I’ve been around dogs my whole life. My dad races sled dogs, so we had 15-20 dogs or more for most of my childhood, but they weren’t pets. Family and friends had dogs, so I certainly wasn’t a stranger to them. But until two years ago, I had never had a pet dog of my own. Then, in July 2013, Dave and decided to adopt a dog. We had recently graduated college, gotten engaged, and moved into a new apartment. Dave had a new job, but I hadn’t found one yet. We thought it would be the ideal time for adopting a dog, so I could make sure our dog was comfortable and happy with us before leaving her all day to go to work.
I had been scouring the Humane Society website for weeks. One day, I saw a dog I knew I wanted to meet. She was one of three puppies brought in together, but she was the only one from the litter left. She was five months old, adorable and 20 pounds soaking wet. The employees at the Humane Society warned us that she seemed anti-social toward both humans and other dogs. They warned she could be aggressive toward other dogs and should be watching carefully around children. We ignored them, and brought her home anyway. We named her Princess Leia, Leia for short. Can you tell my husband likes Star Wars?
I’ve never known any human being to be so wrong in my life. Leia is the least anti-social dog I’ve ever met. She adores people. When approached by someone new, her tail wags like crazy and she tries to jump up to greet them. She’s anxious to play with new dogs when she meets them, no matter how big or small they are. I’ve seen her play excitedly with everything from huge Great Danes to 5 -pound puppies.
Adopting a dog and being a pet owner has been quite an adventure. It has not been pleasant every moment. Sometimes her over-abundance of energy is less adorable and more annoying. Luckily she’s only 25 pounds, because she has no regard for personal space and assumes that sitting directly on top of someone is always fair game. But the small annoyances have been far outweighed by awesomeness. Since I had never had a pet dog, I had no idea someone could love a pet dog so darn much. We don’t have children, so I feel comfortable considering Leia my child.
She has changed our life in that we always have to be home after work to take her outside, so we skip the after-work happy hours. It’s made traveling more difficult, and it can be expensive to board her. But it’s also changed our life in that there is always someone waiting for us when we get home after work. Even though we’ve left her all day, she’s thrilled to see us – tail wagging, face smiling. She doesn’t hold grudges, she doesn’t get mad at us. There’s nothing she’d rather do than snuggle with her mom and dad, besides chase squirrels, that is.
The girl is definitely spoiled. She sleeps happily at the foot of our bed every night. She probably eats more human food throughout the day than she does dog food. There are never a shortage of toys to play with, balls to chase, or bones to chew.
When Dave and I started talking about becoming pet owners, we knew adopting a dog was the direction we wanted to go. Yes, we could have walked into a local pet store or breeder and bought a nice dog. But dog shelters and Humane Societies are filled with dogs who need homes. Most of them probably haven’t done anything wrong to deserved being abandoned. Dogs in shelters aren’t riddled with behavior problems. Leia came from a shelter and was deemed anti-social and aggressive, and she’s literally the sweetest dog I’ve ever met.
Today is National Dog Day, which was started to educate the public on the number of dogs that need to be rescued. These are animals that need a second chance and will be grateful to be taken home to a loving family. If you’re considering becoming a dog owner, I encourage you to check the local shelters and Humane Society for the newest member of your family.
Do you have a dog? How have they become a part of your family?
JOIN THE TRIBE!
Sign up to get a list of my favorite tools and resources for staying productive!