When You Give A Girl A Dog

When You Give A Girl A Dog

Having a new sidekick for life is the best way to kick off summer!

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When you give a girl a dog;

She gets her best friend,

Someone who will always love her unconditionally and without fail,

Someone to talk to when she doesn't need a response, just comfort,

A warm pillow to cuddle with at night when things get tough or life is scary,

A protector,

A family member,

A lifetime of memories,

When you give a girl a dog, she gets a lifelong friend, that becomes her family. Growing up with dogs my whole life, I was never without a floppy-eared companion when I needed one. It started off with Labradors, then a Jack Russell, two beagles, hunting dogs, and finally the sweetest hound dog a girl could ask for.

I love all dogs, mutts, purebreds; I'm not biased to any kind of dog. Although I love me some golden retrievers and Newfoundlands, I am an active advocate to "adopt, don't shop." Dogs in shelters deserve just as much love as a dog that comes from a breeder. If you are searching for a specific breed, there are specific breed rescues all throughout the United States. I always try to support local animal shelters and brands that donate to help homeless dogs, like Puppie Love or PAWZ. If I could open my own shelter and help every stray animal I come across, I would. After I finish college, I want to become a foster parent for dogs, and always have my home filled with endless amounts of love, fur, and slobber.

As summertime approaches, one thing is present in my mind; Puppies and dogs. Summer and spring are the times when lots of puppies are born, and lots of them end up in shelters. Dogs are lifelong companions and they become our family. However, what some people fail to realize is, a dog is for life. You can't abandon them when they aren't a puppy anymore. This is how so many animals end up in shelters and rescues. This summer, I ask if you are planning on getting someone in your family a dog, look to shelters. Shelters always have puppies, young dogs, adult dogs, and senior dogs.

Shelter dogs are the best kind of dogs in my personal opinion. They have so much love to give, and some of them have very trying backstories. I understand the appeal that buying from a breeder gives, but sometimes I think, "why should I pay $1,500 for a dog when I can go to my local animal shelter, pay $75.00 and get a dog that is just as great or better?" Throughout my life, all I've had was Labrador Retrievers and Lab mixes; always bought from a breeder, and even when we got a beagle, we got him from a friend who breeds them.

The summer before my senior year of high school, I wanted another dog. We had just lost our beagle, Blitz, and my Lab Jessie seemed lonely without a friend. I begged (more like annoyed) my Dad from February to August, I even created a powerpoint that finally convinced him to let me have another dog. After I got his approval, I started looking at my local shelter in Dinwiddie, and the local SPCA in Richmond. It was hard. I'd find a dog I liked, but they just never jumped out at me. When I started my senior year, I was disappointed that I hadn't been able to find a dog.

However, all my disappointment disappeared when I was scrolling through Facebook and came across the picture of a white puppy at the local animal shelter. He was one of two, his sister had been adopted early that week, and he was left alone. He and his sister had been picked up on the side of Courthouse Road, without a sign of their mother. From the moment I saw his picture, I knew it was meant to be! I asked my Mom to take us by the animal shelter after school to meet him, and it was one of the best feelings ever. He was snow white, long lanky legs, big paws, and the prettiest brown eyes I had ever seen. I picked him up and he just snuggled right into me; at that moment I was hooked. I knew he'd be coming home with me.

We went home that day to tell my Dad, and the next day I adopted him after school. I named him Harry, anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Harry Styles (and Harry Potter). It's funny, his name didn't suit him at first, but now I couldn't imagine him being named anything else. Harry is hands down the best dog I have ever had. He has more personality than any dog I've met, and he never fails to make me smile, even when he's being annoying as hell. He's my best friend, and someone I can talk to when I just want to talk without having a response.

Harry has been a faithful friend for three years now, and sometimes I feel since he was a shelter dog, he just has so much more love to give since at the start of his life, he didn't have love. I love my crazy boy, and he loves me. I can't wait to be home with him for the summer and go on some adventures together. We take the most dysfunctional selfies together, he tries to steal my food, I try to tell him, no but I end up giving him a bit of what I'm eating anyway. He's a chicken nugget fiend just like his Mama. Harry is my best friend and I wouldn't trade him for anything in the whole world.

So this summer, if you are leaning towards getting a dog, go to your local shelters. There are so many loving dogs who need good homes this year.

Trust me, you won't regret adopting a new best friend.

"Whoever said diamonds are a girl's best friend..never owned a dog."

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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.

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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.

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11 Of The Greatest Dog Breeds, And What Makes Them Great

Some dog breeds that could potentially be my future companion.

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Everyone has favorites, we all pick our favorite foods to eat, clothes to wear and jewelry to wear. The difference is sometimes our favorites aren't the best option for us. Having some greens once in a while instead of pizza is good for me. Sometimes, we look better in blue than our favorite shade of red, and sometimes, we have to wear some gold jewelry than our go-to silver. This is a list of not only my favorites but also some breeds of dogs I could see myself having because they would be a good fit for me.

I also would like to add that I am a cat person. However, I love all cat breeds, so that would be hard.

1. French Bulldogs

Hands-down, my favorite dog. They are so cute to me and they are chubby and so cute with all those wrinkles. The downside is the medical bill with this breed, but I could definitely see me get a Frenchie in the future.

2. Pugs

Again, the wrinkles are too adorable to not have! I will say, that I don't really think that I will end up having a pug, but they are really cute and I will continue watching pug videos on the gram.

3. Jack Russels

Jack Russels are a basic dog in my opinion. They are good dogs, good companions, and just happy dogs. I could see myself having a Jack Russel.

4. Pomeranian

Now, if I were to get this kind of dog, it would have to be a tiny version. This dog would have to have constant grooming appointments and be a cute stylish puppy. They are cute, but in my opinion, only because of the hair.

5. Labs

I really don't think of myself as a big dog type of person, however, I've been around labs my whole life. I believe that they are very loyal, and really good dogs. I also have seen a lot of kids and lab videos to warm my heart to get me to this decision.

6. German Shepards

This is a shaky type of breed for me. I have two German Shepards at home. One I get along with great, the other, not as much.

7. Chihuahua

Oh, yes! These crazy yippie dogs are on my list. Why? Because chihuahuas were my childhood fantasy. It sealed the deal when "Beverly Hills Chihuahuas" came out and one named Chloe was a main character. Now, it is not a solid deal as the breed once was, but I figured I would put this on there.

8. Pit Bulls

I think pit bulls carry a stereotypical bad reputation. In my mind, I feel as though pit bulls have the same personality as I do. They are very sweet dogs, but sometimes are clumsy or are sometimes too feisty. I saw a pitbull mix the other day and all the dog wanted to do was play with me. I think I would really get along with this dog breed.

9. Pomsky 

Just look up a picture and you will instantly want one too. So fluffy and cute!!!

10. Akita

I don't know a lot about this kind of breed, but by seeing their pictures I think they are cute but pretty protective dogs. I think they are kind of leaders and would be great for children.

11. Stray Dogs

I know this isn't a dog breed, but thinking about how all these different dogs come with price tags, why not rescue a dog for less? This could be great or the dog could not get along with the environment and it could go downhill. The good news is though, that doing this process, the people in charge help the dogs gradually change for it to work out for both parties and I think it is a great process. I have also have had ideas about fostering dogs in the future, so I think topic of my article was more than needed to talk about.

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