Let’s Begin (with a dog story)

Ren’s story is rather remarkable (in my opinion). I adopted her at 3.5 years of age, and all I know about her life prior to becoming mine is that she was in a shelter for the duration of those 3.5 years. She was in a facility that euthanizes dogs who have been there for a certain period of time, and her time was up; but for some reason, they couldn’t do it. Instead, they transferred her to another shelter in town, which is a no kill shelter.

Meanwhile, I was still reeling from losing both my dog and cat in the same year. I was fortunate, as they both lived long and full lives with me; but despite my intention to remain pet-free in order to protect my heart from being broken again, there was something missing from my life.

Enter my dog-loving best friend. She thinks she knows me better than I know myself, and at times she does. This story is an example of one of those times.

She sent me this picture:

Ren at Shelter

…and my heart fluttered at the sight of those ears. Still, I said “No, I’m not ready.”

Nevertheless, she persisted, and I stared at that picture all day. By the next morning, I’d convinced myself she was meant to be mine. So, I submitted an application, and the shelter contacted me within the next 20 minutes to tell me that my vet gave me a glowing recommendation and I could pick her up that afternoon.

The past 2.5 years have been challenging (but rewarding). It’s hard to house train a grown dog who has never lived in a house. I lost a lot of personal belongings (including one of my favorite books, the cushions to my brand new couch, and my beloved book-signing pen), and was forced to invest in a carpet cleaner. I finally made the difficult decision (for me) to crate her while I’m gone. Neither of us like it, but it’s a necessary evil.

She takes up more of the bed than I do (which is really saying something, because I take up a lot of space), she poops on the sidewalk more than in the yard; and she gets really bark-y when I talk on the phone. She doesn’t appreciate people walking by the house. She also has no respect for my intention to further my education, and expresses it vocally during study time.

The way she groaned and wriggled when she felt what it was like to sleep on a real bed for the first time really has made it all worth it. You see, it’s all about managing challenges. While she’s caused a great deal of headaches for me, at the end of the day (even when she’s been a bad girl) I can’t look at that cartoon dog nose, or those ears, without melting into a big puddle of love.

In fact, I wish I could approach challenges I face with other humans half as diplomatically.

She’s worth every challenge. She deserves a happy life, and I’m grateful to be the one who provides it to her.

If you’d like to keep up with Ren and her life, you can follow her on Instagram under the handle @rentherescue

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