This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Irene, a native of South Africa. Irene came to Crystal City after being adopted by a Peace Corps volunteer.
Irene and her owner are very close, and Irene follows her everywhere. Here’s what Irene’s owner had to say about their bond:
Irene and I had an interesting start to our relationship. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa in from 2006 – 2008. One night I returned to my host family’s home after dark, and when I got to my door step, Irene stepped out of the shadows and started walking towards me. I immediately thought she was a rat (which were prolific in my village) and almost stomped on her screaming my head off. I stopped mid scream and realized that she was an adorable tiny puppy! I laughed in relief I didn’t stomp the precious puppy to death! At the time she was all skin and bones and teeny tiny. I picked her up and said “You just won the puppy lottery” and since that moment we were inseparable; she went everywhere with me.
At that time I had nine months left of my service. My host family was excited I kept her, and I decided that I was going to show my host family how dogs can be safe fun animals to have around (during Apartheid dogs were used as weapons against black people, as a result there was an understandable fear of them). My family was excited at the prospect of being able to pet a dog and not get bitten. They decided that they wanted to name the dog after me as a way of remembering me after I left. I said no to naming the dog Angie because that was too weird so I agreed to name the dog Irene which is my middle name. After about six months, it was clear Irene was a nervous dog and extremely attached to me. I admit it was a bit foolish to believe that all of my host family’s fears of dogs, which had been reinforced for decades, would dissipate over a couple of months. My host family and I decided it was best for Irene to come back to America with me when I finished my service.
Irene was the first member of my family; Irene and I transitioned from living in a village in Peace Corps together to moving into an apartment in Crystal City and adding my then boyfriend from Peace Corps Travis to our family. Travis and I got married in 2010 and this year we had a baby adding another person to the family. Irene was the start of my family and was there for me in a very lonely time. She is a very special dog and crucial part of our family.
Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet.
Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Arlington and Northern Virginia.