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    A Change of Heart

    When my boyfriend brought home a Bodum ice coffee maker and a bag of coffee grinds, I was less than pleased. “Don’t you know I love the experience of getting an iced coffee every morning?” I asked.  He insisted that this was going to be a better experience. And although I do love my coffee in a plastic transparent cup, he was correct.  After a mere week of getting my morning jolt without having to leave the apartment, without having to pay for it daily, and with my own straw, sweetener, and daily refills… I had a change of heart.

    ***

    Growing up, I was far from a “dog person.” I never grew up with them, so I was pretty scared of them.  When I met my boyfriend’s labradoodle Hank, it was far from love at first sight.  Everywhere we’d go, people would marvel at Hank. Everything from his expressive eyes, to his beautiful coat, to his goofy personality, people couldn’t get enough. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, people really genuinely love dogs.” It was eye-opening. And frankly, I didn’t get it. At the time. Yeah, I thought some dogs were really cute and yes, I thought some had funny, quirky personalities. But, when it came down to it, I associated dogs with barking, biting, jumping, begging for food, dirt, drool, and always leaving a dog owner’s home with runs in my tights. Then I’d fantasize what I’d say to dog-owners that judged me for not loving their dog. Just face it. They’re animals.

    But then, once I got to know my boyfriend’s animal… I had a change of heart. I’m not going to go on and on and bore you about the details of why I adore Hank. After all, I know some of you aren’t dog lovers, and I know better. As a recent convert to a dog lover, I understand just how painful it is to hear someone relentlessly dote on his or her dog… especially in the baby/ high pitched/”cute” tone that’s often used to deliver the devotion.

    Sometimes I feel that my change of heart- as someone who was petrified by dogs to someone who is downright obsessed with one- has naturally turned me into a first-rate translator of dog-haters’ reactions to those who have grown up loving dogs their whole lives.

    And I gotta say…now that I’m on the other side, I frequently think to myself, “Wow, people really genuinely hate dogs.” It’s eye-opening. And frankly, I don’t get it.

    In elevators, stores, and even on the streets, I’ll notice a bystander’s discomfort or fear and react with sensitivity. After all, I’ve been in their shoes. As I yank Hank away from them or quickly pass them on the street, Brandon doesn’t even notice. It’s not that he’s aloof; they just speak a different language than him.  I- on the other hand- am bilingual.

    For those of you that have known me pre-Hank, you’re still shocked what I say about and do for Hank. I’ve had friends interrupt me just to call out my love for a dog and rip on me for changing so drastically. Recently, Brandon was out of town for a week, leaving Hank and I alone together. Although I had spent a lot of one-on-one time with the 70-pound labradoodle prior to this time, this was the first circumstance where the two of us would be alone for an entire week.

    After a week of: miles and miles of walks, bathroom runs, quality time spent indoors, and a week’s worth of picking up stuff I never dreamed I could pick up with such ease… it was kinda surprising how much more of a pleasure it was than a chore.

    It was rewarding; it was fun; it was relaxing; it was downright dog loving. Plans were arranged around a dog, plans were turned down because of the dog, mornings were kicked off with an immediate walk outside and nights were ended with a final walk outside. It felt natural.

    My change of heart was secure. And my heart was his.

    ***

    I hadn’t slept in days. Finally, early on a Thursday morning, in the midst of a deep, well-needed slumber, I woke up to a loud crash coming from the kitchen.

    Although my assumption was that someone had thrown a rock through the window, it was quickly altered by the harsher reality. Hank had dumped over the kitchen trashcan. The entire kitchen floor and Hank’s entire body was covered in coffee grinds that were once in the garbage can.

    I jumped out of bed completely startled and frustrated. As I cleaned up the grinds, and attempted to clean Hank, I couldn’t believe that the girl who once valued an iced coffee run and who was scared of dogs was now mopping up her third roommate’s coffee grind spill. I was furious. He knew better than to go into the trashcan.

    It didn’t help that I’d get a reminder of his mistake every time he’d walk by. Hank would wag, and I’d get a whiff of French vanilla coffee.

    But I got over that quickly.  It takes a lot for a change of heart to occur.

    Yes, opinions, beliefs and sentiments change over time. After all, it’s not a crime to change your mind. It happens. Sometimes about small things. Sometimes about significant things. Sometimes about things so ludicrous that it blows old, lifelong friends’ minds. I suspect I’ll change my mind about more things in the future.  But right now, at this moment, I know one thing’s for sure. When you have a dog like Hank and iced coffee both ready and waiting for you from the moment you wake up, it makes you want to jump out of bed and start your day.

    And that’s something I never want to change.

    2 Responses to “A Change of Heart”

    1. Ally says:

      Great post!! I’m bilingual too. And I love hank, he’s a great neighbor!

    2. Lauren says:

      I heart the new you.. “emily the dog lover”. Love the post, keep em comin’!

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