A Dog's Life

A Dog's Life

By Nic Sheff 10/15/11

When my brother told me that the cure for all my ails was a dog, I just blew him off. But then I met Ramona...

Image: 
Ramona Knows Best ThinkStock

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And we’ll always have that—the two of us together. Even though our world is much bigger now. It’s not just me and Ramona, but me and Ramona and Jette (my wife) and her cat, Cole (who she found as a kitten on the streets of Richmond), and our new bloodhound puppy, Rhett Butler (who I found on the Internet and adopted because he was such a half-baked, sickly runt that no one else wanted him). Now they all depend on me, and I depend on all of them.

But I learned it with Ramona: she taught me accountability.

That is, we taught it to each other. And it’s saved both our lives.

So, yeah, you know, I hate to admit it, but my brother was right.

Which means that maybe there’s a part of us that isn’t that completely different after all.

Of course, that’s not to say I’m making excuses for all the bigoted, conservative crap.

But if we can come together over our dogs—well, at least that’s something.

Because if we are capable of that love, we are capable of all love. For my brother, it’s about learning to love people who are different races or sexual orientations than himself. And for me, it’s about learning how to love myself enough that I don’t have to stick a needle in my arm, or drink a quart of vodka just to get through the day.

Because if we have love for one, we can have love for all.

Nic Sheff is a columnist for The Fix and the author of two memoirs about his struggles with addiction, the New York Times-bestselling Tweak, and We All Fall Down. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two hound dogs, and a cat. He is currently working on a novel about sisters growing up in a Northern California cult.