How Adopting a Dog Changed My Life

Adopting a Dog Changed My Life

When I moved out of my parents’ house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to eventually adopt a puppy. Growing up, we always had pets at home, so it only made sense for me to carry on the tradition into my new life.

It wasn’t long after we sent off the first rent check when we had a little furry one in our hands. I work from home, and as nice as it is, it does tend to get a little lonely. I was yearning for a companion.

Only a little convincing was needed to get my boyfriend on board. I was up in Boston for a business conference, and my last night there I called him and asked if we could look at puppies the day after I got back. Listening to my co-workers talk about their dogs only made me want one more!

I woke up earlier than usual that Saturday because I was so excited to go to the pet store. Right before we were about to leave, my boyfriend ended up proposing to me! Of course I said YES, but I also said, “…Can we still get a dog today?” To say I was determined is an understatement.

I remember looking at the cute pups available for adoption in the pen. The local humane society brings their puppies to the pet store every Saturday, and it happened to be National Adoption Weekend so there were plenty of little ones running around! Of course they were all adorable, but I wasn’t getting that “feeling.” My fiancé and I agreed it was important to wait for the right dog.

And then I saw him.

He was carried in after most of the puppies had already settled into their pen. He was the smallest pup in the litter, the runt actually, and he sat quietly in the corner while the other dogs played. The second my fiancé plucked him up, my heart melted. He had the sweetest brown eyes and the cutest sprinkle of freckles on his nose. He was perfect.

We held onto him tightly until the papers were signed – there were a lot of people looking to adopt that day, and we wanted to make sure we were the ones taking him home!

We didn’t have any names picked out originally. It was mostly just a game of back and forth until we found one we liked. We ended up naming him Pickles. Not sure why other than we thought it was a cute name for a dog. It seemed to fit him!

Adopting a Dog Changed My Life
The day we adopted him!

The Challenge.

Being a puppy parent to a 2-month old was challenging to say the least. The first few weeks were an adjustment on both ends. Gone were the days of sleeping in and through the night. When puppy’s gotta go, he’s gotta go (if you know what I mean)! On his end, he had a lot of anxiety being by himself in a house with two humans, but eventually he warmed up to us. While we loved that he was getting more comfortable around us, it also meant we were in for some bad puppy behavior!

Since we adopted Pickles, I’ve learned to be a lot more patient. He is a rambunctious fellow, always looking to get into something new. He’s not little and quiet anymore like when we first met him; he’s actually a 50+lb bundle of barks! He’s part Border Collie, which means he’s very, VERY smart. It also means he needs a lot more stimulation than the average dog, and he tends to get destructive when he’s bored (bye, bye apartment damage deposit…) We paid for a private training lesson, and it helped me understand how to better communicate with him, especially since we don’t speak the same language. He’s come a long way with his manners, but we still have a lot of work to do! He’s almost two years old and we’re still working on leash walking (man, he is STRONG) and getting along with other dogs. We’d love to be able to take him to the public park one day, but we’d like him to learn how interact with “strangers” first. I’m excited, though, because we’re signed up for a 7-week behavior training course. I think it will be fun and informative for both us humans and him.

Adopting a Dog Changed My Life

The Reward.

All the behavior issues become minor once Pickles climbs onto my lap and cuddles with me. He has one of the best personalities I have ever seen; he’s hilarious, spunky, needy, and quite the lap dog! When I go upstairs (where he’s not allowed), he cries for me and waits at the bottom of the stairs until I come down. The genuine excitement in his mannerisms and expressions when he sees me never ceases to bring a smile to my face. He likes to pretend he’s my shadow by following me practically everywhere. He takes the word “companion” to a new level.

Because of Pickles, we’re a lot more responsible both financially and personally. Dogs are expensive. His adoption fee was $250, our apartment pet fee was $300, plus we had to buy bowls, food, toys, beds, medication, and treats, and we had to pay for all of his routine puppy vet visits. We have to have a whole separate budget just for him! As far as personal responsibility, we hardly ever leave the house. When we do, we rarely stay out late because we’d rather be at home with him! He depends on us so we like to be there for him.

He’s also kept me active. Well, active-ish. While he could probably use a good run, I am unfortunately not a runner. I try to take him on two to three walks every day, and sometimes we take him to the apartment complex across the street since they have a small fenced-in dog park for him to run around in. I find myself outside and enjoying nature a lot more often than I used to, and it’s a nice change from staring at a screen or TV all day!

Most important of all, adopting him has given me purpose. As I mentioned before, he depends on me and my husband to take care of him. It’s nice to feel needed, and I truly get the feeling that he loves us back.

Adopting a Dog Changed My Life

The Conclusion.

They aren’t kidding when they say a dog is man’s best friend. It’s crazy how an animal can make such a big impact on your life. We’re lucky to have received the amazing experience of watching him grow up, and our bond only continues to grow stronger. He’s been the absolute best companion to my husband and I, and I’m glad we decided to go to the pet store that lovely September day.

I’m probably a little biased, but I’m convinced we have the best dog ever.

Adopting a Dog Changed My Life

P.S. Sorry for the crappy photo quality. iPhone pics, what can I say? 😉

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