National Pet Day is not only a day to celebrate the love that our pets bring into our lives, but also to raise awareness for the animals who are in need of love and awaiting a forever home, in shelters and rescues all over the world. I don't think I've ever fully told the story of how my little one, Sadie, came into my life, so I'm taking this day to share how rescuing her impacted my life.
It's one of those things that you know is meant to be, the way it worked out. I was a little over one year into my career post-graduation, still living at home with my parents, and experiencing major puppy fever. At the time, I was working at a pet-friendly company, and a handful of my co-workers had just gotten puppies. The truth is, I wasn't really sure I was ready for a pup of my own.
The main, major obstacle was that I was still living at home - my parents didn't want a pet living under their roof, which was understandable. They'd be dealing with the responsibility of cleaning up after her, and watching over her while I was at work (it wasn't like they'd leave her in her kennel if they were at home and I wasn't). Palmer was living at home, too, with two big Labrador retrievers and not enough space for a puppy. But still, the puppy fever was strong, and I kept telling myself I'd move into my own apartment soon, and be able to take a puppy in.
I really wanted an Australian shepherd or a border collie, but knew they'd be hard breeds to find at a rescue. pH's mom discovered Sadie at just three-ish months on the Polk County Animal Control website - she'd been found on the side of the road and brought back to the shelter, her paperwork noting that she exhibited a depressed behavior. As a pup (and even now), she looked like she might have a little Aussie or border collie in her, so I sent pH to Lakeland to go take a look. He fell in love the moment he met her, and I got to watch it all happen via FaceTime while still at work. He drove back to our office some three/four hours later, and held her out to me like Rafiki did with Simba in The Lion King, and said, "Here's your pup." We adopted Sadie in March of 2015.
*We ended up doing a DNA swab test on Sadie to discover her true breed(s) - turns out, there are no major signs of Australian shepherd or border collie whatsoever. Instead, her major breeds are chow chow, English setter and German shepherd, along with a slew of other mixed breed lineage.
Because I couldn't take her back to my parent's house, pH's mom agreed to foster her until I'd moved into a place of my own. But, my nerves got the best of my plan - I was kind of scared to live on my own. I'd lived with my ex-boyfriend when I was in college, but he took care of the majority of the bills - I wasn't sure I was financially stable, and was also a little too chicken to take the step forward. April went by, then May, then half of June. pH's mom was getting overwhelmed with raising a brand new pup with two full-grown labs already in the picture, and pH had not been helping out at the time (i.e. playing Destiny on Xbox One instead of making sure Sadie wasn't pooping out in the lanai). So, she told him that if he didn't start taking responsibility for Sadie, she was going to let an interested friend meet Sadie and possibly adopt her. It was the kick in the butt that I needed - because, in reality, it wasn't her responsibility or his responsibility. If I wanted her as much as I said I did, then it was mine.
I kicked it into high-gear. I searched and searched for an apartment whose rent was within my means, and moved myself and Sadie into a studio apartment in late June of 2015.
She's the best thing in my life. If it weren't for her, I don't think I'd be as confidently independent, as responsible or as motivated. And when I come home from a long, tiring day or am ugly crying for whatever reason, she is always there to offer plenty of kisses and just the cuddles I need in order to relax.
She has an amazing personality, more than I've ever seen in an animal before. She's got a kind of 'I do what I want' mentality and has an independent nature, is way too smart for her own good, and is extremely loveable in all ways, shapes and forms. pH says she fits me - you know how they say pets look like their owners? Apparently, she looks like me, with her brindle fur and my black hair and caramel highlights.
So, anywho, this whole post is to not only rave about how wonderful Sadie is and how lucky I am to have her in my life, but to also encourage you (when it's right for you), to bring an animal who is in need of his/her forever home into your life. If you can't right now, then consider giving back to organizations who help these animals - my favorites are the Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control, who offers animal adoption programs and picks up sick and injured animals in the area, and the Animal Coalition of Tampa, who offers spay/neuter programs and affordable vet and vaccination services to pet owners in the area.
With that, I leave you with my favorite memories of Sadie captured on photograph: