her backyard. She left her in the chilly and dark nights outside by herself despite her breed, never cared to purchase a brush to comb her, fed her toxic food, and occasionally left her starving. The infinite number of knots in her hair, ribs poking through her baby pink skin, and hair covering the majority of her black beady eyes did not sit well within me.

When the picture of her state back then was shown to me I was in disbelief and knew just then that I was going to be the one to care for her. After ending the discussion with her temporary owner, our interviewer, we figured that several other families would want to adopt her, so we probably would not get to welcome her into the Gupta family, but after seeing and playing with something who now is someone to me, I was committed to doing whatever I could to keep her. My phone started lagging as I frantically texted the interviewer: Me: i really want to adopt the dog! Me: when will we find out if we get her? Me: please let me keep her! Me: can you bring her to my house tomorrow? Me: please??? Me: our house is perfect for her – we just got our fences redone! Me: my entire family wants her badly! we are ready for the puppy and we will take amazing care of her. The brick red color of my face grew to a tomato red as the interviewer did not respond and my desire for Fuchsia increased; it was the same reaction as what I used to get when a dog would approach me or when I would be extremely nervous for a Physics test, but now it was for a completely different reason. Anxiety filled up my tense body, but the presence of Fuchsia at my open door the next day released it.