“A new leash on life”

My mom and I in Alaska (June 2006)

When I graduated college, my mom and I went on an Alaskan cruise. It was an unforgettable experience. Beautiful scenery, interesting culture, and best of all, a week with my mom. Although I will always have those memories, my mom insisted on also buying me my first and would-be-only designer purse as a graduation gift. I, however, had something different in mind. My very own dog; a puggle.

There I was, two weeks after graduation, 21 years old, jobless, and living back at home with an 8-week old puppy named Bella. At the time, I didn’t consider Bella to be a rescue, but shortly after, I learned on the evening news that the “breeder” we purchased her from was arrested for animal cruelty. So sad.

Three years later, my husband, Brian, and I adopted Josie, a beabull (beagle/bulldog). Josie is the mother of our city’s mascot, Parker, and was found wandering the streets of Elyria pregnant. We were interested in adopting one of her puppies, so the city directed us to the local rescue, A New Leash on Life. By the time we called, her puppies had been adopted out to loving homes (yay!) and only Josie remained. Brian was optimistic, but I wasn’t sold on adopting a dog that had just delivered seven puppies. That is until I met her. It was truly love at first sight when we met Josie at her foster parents’ home. She has such a calm, gentle, and immediately loving personality.

Josie, 4 (left), Bella, 6 (right)

Years later, Bella and Josie are still very much a part of our family, although it was an adjustment for them when we brought our daughter home. They were downgraded from our bed to their crates at night, patience with Bella’s barking wore thin, and evening walks took a hiatus for a few weeks. But their love for us never changed.

No matter how bad a day is or how long we’ve been away, they are always happy to see us. Dogs have a knack for being great listeners too, which I’ve taken full advantage of during my maternity leave. Enzo, the dog character in the New York Times bestseller, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, sums this sentiment up perfectly:

“I cannot talk, so I listen very well. I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another’s conversations constantly. It’s like being a passenger in your car who suddenly grabs the steering wheel and turns you down a side street.”

A relationship between a pet and its owner can only be appreciated by fellow pet owners. If you are thinking about expanding your family with a four-legged member, consider adoption. Is there risk with rescuing an animal? Of course. But, if you do your research and take the time to find the right pet, you can end up with your diamond(s) in the rough. We certainly did.

Note: A New Leash on Life is also seeking foster homes, so if you’re not ready for a lifetime committment, consider a temporary one.

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