Seven years ago, my dad picked me up from school one day, and casually mentioned that he saw an ad for Shih Tzu puppies over at one of the nearby bakeshops he frequented. Before this point, I’ve begged for a dog for so long, but was always shot down because my brother has asthma and other people at home has a sensitivity to animal fur. I was curious why he mentioned it, and prompted him for more information. I knew this was my big chance, so I begged if we could get a Shih Tzu puppy.
I did a lot of research. I told my family that a Shih Tzu is hypoallergenic, kind, good with kids, and extremely lovable. I also promised that I would handle all the care for this puppy, and would be totally responsible for it. My little sister was about to turn 3-years-old, and I stressed that growing up with a dog would be a good experience for her. (The secret weapon was using my little sister as a reason, haha!)
Miraculously, I convinced them, got approval, and we called the owner to reserve a puppy.
I first met Archer on the second of March in 2014—months before I would start attending university. At that time, I was 16 years old. It was a hot, sunny afternoon, and we stepped inside the bakeshop. There were two Shih Tzu puppies—one was brown and white all over, and the other one was white with brown ears (Archer’s sister, Amber!) The owner, who graduated from my high school and the college that I would then attend, told us that the brown one was named “Archer” because De La Salle University (whose mascots are a green archers) won the UAAP Championships that year.
I didn’t bother changing his name. I thought it was perfect and that it fit his personality! With happy hearts, we brought Archer home—not knowing how much of an impact this small, quiet dog would make on all of our lives.
We hit it off immediately! Best buds right away. He slept in my room, I would bathe him, we’d play every day, and he’d follow me around. There were good days and there were bad days. The first time he got sick, I was so worried. I felt like a bad human for Archer.
Throughout the years, we’ve shared memories together: mundane days when we’d just lounge around; exciting days, when we’d go out to a little road trip; scary days, when he got dog-napped and when he mysteriously got trapped on the roof; sad days, when it rained too hard or when the fireworks were too loud; and happy days, which was almost every day that I got to spend time with him.
He became my anchor and my rock. I learned how to be more responsible. I learned to be kinder and to take breaks because of him. I learned to make sacrifices and actually care for something other than what was expected from me. I learned how to take care of myself better because I knew that he depended on me.
I learned how to be a better person because of Archer. He brought me so much joy and comforted me on my dark days. He’s the only one who can calm my anger, make me laugh, and cheer me up in record time.
He was the best dog I could’ve ever asked for.