Who let the dogs out

Senior “cat person” grows fond of canine friends


Senior Katherine Doan poses with the found pup. Photo taken by Jennifer Doan

My entire life, up until this past December, I have been a self-proclaimed “cat person.”

Cat person: Those who love felines; often less traditional, more creative and more neurotic. (i.e. the cat lady who sits in her apartment alone with her cats)

From my first kitten at the age of three to my two current feline friends, I have experienced 15 years of an independent, standoffish love unlike any other.

It all began with Spooky (I). He/she was found in an outhouse shed and quickly became an important part of my life. I remember toting her about in my stroller and spending playtime sitting with her in her cardboard box. She ran away 3 days later, taking with her a piece of my heart. From there I went through a long line of feline companions: Spooky (II), Speckles, Diana, Kate, Fergie, and Pippa. (Kudos to @gagemartin2015.)

My cat ownership not only defined my preference in domestic animals, but my emotional complex as well. Cats taught me to love in a different way. I learned that you can love something without being completely dependent upon it. My early cat companions enabled me to become a more independent, arguably insensitive, person with a soft side so many layers under the surface that it doesn’t even count.

And then I turned 18. Not that the actual birthday changed my emotional core, but a very special present I received. Or rather two presents.

I was surprised with two 6-week-old blonde lab puppies. Puppies that had to be let out and fed and played with and walked and consumed 100000x more attention than every cat I ever had combined. They woke me up early and kept me out late. I discovered dogs have a distinct smell that they share with every object and article of clothing they come into contact with. And despite my best efforts, I found that I would constantly carry with me a faint scent proclaiming to the world I now had dogs.

But despite my initial shock to the new lifestyle, I have grown accustomed to their love. Every morning they are happy to see me. Everyday after school they are happy to see me. Every night when I get home they are happy to see me. Even when I’ve had a bad day, they’re waiting with bright faces and wagging tails.

My dogs, Oxford and Berkeley, have shown me how to love in a much more outgoing way. I have learned that love is a verb and should be expressed in all aspects of life. They have brought out my soft side and taught me that wholehearted love is one of the most rewarding feelings in life.

So, reluctantly, I have become a “dog person.”

Dog person: Person who regards dogs as companions or friends; often more dependent and outgoing.