Ayaz! Hey, buddy!

I used to not refer to you as that. Ya know, "buddy", because, well, we weren't exactly buddies at first. Do you remember that?

It was about a week before Christmas when I first met you. You'd just been adopted by my mom about a month or so prior. She couldn't stop telling me how gentle you were, and how excited she was for us to meet. She said you were an old boy, flown all the way over from Turkey after (what probably was) a difficult life. She told me she wanted to give you a comfortable rest of your life, that the people at the adoption agency said you wouldn't be around too long. How nice of her to do that for you! I couldn't wait to meet you - this miracle dog with such a mysterious story.

As soon as I got home from school for Christmas break, I ran downstairs to meet you. You were laying on your favorite carpet in the family room, very peaceful. That didn't last long, though. As soon as you saw me, our eyes locked, and you let out the most horrifying growl I had ever heard. You had nubs for teeth, but if they weren't you could have easy walked over and bitten my arm right off. Prior to coming home, I looked up your breed, the Kangal Shepherd, and it said you were raised to fight African lions, after all.

I couldn't believe it, and neither could Mom or Dad! (And I must say, I was quite offended as well.) This sweet, lazy dog who was gentle around everyone that he had met prior, hated me. I couldn't help but wonder why. Did I remind you of an old, Turkish enemy? Did I just disturb you at a bad time? Did I smell weird? None of us were sure.

I thought that after two weeks of being at home, you'd warm up eventually. To be honest, it was scary for me to walk into my own family room. Perhaps the whole time I was home, you only wagged your tail once at me when I offered you a treat. Besides that, you wanted absolutely nothing to do with me.

After a few months of being back at school, I decided to accept an internship back in the Philly area. Doing so, to save money, I decided to move back home for the summer, but that meant I had to live with you. It made my heart sink every time I thought of you showing your nubs at me, or trying to block me from coming into the family room to just watch TV. I had always loved dogs, and dogs have always seemed to love me back. It was frustrating thinking of us continuing to not get along.

When I officially moved back for the summer, I held my breath before entering the family room where you laid on your favorite rug. Your head popped up when I walked into the room: "Hi Ayaz. Hi buddy," I calmly said as I inched closer. Then, something so simple, yet so magic, happened. You wagged your tail. A lot. I gently stroked the top of your head, and you would never guess what happened next! You nudged closer. I couldn't believe it! Some sort of flick switched in you. I don't know exactly why, but I don't care. I could feel we were becoming friends.

As I write this, I'm watching you snooze on your favorite rug. My heart is filling with happiness thinking of all of our fun walks around the block, how you howl with joy whenever the phone rings, our snuggles, and all of the human food I've introduced you to since being home. (Don't tell mom and dad! They still don't think you really care for human food that much. That scrambled egg I gave you this morning was yummy, wasn't it?)

Obviously, there's so much that I don't know about you. You've lived most of your life on the streets of Turkey. That's about all of the information I got. You're the most interesting dog I've ever met: you're silly, stubborn, and independent. You're so lazy, that you've never gotten up to greet anyone when you hear the door open, yet you run like a puppy when we stroll around the block. You've liked to steal the cat's food since you've been here, but it took you a few months before being interested in a little slice of a juicy steak.

I can't wait to get to know you more this summer, Ayaz. Perhaps I'll never know why you insisted on playing some big "hard to get" when we first met, but I suppose it doesn't matter now because you've sure become such a pal.

Love you, bud! I'll scramble some more eggs up for ya soon.

Your hooman,