Sebastian and Me

Posted by Josh Cai

As a kid, I’d always dreamed about having a dog. To exploit this, my mom made bets with me – she would promise to buy me a dog if I met some goal (e.g. get a high enough SAT score). It’s like your classic ice-cream-for-all-A’s bribery but with much, much higher stakes.

My mom owes me two dogs (and three bunnies, actually). I used to ask her when we were going to get a dog, and she would always tell me something like, “You can barely take care of yourself. How would you ever take care of a dog?!” At some point, my naive optimism wore off, and I realized she was never going to get a dog for me, so I decided I would do it myself.1

Committing to adopting a dog was hard. Even after I had told a friend of mine that I was set on getting one, new doubts would pop into my head. What if I’m not a good owner? What if he has separation anxiety when I’m away? What if he poops on my bed?

In the end, my friend convinced me to go to the Plano Animal Shelter with her, and…


Meet Sebastian.2 He’s a 6 year old Miniature Schnauzer with the appetite of a horse.

I’ll admit, the first couple of weeks were tough. Dealing with his various medical conditions (a skin infection, an ear infection, an intestinal parasite, and constant allergies) left me feeling exhausted. After those cleared up, he received his heartworm treatment, which required steroids that had a side effect of causing him to urinate more. I later learned (the hard way) that he also had to poop more often (and at unpredictable intervals).

But it was all worth it – there’s no feeling quite like coming home and having your dog just want to lay in your lap. And even though it’s true that I can barely take care of myself, being responsible for Sebastian has actually helped me to take better care of myself. (Having a regulated sleep schedule may sound boring, but I think it’s one of the best things ever.)

People say that dogs look like their owners, and we’re no exception. Sebastian has black hair, but if you look closely, he also has some white hair sprinkled across his fur. Guess who else has black hair with white hair sprinkled throughout? Uncanny, I know. Here are a few other ways we’re similar:

We don’t like to waste food –
In fact, Sebastian might be able to eat the same portion sizes I can, despite him being 1/8th of my body weight.

We can tell when there’s medicine in our food –
When I first started giving Sebastian pills, I would just toss them in his food. This worked, but only for a little while. After a couple of days, he started to chew his food, spit it out, examine the contents, and eat only the dog food.

When I was younger, my dad had slipped some medicine into my soup and didn’t tell me, expecting me to drink it without noticing. I did, in fact, notice, but I still drank it anyways because I knew it was good for me.

We’re both dogs –
He’s a literal dog. I’m a zodiac dog.

Sebastian learning to stand?

Sebastian actually learning to stand:

[1]: When I told my mom I was getting a dog, she still tried to convince me to not get one. Luckily for me, I entered my rebellious phase rather late, so I didn’t listen to her.
[2]: Why the name “Sebastian”? That was his name at the shelter, and I’m not very good at naming things, so…

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