Happy National Dog Day!

26 Aug

Neuronano ordered me to suggested that I write about today as it’s a very special day for me.  Today is National Dog Day!  It’s a day for us to celebrate our furry friends of the canine persuasion.  More specifically, it’s a day to appreciate all the wonderful things dogs do for us including providing love and companionship, helping people with disabilities, enforcing the law, and providing entertainment through an uncanny ability to play a number of sports.  National Dog Day is also a day to bring awareness to the far too large number of dogs still searching for their forever homes.  So I wanted to share my story.

Growing up, I was the kid who LOVED dogs but had parents who didn’t quite feel the same way.  I had to rely on little bouts of visiting friends and family to get all my dog love out.  So it was no surprise to them when I became adultish (24) that I would enter the world of dog ownership.  To be honest, the decision to get a dog was the equivalent of having a child to me.  I was both nervous and excited to bring a new furry child into my home.  Of course I would love it, but what if I didn’t have enough time for it. Could I afford it (pet food, vet visits, boarding, etc.)?  Would I be a good dog parent?  It may seem silly, but I think these are important questions to ask before considering dog (or any pet) ownership because while animals aren’t quite like having a child, you are still bringing a living creature into your home that’s going to require a lot of care and attention.  But I took the plunge on July 16, 2006.

Tootsie's first Halloween (with me)

That was the day I headed over Centre County PAWS with the intention of meeting (but not committing to) a particular dog.  When I first heard about Tootsie, it was shortly after another dog I had been eyeing had been adopted.  A friend told me about a dog that had been at PAWS for many months because she had lost her front paw in a farming accident.   Being somewhat of a unique person myself, I thought it was only fitting that I’d have a unique dog.  So as I said, I headed on over to PAWS to “meet” Tootsie thinking I could find out if she was compatible with me and my lifestyle.  What I learned is that you should NEVER go visit a dog if you aren’t ready to adopt because one you see their sweet faces, you’re going to want them all.  Two weeks later, I took Miss Tootsie home.

Spending Valentine's Day together in 2010

Some people have qualms about adopting a rescue animal because they think their new pet will have difficulty adjusting (admittedly, sometimes this is true).  I was particularly concerned about this with Tootsie as she was very attached to her foster mom, Julie.  Julie even recommended I hold her on the car ride home (someone else was driving), so I did.  But all of this was unnecessary.  From the second I took her in my arms, her ears perked up as if to say, “Where are we going?” rather than “Where are you taking me?”  She didn’t cry that night or any night there after about missing her foster home.  And when I saw Julie a few months later at a PAWS event, she jumped up on my leg looking for comfort as she tends to when she meets strangers.  I felt bad about that but Julie assured me that she liked to see that.  “That means they’ve found their forever family,” she told me.

Over the years, Tootsie and I have been through a lot together.  I finished grad school, suffered two months of unemployment (I know, not really a big deal in today’s economy), lived with her and the contents of my old 2 bedroom apartment in 1 bedroom (not an apartment, really ONE bedroom), and finally moved to Maryland, and I started a new job.  We survived Snowpocalypse of 2010, the ridiculous heat wave of 2011, an earthquake, and this coming weekend, we are hunkered down in my apartment in preparation for Hurricane Irene.  Tootsie’s a pretty go with the flow dog and has weather the storm of numerous moves and life changes as well as actual storms quite well.  In fact, I think she’s done more to calm my nerves than I have for her.  There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t reveal in how lucky we are to have found each other.

So to conclude, I hope you spend today cherishing your furry friends.  And if you are thinking about getting a dog, remember to seriously think about the commitment it takes to care for a dog, and then consider adopting!  Your best friend could be waiting for you right now!

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One Response to “Happy National Dog Day!”

  1. neuronano August 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Aw, this actually made me tear up, even though I already knew the story of how you two met. I’m so glad Tootsie has you in her forever family :o)

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