When I still a kid, Pa would take me on bike rides.
He’d go through the local cemetery and nearby neighborhoods. When he’d see a friend or co-worker, he’d stop to talk. And they’d take forever. While on the bike, I’d see dogs and puppies. I’ve always wanted to have one. But it has always been out of the question.
One time, before going home, Pa took a detour. It was like him to do that.
There we were outside of a house I’ve never been to before. But Pa wasn’t getting off the bike. He wasn’t ringing the bell or even knocking at the gate. But he did call out to someone.
It sounds like an old person’s name. It may well be the female version of Andres, who’s also one of our country’s national heroes. So I expected an old woman to come out of the door. Or a woman.
Suddenly, a grey four-legged beast came out of the backyard. It began yapping and jumping. Pa kept repeating the name and she kept going crazy. All while this was happening, he told me something that stunned my five-year old self.
“That there is our dog. She’s really ours.”
From what I gathered, before I was born, my father’s parents lived with my family. Pa’s brother bought a puppy and brought it to the house. My grandma named her “Andresa,” in honor of the place where she was found: San Andres Bukid.
My grandparents went back to their home in the province. They couldn’t bring the puppy with them so they left her with the family. Andresa lived in the house as the little one of the family. But it wasn’t long after there was to be one more little one. And that would change her living condition.
With my arrival, she was kind of like my companion. We were practically the same age, differing only by months. We’d grow up together. Wouldn’t that be cool? Instant best friend!
But the doctor said no. My frequent trips to the hospital and one diagnosis lead to the conclusion that dog hair was making me sick. If we kept her, my condition could worsen. So something had to be done.
Pa arranged for one his friends to take Andresa into their home. Since then on, if the current owner of our dog would have to leave for good, Pa would look for the next family to take care of her. He always knew where she was. So he’d visit now and again.
From the day I learned that we did have a dog, I’ve always asked Pa to visit Andresa. Especially when I was with him.
Strangely, even though I’ve seen her many times as a kid, I’ve never been able to tell what kind of dog she was. Whenever I see the neighbor’s retriever, I’m reminded of Andresa. Maybe she comes from the same family. But I’m not sure. I don’t know what she really looked like at all.
All I could remember was she was grey—tall, short, thin, fat, hairy, or curly are lost to five-year old me. Even grey I question since her caretakers may not have been giving her proper baths. According to my brother, who also can’t remember what she looked like, says her fur was kind of cream colored. Plus, he has never seen another dog with that color. And no, no one in the house has a picture of her.
Identifying Andresa may be impossible but at least I’m certain of what her name is.