Those of you who attend the Ojai Valley School may have heard of, or perhaps even been lucky enough to encounter, the dog Fin. Fin is no ordinary dog. He belongs to the head of the girls dorm, Ms. Megan, and it is perhaps from her that he has acquired his original qualities.
My first encounter with Fin took place the first week of school, during a dorm meeting. Ms. Megan’s sister was recalling a cautionary tale of how, one day, she was bending down in order to give him a loving cuddle, and was snapped at in the close proximity of her face. It was at this point I decided I would avoid Fin at all costs.
For those of you who don’t know, and I’m guessing the majority of you don’t, I am a dog lover. In fact, I love all animals (except insects and snakes, but let’s face it, not very many people like them either). However, the thought of being bit in the face, even if the dog is toothless, is not particularly pleasing to me.
Unfortunately, my plan to avoid what I thought was a dangerous dog did not exactly follow through. One night, which was an especially terrible night, the fire alarm in the girls dorm decided to go off an amazing three times. Now imagine the fire alarm from your high school, the nightmarish one that never stops. Then imagine yourself sleeping peacefully, only to be startled awake and pulled from your cozy bed for a fire drill. We were not happy.
The first time the alarm went off that night, there was chaos as all the girls attempted to go through two doors at once. Ms. Megan was standing off to the side in one of the hallways, ushering us along. For some reason, probably just because I was the closest one to her, she thrust Fin’s leash into my hands and told me to take him outside.
Deciding to put on a brave face, I held Fin at arms length and escorted him to the outside. Instead of ruthlessly attacking me, as I foolishly expected, Fin huddled against my legs and looked up at me with the sweetest puppy dog eyes one will ever see. Besides my two dogs back home, because well, no one can beat them. Not even Fin.
At that precise moment my resolve to avoid Fin dissolved, and I instead decided that he would be my best friend. Of course, surrounded by amazing people at school and in classes, that did not exactly happen. However, whenever I do see the wonderful dog Fin, he brightens my day.
Without even meaning to, I have become that annoying person who uses the baby voice when around animals. I promise I only do it with Fin. I won’t lie, there are a few exceptions. I also bend down and scratch his head.
When he’ll let me that is.
But the lesson contained within the ramble of this story is not that Fin is a nice dog, even though he is. The lesson is that you should make decisions about whether or not you want to be around someone based on your own experiences, not someone else’s.