After a very difficult spring semester, I decided to adopt a dog from the Dekalb County Animal Shelter. Her name is Mia, she is three years old, and a complete goofball. She is a black and white lab mix with some other breeds thrown in there as well. 100% mutt. I met her at the end of the spring semester when another student on campus was fostering her for a week or so before she graduated Emory. Mia's dark brown eyes looked into mine with such happiness and love the first time I met her that I knew that she was the pup for me. A few weeks later, I officially adopted her and she came to live with me in my new summer apartment. There have been countless little moments that have reminded me that this was the right decision for me and that Mia is the perfect dog for me right now. She gives me countless things to laugh about everyday and licks away my tears. She keeps me company and keeps me feeling safe in my apartment and while I sleep.
I grew up always having a dog around so it is almost a way of life for me, having a canine companion felt so natural. I knew this would be a positive addition to my life at college. Dogs have a way of making you feel like the most special person in the entire world. Whenever I see Mia, whether we have been separated for a few minutes or a few hours, she always greets me with the same wagging tail and her silly happy dance. The way she follows me from room to room just to be near me or see what I am doing. The way she curls up in a ball right against my legs as we fall asleep at night.
When she looks at me she sees someone she can go to for love and for attention. She sees a provider of food, shelter, and many many treats. She sees safety, whether in her crate, on my bed, or curled up next to me when she is scared. She sees me and loves me. She doesn't care about the flaws I have or the mistakes that I make. She sees my face and wants to kiss it. She wants to be with me. Because I am caring, loving, gentle, responsible, intelligent, and nurturing. I am strong. I am proud of the person I am and all of the hard work that I had to put in to get to this point.
I was told by a friend during the spring semester that "this will be a chapter that will mark your life and continue to shape you into the person you will become, you might as well mark the chapter with something positive, like a dog, rather than the negative circumstances be the defining events of the chapter." I am so thankful that Mia is part of my story, and that I am part of hers.