To The Dog I Adopted, Who Ended Up Rescuing Me

To The Dog I Adopted, Who Ended Up Rescuing Me

Otto has truly changed my life.


Over two years ago, my mom took me to the human society to meet you. I remember walking over to your pen, you were the only dog that wasn't barking; instead, you were sitting down wagging your tail looking longingly at us. When we took you into the room, you followed me around with a look in your eye that said, "Please love me." The next day we brought you home. We brought into a loving home with another dog, Maggie, who we thought needed you as much as you needed us. As it turns out, we were wrong, we needed you way more. About a week later, Maggie passed away and you became our only dog.

I think it was good timing, or maybe destiny, that we got you when we did. I can't imagine coming home and not seeing you there. I sat on the stairs and you walked up and put your head on my lap. Suddenly, everything was a little better. At first, you had some weird traits, and maybe I've gotten used to them or they have gone away, but one thing was apparent, you had a rough life. I don't know what happened to you before you came into our life, but I am really sorry. At first, you were terrified of the car, maybe it's because you thought that we were going to take you back to the pound, but all it took was for mom to say, "I promise, I will never take you back there," and everything changed.

The first time I got you into a car, you sat across the passenger seat with your head in my lap. You watched me the whole way, and your face told me you felt safe with me and you loved me. From then on, everything changed. You became the love of my life, my boy, and for that I am forever grateful.

We might have saved you from a cage, but Otto, you were the one who rescued me. Although I have had other dogs in my life, and do now, you are special. I never knew what it was like to constantly be followed by the sound of your tail wagging on every piece of furniture I walk by or being met with your brown eyes when I get home, or when I wake up in the morning, you get up to say "hello." Although I have less room in my bed, I wouldn't trade it for anything because sleeping next to you snoring, or you cuddled up to my neck breathing on me, is the best sleep I get.

You've been there for me in ways that you might not understand. When I lie on the floor and you come and lay right on top of me, you really are calming me down. When you let me lay on your belly even though you don't like it, you are comforting me. When you put your cold nose on my neck and lay beside me, you are reminding me how much I am loved. You are always there for me, looking at me with so much love, and reminding me that I am never alone. But you also make me laugh, like when you bark and really sound like a seal, or roll on the floor, and carry around your bone with such joy. You might be getting older, and a little grumpier but you still look like a puppy when you look at me.

You filled a hole that I had in my heart, I never knew it until you became a part of my life. No matter what, you can never be replaced. And I hope you understand that more than anything in the world. I also hope you understand, I love you more than anything in the world. I didn't rescue you, you rescued me, and for that, I am forever grateful.

I love you Otto-pop.


Your girl

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5 Ways Impulsively Getting A Dog Saved My Mental Health

Those four paws are good for a lot more than just face kisses.


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.

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I'll Take A Discount Shelter Pet Over A Purebred ANY Day

If you want to love an animal, then please save an animal.


The decision for pet buyers to choose between adopting or shopping has long been a subject of debate.

But I confess. I believe this is a debate of values, not of opinion.

I have had three pets in my lifetime, all of which have been cats, and animals truly in need of a home.

The first cat was saved and taken in by Animal Rescue after being found on the street. We later found that she had been shot in the head with a BB gun, and the BB was still lodged in her head.

Christine Evangelista

The second was a shelter cat who had already been accepted and abruptly kicked out of two homes. She was on "sale" because a woman before us who could not provide a home for her paid a portion of the fee in hopes someone else would soon give her the home she deserved.

Christine Evangelista

Our third was a foster kitten from Juliet's House. After our first cat passed, my family wanted to give a kitten the chance to never have to know loneliness.

Christine Evangelista

If and when you are looking to have an animal in your home that you can love and receive love from in return, you will never have the opportunity to feel as rewarding as giving an animal a second chance at life.

Shelter animals were brought into this world with no source of protection. An animal in the shelter has yet to see even a glimpse of a truly happy life, and they may never get to due to having an uncertain fate.

If you save one of these animals, they will be forever thankful to you because you were the reason they were given the chance to have a life worth living.

If you have the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life, no matter how insignificant you may think the act is, why wouldn't you accept that challenge? Why wouldn't you want to look back on your life knowing you took advantage of the power you had to change the fate of a living thing?

Two big arguments that support the position of buying bred animals that I constantly hear genuinely disgust me.

These arguments claim that people have their heart set on a specific breed and/or they want to know how it was bred so they can expect what kind of temperament the creature will have.

Love should NEVER discriminate.

Your love for an animal is not true if you bought it based on a list of requirements it had to meet. You are not giving an animal a good home with the intent on doing what you can do to give your pet the best life, but rather with the expectation that it will entertain you.

By shopping for a specific pet, just as one goes shopping for a car, the selfishness and privilege of the shopper encourage the unethical business of breeding animals for profit.

A living thing should not be objectified, just as we humans don't want to be loved for our body over our personality.

The human obsession with control crosses over a very unhealthy line when we attempt to control bodies with beating hearts and souls. Customization should be saved for items that can be monogrammed. Not living, breathing animals.

If you want to love an animal, then please save an animal.

Love the animal unconditionally just as it will love you. It won't care about your family history and outer appearance.

Spread the word to adopt and not shop.

It could, quite literally, save lives.

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