I Can't Imagine Life Without My Dog

Adopting A Dog Was The Best Decision My Family Ever Made

I can't imagine my life without her now.

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Four years ago, my family decided to get a dog. To make a long-ish story short, we found a shelter 20 minutes away, looked at the different dogs, and found the one for us.

One week later, our new dog, Delilah, was brought to her forever home.

Shani Goloskov

I'll say now that it was not easy at first. Delilah was a rescue who had clearly been abused and/or mistreated in her past. It was heartbreaking to watch her unease around people, how afraid she was to be alone at first, how anxious she was over so many things. It was so, so hard to see how she was terrified of stairs, our clearest indicator someone had hurt her.

It infuriated us that someone could abuse such a sweet, innocent being.

But she got braver and stronger over time. Delilah learned to trust and love us as we loved her. She trusted me to help her get over her fear of stairs. She learned that we weren't going to hurt her. She met and befriended other dogs, which helped her become a more social creature.

Shani Goloskov This is Luna, her best friend!

Delilah wasn't that big on toys at first. Her first and forever favorites have been tennis balls, which are now like her doggy pacifier.

Shani Goloskov Yes, she's half asleep here!

Watching this fearful, anxious pup grow into a happy, more relaxed dog has been the most heartwarming thing over the last four years.

It was amazing to see what love and good treatment could do.

The biggest change was in how she physically interacted with us. Delilah was NOT (and still really isn't) a cuddler dog, and was very skittish about even one-armed hugs. Now, she's learned that hugs and snuggles are how we humans show our affection to her. She's learned to be okay with it, but will also make it clear when she's just not in the mood for snuggles.

I can easily say that adopting Delilah was the best decision my family ever made.

It's so weird now to think about the time before we had a dog. We've all grown so used to Delilah being around - and her fur everywhere. (The level at which she sheds is actually insane sometimes.) It's hard to remember what mealtimes were like before there was a furry face eyeing our food, or what it was like to come home and not have a furry butt wiggling furiously as its owner happily greets us at the door.

I can't imagine how different my life would be without my dog.

I've spent countless mornings on the front step, coffee and book in hand while Delilah happily runs around the front yard sniffing everything. Over the years, that's become a ritual between me and my dog. She's figured out all the different signs of me making my coffee - the sound of the Keurig, the mug I always use, the sugar container opening, a spoon clinking in my mug - and will walk up, eyes big, just waiting for me to turn to her and say, "Ready to go outside?"

Shani Goloskov What I see every time I make coffee

Coming home to her wiggly butt and doggy kisses, even if I've only been gone five minutes, never fails to make me smile. It's the pure happiness, the pure reaction of "I missed you and now you're home!!" that warms my heart. I could be in a terrible mood, but once I open the front door to Delilah's happy face, it all goes away.

Having a dog also is an instant bonder. I've had whole discussions with people I've just met, discussing doggy things and showing pics of our dogs to each other. My boyfriend, also a doggy parent, and I send funny dog videos and cute dog pics back and forth, and my mom and I constantly tag each other in dog videos on Facebook.

Eating is no longer a solitary activity. When I eat breakfast, Delilah will be firmly planted on my left as she waits for waffle crusts. She runs around to everyone during mealtimes, especially when meat or fish is involved, and put on the most pathetic, wide-eyed begging face you've ever seen. And if you're eating chips, pretzels or popcorn? Forget it. She loves the crunchy snacks.

Shani Goloskov Every. Single. Time.

Oh, and my camera roll? Pretty sure it's 90% pics of my dog, with a good chunk of that being pics of her sleeping. It's just too cute.

Shani Goloskov She loves sunbathing. It's like she's a cat.

I could go on and on. Getting a dog has just changed so much.

Bringing home our sweet furbaby was the best thing my family ever did, hands down. I mean, just look at that face!!

Shani Goloskov

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Top 10 Cutest Cat Breeds

These cat breeds are super cute and underrated.
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It seems that the only breeds anyone can actually recognize are those of dogs, cats really don't get enough recognition. There is just as much of a variety of cat breeds as there are of dog breeds, almost anyway, and they deserve love and recognition as well. So, here are the top 10 cat breeds I've deemed as the absolute cutest!

1. Exotic Persian

Exotic Persian cats are one of the cutest breeds in my opinion. Theses are the squished faced cats. The cats that perpetually look grumpy and disappointed. They're also super high-maintenance and believe you're supposed to cater to their every whim. Which, to be fair, you are.

2. Scottish Fold

Scootish Folds are super adorable because they're very unique. They're ears fold over, making them always appear to be begging you for something. They also always look a little bit sad, which, of course, only makes you love them more.

3. Himalayan

Himalayan cats are just magnificent and so prestigious. These cats are fluffy, deserve the best, and expect nothing but the best.

4. British Shorthair

I'm not sure what it is about these cats that makes them so adorable, but my roommate has tried to describe them as "fat and sassy." - Delaney Pulice. She's not wrong. They're pretty chubby and look like they're just a little bit too good for you. In all honesty, what cat isn't too good for us?

5. Maine Coon

These cats are particularly wonderful because they can be giant. I mean, giant. These cats can grown into the sizes of large dogs, which, of course, if everything we could all ever ask for in a cat. Who wouldn't want a giant cat that could probably double as a pillow?

6. Persian

These cats are only a little bit different from Exotic Persians, but there's a difference. Persians tend to have less squished face than Exotics, but every cat is different. The one above is a Silver Persian. He had to eat his food off of a plate because his flat face couldn't fit in a cat food bowl.

7. Munchkin

These tiny little guys never really grow much. Their legs are perpetually short and stubby, making them the ideal cats, because, if you had a choice, wouldn't you want your cat to be either giant like a Maine Coon or tiny like a Munchkin cat? Of course you would.

8. Siberian

These cats are just generally beautiful. They have long, shiny, fluffy coats and are just pretty cats. Plus, they look super cuddly, like they might purr for hours if you brushed them.

9. British Longhair

Another just simply beautiful cat. When you see those posts online that say "This cat is prettier than I am," yeah, that's these cats. They have long, soft coats as well that they like to keep clean. And as all cats do, they look like they're just a little bit above us and we have to cater to them.

10. Ragdoll

Finally, we have Ragdoll cats. These cats look a bit like fluffier Siamese cats. Which, let's face it, Siamese cats aren't necessarily the cutest. However, if you just add a lot of fluff, because the fluffier the better, they become much cuter.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Branch

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From A Rescue Dog: Thank You For Putting Me On A Chain

You tried to keep me chained to a tree, but I found my forever home in someone's arms.

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When I was a puppy, I saw different families come to get my brothers and sisters and take them home. I was sad, but I knew my day was coming. I knew that soon, I would have a family come get me. Then, you came. You picked me. I thought it was the happiest day of my life!

When we first got home, you let me stay inside. I thought I was the luckiest puppy in the world. But, I started having accidents in the house. I didn't know any better. I spent all day inside by myself; what was I supposed to do? I also chewed up a few things: sunglasses, shoes, and a hat to be exact. But, isn't that what puppies do? You fussed at me, a lot. I swear I didn't know it was going to make you mad, or I promise I wouldn't have done it. After a few days, you'd had enough. You took me outside. I thought we were going in the yard to play. I didn't know I'd never go inside again.

You took me to a tree in the backyard and attached a chain to my collar. It was so heavy. I didn't know what was happening. You left me a bowl of food and a bowl of water but nothing else. I didn't have a dog house or any toys. I heard you say that I didn't deserve it. I wish you knew how sorry I was. I hated being outside all by myself. I cried all night. I cried every night for a few weeks, but I eventually gave up. It wasn't doing anything.

You used to come to bring me fresh food and water every day, but after a few months, you began to forget about me. You gave me food and water maybe once a week. Do you have any idea how hot I was in the summer? Especially when you forgot to give me more water. The winter was even worse. I was freezing cold every single night. I'd wake up in the mornings covered in frost.

My whole body ached. Your kids would be outside playing, and they wouldn't come near me anymore. I had fleas. I didn't smell good. I probably looked scary because I was so skinny; you could see almost all of my bones. I was heartbroken. When you'd come outside, I'd bark because I wanted your attention. You didn't care... I lived outside on this chain for almost a year. I was hopeless. I was stuck. My heart was broken. I wished you loved me back.

Then, one day while you were all gone, a lady saw me. Neither of us knew it then, but the second she looked into my eyes, I became hers. She had a place in her heart just for me. She noticed I didn't have any food or water, so she gave me some. She was so nice. I got hugs and kisses; I had forgotten what those felt like. She even let me give her kisses back! The lady left, and I was so sad. I thought about her all night. Apparently, she thought about me all night, too. Because, the next day, she came back.

I saw her talking to you, but I didn't know what was going on. She walked over to me and took my collar off. I was a little confused, but it felt so good to not have my neck weighed down by the heavy chain. I jumped on her and gave her so many kisses. She didn't yell at me like you used to. She just smiled with tears in her eyes. She called me to follow her to her car. I looked for you, but you had gone back inside. I wouldn't ever see you again. This was actually the happiest day of my life.

She took me to her home, and she let me go inside. She put me in the bathtub, and I was scared at first, but it felt so good to be clean. After my bath, she gave me food and water. I ate and began to feel much better. She let me sit on the couch with her, and I fell asleep with her rubbing my belly. I woke up, and she took me outside. I was so scared I wasn't going to get to come back in, but I did! She let me come back in. That night, I slept in the bed with her. I was so happy.

This is my life every day now. I get to love her, and she loves me back. I am so thankful that she saved me. I'm not outside in the heat or freezing cold. I'm not hungry or thirsty. I'm not neglected. I'm not abused. I'm with her. I am taken care of.

I hope you never get another dog. You don't deserve one. But, thank you for getting me. Thank you for leaving me on a chain. Without you, I wouldn't have found my forever home. I wouldn't know what love is. I wouldn't get to love my human every single day. She loves me more than you ever could. So, thank you.

Love,

A Rescue Dog

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