Why Adopting A Senior Beagle Was The Best Decision Ever

Why Adopting A Senior Beagle Was The Best Decision Ever

Making a difference in this sweet pup's destiny is the best thing that I have ever done.
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On June 5, 2014, my life changed for the better when the most perfect dog to ever walk the planet ran right into my heart and into my home. When I was a kid, I got my very first puppy, a collie named Jessie. I tragically lost her after six short years due to a wrongly diagnosed ear infection, and I still have not forgiven that veterinarian. I was heartbroken. After my family got over the loss of Jessie, we had to get a companion dog for our sheltie, Snowflake, so we rescued a lab mix puppy from a local shelter and Chase became a part of our family. Unfortunately, Snowflake and Chase didn't get along very well due to Chase's need for all of the humans' attention, and we ended up rehoming Chase to a place where he would be able to get as much attention as he needed.

So we lived the "one dog" life for a while, but we could tell Snowflake was lonely while my sister and I were at school and my parents were at work. After a lot of thinking about what to adopt, we decided to do a good deed and rescue an older dog from a shelter where it may not have any luck with getting adopted. Since I was the one who lost Jessie and then had to give up Chase, I got to pick out the dog. As I walked through the shelter, my heart broke to see all of the dogs with the sad looks in their eyes and to hear the sound of all of them barking, as if to say "please pick me!" My mom pointed me in the direction of some smaller, fluffy dogs, and I liked them, but I really wanted a dog I could do outdoor activities with and take to the barn where I rode horses. I also wanted a dog that wouldn't necessarily be the first one chosen, after all, we were trying to rescue one that was truly in need.

I walked near some larger dogs, and a few lab mixes and German shepherds nearly stole my heart, but I felt a dog panting, and looked up to see what was blowing all of that hot air on me. That's when I saw the dog. "That's the one!" I said excitedly to my mom and sister, who both looked pretty skeptical about the beagle I had just picked out. He had the happiest look on his face and when we were able to take him out to play with in an outdoor pen, he just seemed to be grinning from ear to ear.

I was dead set on bringing this dog home. He was perfect: so sweet, older, and very playful. The shelter was hosting an event that would allow free adoptions in about a week, so we elected to come back and officially fill out the adoption paperwork when it would be cheaper. Secretly, my mom was really wishing that I would change my mind. The research she had done on beagles was not making her want to bring one into the house. Every website said that they would be loud, overly rambunctious, and smelly.

During the week before the event, my mom kept asking me if I was sure about this dog. Honestly, there was just something in my gut telling me that he would be the perfect fit for our family. My mom predicted that he would bark too much or smell too bad and that we'd have to take him back to the shelter. I won't let that happen, I thought to myself, I will wash him every day and train him not to bark if I have to, I'm keeping this dog home with me.

The day rolled around, and we went to the shelter to fill out the adoption paperwork. I decided to name him Rowdy, and was elated to bring him home. We had to wait for him to be neutered and vaccinated, which added another week of waiting onto us. I picked up my paycheck and decided to go shopping and get a bunch of things that he would like. I picked out toys, frisbees, a new collar and leash, and of course a tag with his name and my phone number on it.

When it was finally time to pick him up to come to his forever home, I ran out of school, hopped in my car and drove straight to the shelter, so eager to pick up my new best friend. He smelled pretty bad, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt since he had just lived in a shelter for the past six months. The staff shared that they had found him tied up in a parking lot, starving and shaking. The kind man who escorted Rowdy out to me said with a tear in his eye, "Thank you for taking this dog. He's one of the best we have here and the most overlooked. Take good care of him." I decided from that second that I could not let that man down, I had to turn Rowdy into the perfect dog.

As it turns out, he already was the perfect dog. After a nice bath, I took him up to my room before we could properly introduce him to Snowflake. I found out in the first few seconds not only that he already knew how to sit and stay, but also that he loves human beds, and that was fine with me, I love a dog that will sleep in the bed with me. Before Rowdy, I had never met a dog that literally wagged his tail in his sleep. I could tell he was absolutely ecstatic to have a place to call home. He was also completely house trained, and the quietest dog I had ever met, he literally did not bark once.

When my mom got home from work, she immediately realized how special he was. While the websites talking about his breed may have said one thing, he proved that you should never judge a book by his cover. She quickly fell in love with Rowdy, as did our entire family. We were all a little nervous about how Snowflake would get along with him, but they hit it off as soon as they met.

They both seemed to have a smile on their faces after they were introduced. It was so heartwarming to see Rowdy so happy and healthy and to think about how very unhappy and unhealthy that he was for so very long. I knew that I had made the right choice, and my mom felt really guilty for trying to talk me out of adopting him. In fact, if you ask her about it today, she will deny ever saying one negative thing about Rowdy.

I'm off to college now, so he's at home with the rest of my family, but I definitely miss him the most and look forward to seeing him when I come home. Whenever I video chat with my sister, I make sure to talk to Rowdy for a few minutes. He may not be able to talk back, but I'm sure that he is listening.

After adopting this older, overlooked dog from my local animal shelter, I will honestly say that I will never purchase a dog from a breeder again. Not only is it much less expensive, it's super amazing to be able to have such a great feeling in your heart, knowing that you did a great deed for this animal. The motto of this long story? Adopt: don't shop. There are millions of unwanted, abused, scared, overlooked dogs and cats in shelters just waiting to find the perfect home. A lot of these dogs come to you completely house trained, or knowing commands or manners, and if not, a little TLC goes a long way.

Cover Image Credit: Taylor Hall

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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A Walk Through The Woods That Eased My Pain

After a week of constant pain, a walk through pine flatwoods helped me feel alive and at peace.

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A week of constant pain left me exhausted. All I wanted to do was lie in bed. I didn't want to go anywhere, but my husband wanted to work from the park, so we went. After sitting on the bench for a while, uncomfortable and aching, I remembered sometimes when you're in pain it helps to walk it off, so I decided to take the trail through the woods.

The woods at this park, like most parks in Florida, are made up of various tall pines and low-lying shrubs. It is called a pine flatwood. I walked the path slowly, not in a rush to get anywhere, just there to enjoy it. The pine left a sweet odor. Slash pines and longleaf pines towered above, their long straight trunks topped with long bright green needles that stood against the blue Florida sky.

My back still ached a little but felt much better, so I kept moving. The path weaved through the woods. Partially shaded by the trees. People passed me, but I didn't mind. They were busy exercising; I was busy enjoying. I loved the dense saw palmetto that lined the forest floor. Some woods are darker or mostly brown colored, especially on the floor that is often covered in fallen wood and leaves, but not these woods, these woods are vibrant shades of green, green that makes you feel alive. It made me feel more alive than I had in days.

Typically, when I take walks in the park, I spend time watching the birds, seeing which ones I can identify. This time on the trail there weren't many birds, so my attention was drawn to the pines, palmettos, and other plants instead. Often, these plants go unnoticed, serving as a backdrop to the more exciting parts of nature. But as I turned my attention to the trees, I noticed how stunning they were.

I looked up noticing how their branches spread in front of the sky. Then I looked at the endless palmettos, extending through the woods. The trees towered above me, yet they were a comfort, a shelter, that helped take my mind off the aching. The trees are still and peaceful, helping me to be still too. To stand confidently and breathe, and to also rest, clear my head, and know that it'll all be okay.

I walked through the trees for a while, not wanting to stop. It's important we all learn from trees. In their still, patience they know things that we fast-paced humans often forget in our busy lives. Life needs to be enjoyed, slowed down and still, our minds and our bodies. And when we do, it's healing. Walk slowly, take it in, notice the trees that we often forget to notice because they are still, but that doesn't mean they aren't the wisest of us all.

My aching was not cured, but as I returned from my walk, I felt at peace, rejuvenated, alive. Like the bright green towering pines, I stood proud and breathed in the fresh air.

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