Simone Van Ommeren-Akelman of Casa Grande High School

By SIMONE VAN OMMEREN-AKELMAN
CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL

I’m typically home from school at around 3:15, and I already know what to expect as soon as I unlock my door and walk through the entryway. No matter how my day went, I can always be assured that I will see my 15-pound Jack Russell terrier running toward me at full speed.
Theodora Clementine (also known as Teddy Bear, Teddy Bean, Teddy Spaghetti and a plethora of other random names) came into my life almost five years ago, and I can say, unequivocally, that getting her was one of the best decisions my family ever made. I had met a Jack Russell in 2005 and immediately fell in love with the somewhat bipolar nature of the dogs. After years of pressing and pushing for a Jack Russell of my own, I finally got her.
One of my most favorite attributes that Teddy has is the joy she takes in the simple things in life. Teddy’s favorite items are not jeweled collars, luxury pillows, or a silver bowl for her to eat out of, but instead they are chasing her tail, sticks, worn blankets and helping my mother work in the garden, even though she can’t discern weeds and flowers. Every activity that Teddy participates in, good or bad, she does it with enthusiasm and optimism, which is definitely a feature that I would like to mirror.
Although Teddy is a dog, she is not perfect. But she does not know that. She is well aware of the fact that her small legs and stout body sometimes limit how high she can jump, and she also knows that her favorite pastime of catching bees is not the best quality to have, but this awareness does not serve as a hindrance. If anything, she uses her weaknesses to make her stronger. At the end of the day, she still thinks she’s the most awesome dog in town.
Being a human being, I am prone to make mistakes. I fail tests. I disappoint people. I sometimes forget to turn on my turn signal and occasionally hit my brakes a little too hard. I forget to call people back and, unfortunately, my time management skills are deplorable. But the greatest thing about having Teddy in my life is understanding that no matter what I do or what I don’t do, the love she has for me is unwavering.
I can say, with utmost certainty, that I aspire to be the person that my dog thinks I am.
I think that is probably the reason why I love her as much as I do, along with the fact that she is essentially just a very little person to me. I’ve interacted with so many people who thrive off of bringing others down and pursue the destruction of people. I’ve been hurt by people, and I also have hurt people, which ultimately resulted in the demise of relationships instead of using those problems to bring us closer together.
Being in Teddy’s company is refreshing. She isn’t in my life because she wants something from me, to make fun of me or to hurt me. She is in my life because she simply wants to be there.
And I think that’s probably the best kind of company there is.