FIVE-SECOND PAWS: Meet Nala My Shar Pei
by Charlotte Liebel © 2011
A couple of summers ago, I brought Nala home to stay with me when my daughter and granddaughter went to Cabo for a Mexico Holiday. Nala is a gentle tempered, rumpled-skinned tan colored Chinese Shar Pei who now resides in Doggies Heaven but will continue to grace the pages of my life.
Nala’s disposition is that of a strong, silent-type breed. She is lovable and extremely devoted to her caregiver. As we walked every day for exercise for at least an hour, I taught her safety rules such that she must ‘Paws’ for five-seconds at every driveway and at street corners before crossing.
It became a game for us to head out the door on the longest leash that walking-dogs could desire because I wanted her to have the feeling of freedom of maneuverability. On the other hand, she was in a new environment with a new task-master. Nala was headstrong and payed no heed to my commands and I, certainly, did not want to have my charge run away.
If we decided to spread our paws and walk in the sands at the ocean, dear Nala was delighted to romp and play in the water so long as I walked in the water with her. This joyful exercise had a double benefit.
Petting this affectionate dog who is endowed with short prickly hair is like making love to a bearded lover who has neglected to shave for several days. The lovely lass painstakingly comes away with raw and pink flesh around checks and chin.
Because of the sandy water and whipping waves, the Shar Pei’s hair comes away softer and the smell of dirty laundry disappears. Nala and I enjoyed hours of close camaraderie as I hugged and stroked her crinkly and softened pelt and cupped my hands around her trusting face ~ her eyes looked hauntingly into mine with pure love.
Nala was patient with me. At first visit, she wanted to jump-up on the forbidden-couch. No matter what I said and how much I scolded it was of little comfort to me to see this hard-headed canine disobey my wishes. She needed a firm command and a little help to mend her ways. Especially at nightfall.
At night, the result of my falling into a trouble-free sleep was to tie a short leash to Nala’s collar and the other end to the doorknob of my bedroom door. Just outside of the door, I fashioned a portable comfy padded bed for Nala. Eventually, our bonding became one of joy and companionship and our fulfillment was immeasurable without the need of confinement.
My dear Nala became so attached to me that, as she learned that it was bedtime, I welcomed the sound of her long hard toenails following me to the door of my bedroom each night. Nala could be trusted to stand guard at my door and never leave it for the comfort of a living room chair, again.
In all confidence, I can say that Nala was now my social companion who walked with me at the Dog Park, hardly ever barked at new friends as long as I welcomed them although she would alert me to a presence at the door when I was unaware. For the same reason that almost all dogs bark when they sense his nearness, Nala was a terror facing the Postman.
Photos of the Chinese Shar Pei will tie my heart in knots any day because of Nala who became my loyal friend. Memories of our walks bring a broad smile to my face as I recall stories about her when she returned home. Nala taught my granddaughter the safety rules we’d practiced so well. Every driveway and corner gave an annoyed reminder and five-second paws jolt.