Having A Dog Is The Greatest Thing To Happen To Me
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Having A Dog Is The Greatest Thing To Happen To Me

Animals can contribute to your growth and mental health more than you think.

Having A Dog Is The Greatest Thing To Happen To Me
Matthew Janzen

While in Miami on Thanksgiving break from Florida State my freshmen year, I got a phone call from my roommate telling me that it sounded like someone was rummaging around our apartment and my bedroom. As she laid awake quietly in her bedroom still with me on the phone, we began eliminating the possible factors of who could have been home other than her. We concluded that all of our roommates, including myself, had been out of town.

Someone had broken into our apartment. Fast forward to the police arriving and chasing the culprit away, I got a phone call from the Tallahassee Police Department that my things had been stolen and the force of entry had been through my bedroom window. All I could think of then was the fact a stranger had been in my room; my personal space.

A stranger had invaded my privacy, stolen things I had worked for as if he was entitled to getting it for free. All I could think of and feel when I came back home was the negative aura of a foreign object that had stripped my personal space of its comfort. For three weeks straight, I developed a severe case of insomnia and slept with every light in my bedroom on and a knife on my nightstand. Little did I know that from this horrific incident that brought me so much grief, would bring me Odin.

Because I could not sleep knowing there was the possibility of someone easily breaking in the way someone already did once, I took a trip to Miami’s local pet adoption center in Doral, FL. Walking through aisles of sweet gazes, saddened gazes, worn gazes, and even hopeless gazes, all I thought of was how I could formulate a plan to adopt 5 dogs at once an

d still be able to afford taking care of myself as well. They aren’t kidding when they say Ramen noodles and frozen chicken nuggets become your best friend in college. Anyway, I figured getting a dog would help ease the stress and insomnia I had developed from the break-in. There were about three dogs thought I had mentally listed as possible candidates. But when I came across Odin, something about his big ears, uncontrollable tail wagging and large, beautiful hazel eyes with one in particular that happens to go off on its own tangent every now and then, pulled me in deep.

After just 5 minutes of playing with each other outside, I think we were both the happiest that we had been in a long time. Emaciated, fragile, and having very little trust in human-kind, he trusted me with open arms and I took him home- beginning our adventure of a lifetime.

Since the day I adopted Odin, all I can say is that he was a blessing in disguise. Odin taught me the true meaning of responsibility, loyalty and making sacrifices for the those you love. When it came down to eating, I now had to think of two mouths to feed- not just one. There were times close to the end of a semester when I had very little of my scholarship fund remaining, that I would split meals with him till I got my hands on some cash to buy him food. When it came to doctor visits, there were now two bodies that needed check-ups and medications, meaning no more trips to the nail salon for me. When it came down to training, time, patience and dedication were a new addition to my daily routine and way of thinking.

I was there for Odin when he needed me most. When his breed, as a Pitbull Terrier, could have possibly lead to his early death in an animal shelter in a city where his breed was and still is illegal. Odin has the purest heart I have ever witnessed in a dog, and I have candidates who can testify. I not only saved his life, but he made mine.

He has been there for me when I could not sleep at night, in fear that someone will intrude in my home again. He has been there for me when I’ve cried because I miss home, or school and life become overwhelming. He has contributed to my growth and development as an adult and to thank him for that alone does not suffice the gratitude he deserves.

People who say, “dogs are dogs, they should know their place”, or “I would never allow my dog on the bed”, or even “my dog stays outside”, do not care for the bond that comes with having an animal as loyal as a dog. I will not put my dog away if you are a guest and are bothered by him. He is family in my household and will be treated as such. I will allow my dog on the bed because his life is too short to make him/her sleep on the floor or outside, and frankly, I enjoy the cuddles.

I will not allow anyone to convince me otherwise of the place my dog holds in my heart and mind. To think he will see me go through many phases of my life only further drives me to make his time on this earth with me worth his while.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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