Like most families, we had a dog when I was growing up. A small dalmatian with brown spots, Coco, was a sixth member of the family. After she passed away when I was fifteen, my parents tried once or twice to adopt a new dog but it was just never the same. When I was eighteen I moved to a different city for college and of course, living in dorms and apartments, was never really able to get a dog of my own.
Fast forward 5 years, after Danny and I had been living together for a while and realized that we owned our home and didn’t need anyone’s permission, we decided it was time to get a dog, and dog rescue was the way to go. I looked up everything we would need for our new dog on www.petside.com. We went to about 6 different Humane societies to find a dog that suited us. We got pretty discouraged after no luck and went home pooch-less.
A few days later we went to the local pet store for some cat supplies and the Humane Society had two dogs there available for adoption. We both looked down at this sweet brindle dog with dark brown eyes and instantly knew that we found her. Just two miles from our house! We took her out for a walk and got to know her better, went home for the night and talked it through, and the next day went back and adopted her. It’s been three months now and she has us both wrapped around her finger. I knew that getting a dog would change my life for the better, but I never realized just how much.
Here are just a few things that I love about having a dog:
Waking up early
I use to love sleeping in. Until Sadie, the more hours I clocked, the happier I was. Now I have this little gal who needs simple things in the morning, like to use the bathroom and stretch her legs. In just three short months, I’ve gone from moaning and groaning every morning to watching the sun come up and feeling a sense of overwhelming love as I watch her happily prance around the backyard soaking in the morning.
Of course, I have to mention the obvious – walks! Putting some of Sadie’s needs first have pushed me towards healthier habits. We take daily walks (sometimes twice a day) that do just as much good for me as they do for her. It gets our blood pumping, she loves all the new smells and faces and I get out of the house for a while.
Someone who encourages you
This is going to come off as cheesy, but just bear with me: she makes me want to be a better person. The way she looks up at me, with her big brown eyes and tongue flopping out of one side of her month, I just want to be the person she sees. Whatever I love about myself I see reflected in her and whatever habits I want to change I want to change so she never sees them.
A sense of community
Even though we have a fenced-in backyard that Little Miss has full run of, I still try to take her to the dog park about 3 or 4 nights a week. This gives her a chance to really stretch her legs and to socialize with other dogs. And while she’s off taking a dip with a Goldendoodle or gnawing on a Beagle’s ear, I get the chance to talk to all the other dog people in my community. It’s a great way to foster new relationships and get to know people from different walks of life.
Changing a life
Yet another cheesy one I know, but there are so many dogs that get euthanized each day in the United States and while it seems insignificant, taking home one dog makes a difference! We chose to adopt a dog (2.5 years) rather than a puppy because adults get adopted at much lower raters and while she doesn’t have the cute puppy breath, she also doesn’t chew up our whole house, was already potty-trained and had already grown into her personality, which meant no surprises for us.
In the end, if you have room in your home and heart, adopting a dog from your local Humane Society or shelter is an excellent way to change two (or more!) lives for the better.
Editor’s Note: If you’ve considered adopting a dog, but don’t want to deal with a younger dog, think about a saving the life of a senior dog. Check out Susie’s Senior Dogs, and be sure to follow them on Instagram and Facebook, too! Some of my favorite daily social media posts come from Susie’s!