Dogs are like people too, you know. Especially Doug.
1. "Ur not allowed to wake me up on a Monday unless it's with food."
7. "I told u I'm a lightweight."
9. "When the person behind u keeps kicking ur seat."
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Shortly before my husband and I officially moved out onto our own, he surprised me with a puppy in hand on the morning of our anniversary. Moving out, tackling college, and everything in between, I thought another huge responsibility was the last thing I needed. However, in reality, Oakley, the lab/Australian shepard/collie mix, was exactly what I needed to get back to "me."
He provides emotional support
One of the most obvious reasons is how much emotional support dogs, (and other respective animals) can provide. His paws have been accidentally stepped on, and he certainly isn't a fan of the forced flea/tick medication doses, but less than 30 seconds later, he is without fail immediately by my side again, tail wagging and ready for more kisses. Although he is not trained or certified as an ESA, it's without a doubt he has effectively (and unconsciously) combated random anxiety attacks or feelings of being alone.
He requires being cared for
You'll heavily judge every crazy fur mama, as did, I until you become one. Getting Oakley immediately got me consistently back on my feet and forced me to ask myself, "What does he need today?"Even simple, easy tasks like taking him out to run/go to the bathroom had me excited and forced me to find a motive in the day to day activities. I loved no longer having even the mere choice to be unproductive. Don't want to start your day? Well, Oakley needs his day started, so let's get moving.
He serves as protection
It's no surprise how far a dog's loyalty will go to protect their owner. For decades, specially trained dogs have had life-saving responsibilities assigned to them. Even being married, my husband and I's schedules vary significantly to where it is not uncommon for me to be alone. The slightest sound or shadow from outside our door immediately initiates barking. In the bathroom taking a shower? He's there. Knowing that Oakley is looking out, even when I get carried away with tasks like cooking dinner, always calms my nerves.
He's become something to look forward to
The nice thing about having Oakley is regardless of how my day goes, I know exactly how it is going to end. Whether I passed an exam with flying colors or got the lowest grade in the class, I know what waits for me when I open the door at home. After a long day, nothing resets my mood like walking into a face that is just as happy and excited to see me!
He encourages bonds with others
If you want your social interaction to sky rocket: get a puppy. No, I'm serious. You'll have people wanting to come over and visit "you" (let's be real… your puppy), like it's your last day on Earth. For me, this was exactly what I needed. Getting Oakley had family members constantly checking in to see how he was growing, learning, etc. Not only did this encourage more interactions with family and friends, but it also "livened" my husband and I's home life. Instead of the "normal" weekend nights consisting of Netflix and MarioKart, (which are enjoyable in their own respective ways), spending our nights playing Monkey in the Middle with our new four-legged friend has proven much more entertaining.
So ideally was it the right time to get a dog? Probably not. However, adding Oakley to my small little family combated anxiety and depression in ways I wouldn't have ever thought possible.
From epic school closures to hundreds of flight cancellations — Snowmageddon took no prisoners in Washington. Like an ultimate game of freeze tag, it blustered through Seattle and the surrounding Puget sound areas — putting everyone's lives on pause. Things that normally wouldn't have happened — happened: Snow reached record heights, delivery trucks jack-knifed, grocery stores emptied, and power outages left thousands in the dark. In North Bend — where the snow reached 16 to 24 inches, the Washington National Guard was called to help save a man trapped in his home located down a snowed-in drive way. It's been an unusually rough couple of weeks so far for Washingtonians. But through the storm I've learned some very valuable lessons:
1. Always be prepared --- stock up on groceries early.
I will never wait the day before a storm hits to buy groceries again. During Snowmageddon, parking spaces were almost non-existent and the lines of nearly every grocery store spilled down the aisles. Soccer moms fought over the few remaining carts. As children (and possibly cashiers) pondered if the world was coming to an end.
2. Sleep is your best friend --- and worst enemy.
Being snowed in for these past two weeks has allowed me to enjoy some of the best sleep of my college career. In addition to a daily 8-hour rest — I've also been able to get in a few power naps. But I've learned if you sleep too much you can miss out on the winter wonderland that awaits outdoors. Or procrastinate on your assignments. So it's best to keep one's schedule in tact and set an alarm.
3. Many Western Washingtonians can't drive --- especially in snow.
Videos of sliding cars on icy hills and slick streets in Seattle can be found on YouTube. While those maybe entertaining — what's not funny is the hundreds of car accidents that occurred during Snowmagedden. The main comment from authorities and drivers alike is that too many people were driving too fast for the conditions. Like seriously, people. Slow down.
4. Candles over everything.
As a child, I remember my mom would light vanilla scented candles whenever our went power out. No matter how scary the storm or how cold we felt in the darkness — I'll never forget how the warm glow of the flame and delicious scent always made me feel safe. Whether you prefer wax, soy or flameless have a candle nearby for instant light and security.
5. Have games and activities on deck.
If you have a candle or lantern handy — you'll find games like Scrabble, Charades, Glow in the dark Air hockey and Cards against Humanity can be fun to play in the dark.
6. Disasters really do bring people together.
I work part-time at Safeway and am fortunate to have a manager who cares about employees. When the heavy snow hit and everyone began making calls, my manager drove people to work. Even my co-workers who weren't fond of him were appreciative. Throughout the week, I heard stories of people checking in on seniors, neighbors sharing food, strangers helping others dig out stuck vehicles and temporary homeless shelters opening up around the area. Proof positive that Snowmageddon may have chilled our bodies — but it hasn't frozen our hearts.