By Bun Estavillo

I started this day with my usual routine: I took my dog Sunday out for a walk, then went to the supermarket for a quick purchase. After lunch, I brought her with me to a meeting. Now, she is playing her stuffed toy beside me as I write this article.

Tomorrow, another adventure awaits.

Overwhelmed with grief

I never imagined a life like this. I swore to care for a dog again after our family’s beloved yellow Labrador Retriever, Sunshine, passed away in August of 2008. The pain of her loss was so tremendous that I could not even bear to look at any other dog.

Shine, as I called her, was my sidekick, my baby sister. So when she died, I was so lost without her – and I felt that no other dog could nor should ever take her place.

Golden ray of sunshine

Months after Shine passed away, my sister said the house was too sad and empty without a dog and that we needed a new animal companion. I rejected the idea, because I couldn’t bear another heartbreak. Despite my protests, my sister brought home a tiny yellow Lab whom we named Sunday.

I initially ignored Sunday but that puppy had big plans, and she made it her mission to win me over.

When I was at the height of my career in the corporate world and I experienced burnout, I travelled from work to home just to have lunch with Sunday even for just 15 minutes. EDSA traffic be damned. I needed to be with Sunday so that I could calm down and be able to handle my tasks at work.

In 2013, I was looking for a sense of purpose and I considered pursuing my culinary dreams. I inquired about doing volunteer work abroad. I started working on creating my own business. I even thought about having a kid or adopting one.

On most nights, I spend a considerable amount of time studying my plans with Sunday sleeping soundly on my stomach. I went out less and spent more time at home with her.

One evening, while I was reading the volunteer plans Project Abroad sent me and she was snoring loudly beside me. I looked at her and realized, there she was – a sweet creature whose face would light up whenever I came home and wanted nothing more in life than to be with me. Right then and there, I found my answer.

Between 2010 and 2011, I accompanied a co-worker to a psychic who said she wanted to read me, too. I was not interested but I figured, why not? She said I was a very guarded person, but there was a female force who wanted to be in my life and was determined to break down my walls.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure Sunday was that force.

Determined dog

Despite my ignoring her, Sunday persisted in winning me over. From swearing never to have a dog again, I now bring Sunday with me whenever and wherever possible. We’re always together, and it’s rare to see me without her. She’s the center of my universe.

Not only do I consider her my 10-year-old child, but I also think of her as the Chief Furry Officer of my business. Sunday has melted my cold heart.

New Life, good ol’ habits

Eleven years ago, I wrote a tribute to Shine and titled it, “Better Together.” Now, I’m back to writing, celebrating life and Lab.

Here were are, back to the present time. Sunday is still at my feet, waiting for me to wrap this up so we can go out for a walk. Sunday and I are living the dream – always together, as we should be.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s July-August 2020 issue.

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