A year ago today, I made one of the best decisions in my life.
I adopted Harper.
She was from a litter of nine puppies that survived parvovirus – The Chimney Sweeps, the shelter named them. All black lab mixes, all looking identical. I had eyed the ad on their website for several days, debating on if I really wanted a dog and if that was the litter I wanted to choose from. By the time I finally decided to pull the trigger, there were only two 15 week old puppies from the litter left. I petted on both of them and took a lap
or three around the shelter to see if it felt right or if any other dog had caught my eye.
Finally, when nothing else had jumped out at me, I went back just to watch the two puppies. They were both a little drowsy but still very attentive. One of them was more eager to come to the edge of the cage to be pet. The other wasn’t afraid but sat back and watched every move. She eventually wandered over to see what was going on. But even when I was petting her sister, she watched me. When I stepped back to watch them interact, she watched me. When I moved around the cage, she watched me.
I had found my dog.
Just as a side note to all you emotional readers, since I made it a point to get any and everything I needed to raise Harper from Pets Inc, I would check on the sister when I would go back. Mainly out of guilt, as it was hard to leave the last of the litter there by herself. But a week or so later, I’m happy to report that she was eventually adopted.
It’s funny looking back through her pictures in my phone. It’s hard to imagine her being as small as she was. Or how she got to be as big as she is now.
She’s been my first dog I’ve had all to myself… although my mom likes to claim her in the pictures she puts in her newsletter… and my step dad has a soft spot for her given the amount of food he shovels down her throat when we go back to visit. She’s taking me through the
frustrating trials and tribulations of house training a dog. Looking back, it wasn’t that bad, as she had it down within a week or so. But it sucked at the time.
She’s been amazingly easy to train and teach right from wrong. She stays, sits, lies down, rolls over, speaks, shakes (with both hands), gives high fives (with both hands), crawls, and stays. That’s probably the trick that impresses the most people. If I tell her to stay, I can put food anywhere near her, and she’ll leave it alone until I tell her it’s okay. Typically, if there’s a trick to teach her, she’s good to go within 24 hours. We still struggle with pulling a little hard on the leash when we go for a walk. But if that’s my biggest complaint so far, I think I’m doing okay.
I’m convinced any dog after her will probably raise hell just to make up for how easy she’s been.
She’s accompanied me on my first move, to my first apartment, and hangs out with me during my first time really alone in this big ol’ world. And in return, I take her to the dog park every day I don’t work so that she can harass the other dogs not bigger or more outgoing than her.
But it’s been a good year with her.
And we’re just getting started.
- Travel to Hawaii
- Own a cabin in the mountains
- Cut back on Facebook/Twitter/Useless-Internet-Surfing
- Clemson season tickets
- Run a half-marathon
- Clemson stats website
- Keep a daily journal
- Adopt a 2nd dog
- Who: Harper, myself, and a new puppy
- When: If I think about it too much, I want to go out this weekend and get a new puppy. The last time I was in Chapin, I had to walk away from several cages at Pets Inc because I wanted to leave with one. Realistically, I’d like to wait until Harper is a couple of years old and has settled down and matured just a little bit. But we’ll see!
- Where: Part of me wants to help out Pets Inc. Another part wants to help out Raleigh’s rescue scene. Either way, the dog will be with Harper and I in Raleigh. My apartment allows two dogs and doesn’t currently have a weight limit. So I’d be good on that front.
- Why: I refuse to be one of those people that refers to my dog as my “child.” I am not a “father.” My parents don’t have a granddog or anything ridiculous like that. But, even though I have no first hand experience with kids of my own, I feel like my reasoning for wanting a second dog follows similar logic to why parents want more than one child. First, it would give Harper company during the day. Not that she has major separation anxiety now but having a buddy is always a good thing. Second, if she’s a little older and calmer when I get a puppy, I feel like she would help out in training another puppy. A mentor or role model, if you will. Third, for the day (very far down the road into the future) when Harper gets too old to carry on, I think a younger dog will make for a much easier transition. We won’t talk about that one anymore though since she’ll live forever. And lastly, there are always puppies to adopt at local shelters, so I like helping out. Giving another dog a good home is a great thing to do. And hopefully, when that time rolls around, I’ll have had another amazing adventure to name my new one after!