In 2010, my family adopted our first dog from a rescue shelter. My brother and I had been begging our parents to get us a puppy, and they finally caved. We adopted Tristen, our golden retriever/lab mix, from B.A.R.K.- Bandit's Adoption and Rescue of K-9's in Richmond, VA, and we haven't looked back. Adopting a rescue dog was a little more challenging than we originally thought, but now, we wouldn't have it any other way.

1. They were probably scared of anything and everything in the beginning...

2. ...And to this day, they still may be scared of certain things. 

3. You didn't rescue them, they rescued you. 

4. They probably thrive on a schedule. 

5. You feel bad leaving them by themselves, even if you're only going to the bathroom. 

6. They always seem to know they were saved. 

7. For some reason, they are so much cuter than other dogs. 

8. They are always so happy to see you when you come home...

9. ...And other times, they'll just lay on the couch and hope you'll join them. 

10.  You probably wonder about what kind of past they had...

11.  ...So you try to be the best dog mom/dad you can. 

12. You take the hashtag, #AdoptDon'tShop, to heart. 

13. You hope your dog loves you just as much as you love them (which is a lot). 

I can't wait to see my doggo when I go home for summer break!