Never Underestimate the Power of Dog

Never Underestimate the Power of Dog

The Lessons my dog taught me

Anyone who knows me, even remotely, will tell you that I love dogs. I doubt that anyone other than my family and closest friends understand why I am quite so devoted to these creatures. The answer lies in the necklace that I always wear.

Ok, wait. This article has dog in it, but that is very clearly a wolf. Yes, I know. Wolves are my favorite wild animals and have been for a very long time. What matters more, is what is inside the necklace, ashes, of my beloved dog T.J.

Growing up, I was pretty lonely, until we got a dog. At first, I was scared of her, as she would run around the house like a maniac and steal my stuffed animals. After a while though, I realized that I had the closest thing that I would ever have to a sister.

Once junior high hit, I became more like the awkward potato that I am today. I struggled to fit in. T.J. was always there for me though, no matter what happened at school that day. Hell, she probably knew that I was gay long before I did. She didn't care though, because I was her person, and she was my sister.

As time went on, I began to struggle mentally more and more. Looking back, I know it was a culmination of some pretty intense stuff, but, at that time, it felt like the world was caving in around me.

It all became too much. At 15, I didn't want to live my life anymore. Something stopped me from taking it. I would be lying if I told you I knew exactly what it was. I remember sitting on the ground, sobbing, wondering how I would explain things to my parents. They loved me and I loved them and I didn't want them to blame themselves for something that I thought was all my fault. (At the time, I did not realize the role that brain chemistry plays in depression.)

T.J. came bounding around the corner, climbing into my lap, trying to kiss away the tears. This dog did not cuddle, but she knew. The look in her eyes was one I will never forget for the rest of my life. She loved me no matter what. The dogs at the shelter where I had been volunteering loved me no matter what others (or myself) thought was wrong with me.

Looking back now, as a stressed out college junior, I realize that my attachment to T.J. surpasses that of any owner-animal bond. She saved my life that day. She reminded me that, no matter how messy things got with humans, dogs would love me, as I had nothing but love for them. Somehow, (probably with help from dogs from the shelter) she got that message through my thick, stubborn skull and helped me start on a better path.

Whenever my depression rears it's ugly head, I remember the look in her eye on that day. I remember the look in the eyes of the shelter dogs when they realize that this awkward potato of a human is only here to rub their belly, and not hurt them.

My dedication to these creatures comes from the dedication that one had to me during my darkest moments. I can never thank T.J. enough for what she did. She probably is too busy snacking on anything and everything to care.

Instead, I hope to honor her and make her proud, by showing dogs the same compassion, dedication, and determination that she showed me. I think that one of the best lessons she ever taught me though, is to never EVER underestimate the power of dog.

Cover Image Credit: Karen Grant

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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The Top Questions To Ask If You're Looking To Adopt A Husky

As cute and furry as they are, these are some MUST knows


Currently, I work at an animal shelter here in San Diego that has shown me so much about animals and the humane community as a whole. Something that has really opened my eyes is having to see almost the same breeds coming into our care more than other breeds. Huskies are one of them. As a husky owner myself, I know the struggle. It is a lot of work and time that you have to commit for a husky (as well as any other breed honestly).. it's just a few extra things you have to be on top of for how high maintenance they can be. Many guests come into the shelter wanting to get a husky as a first pet. With that said, I always ask the following questions:

1. Is your housing big or small, inside/outside or both?

2. With that said, will you be ready for the shedding and needing to taking them on multiple walks/bathroom breaks depending on the answers you just gave me?

3. Do you know about their high energy level of activity and what all the teething and puppy phase tasks you will need to take care of once you do take this animal into your life?

Here are simple things to always be aware of before taking a Husky home:

1. Don't let the puppy phase fool you!

Husky Puppies

Do. Not. Let. These. Faces. Fool. You.

Yes, I know. They are ADORABLE when they are puppies. However, this does not last long enough for you to want them due to the cute baby faces and small size. Huskies grow long and big, and quick. You can notice in their paws at most times. Huskies can be anywhere on average from at least 60lbs+. Teething usually happens from four months to at least (hopefully) seven months, meaning have those chew toys ready when they are destroying anything and everything that can get their mouths on. Lastly, for a general note. PLEASE vaccine your puppies when it is time to do so!

2. The. Shedding. Never. Ends. 

You can never get away from this. :)

One of the main things I always start off with when I hear someone is interested in adopting a Husky, is asking them if they are aware of the amount of hair they shed... daily... hourly... and constantly... and the response I always get is "No." Huskies shed very much and its almost never-ending when you try brushing as much hair as you can every day. The best ways to brush their hair off as best as possible deals with the rubber hair brushes for dogs. They can grasp as much loose hair as possible. If you bathe the dog and then brush, horse brushes will do the job if their fur is damp. All this shedding means you must clean the house daily. Even in the backyard, clouds of fur will be separated all over or floating in the wind (I kid you not)

3. Lots of Exercise 

Huskies are the best buddy to take with you to get into shape.

Huskies have really good levels of stamina and are very high-energy, always have been and always will be. It is almost required to be ready to walk your husky every day (especially in its young years) to wear off most of their energy. The more exercise they get, the easier they are to take care of. For example, keeping them cooped up and neglecting their high energy can lead to them chewing almost anything or just being completely bonkers in efforts to find entertainment. So to save you... walk your husky! Daily! As much as possible is best recommended.

5. They really are worth it in the end (:

Me & my girly Luna

Two years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity of having a husky of my own. As I tell others... I didn't necessarily choose the husky life, the husky life chose me. She was brought into my hands and I've never regretted taking ownership of her since then. Having her since she was a puppy definitely showed and taught me all the things I needed to know about having a puppy in general, and the pros and cons of owning a husky. She is the light of my life, and the largest dog I've ever had so far... however she's opened my eyes to how great having a small/large dog can be. It is a lot of work, but it really is worth it in the end ! So if you ever get the opportunity to take in a husky... try it out! But be prepared before you really do it!


Princess J

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