Pets!

Do you remember the old adage: Diamonds are girl’s best friend and Dogs are man’s best friend? Well, dogs aren’t just man’s best friend, but pretty much your best friend, period! They’re my best friends!

When I was in therapy back when I lived in Wisconsin, my psychiatrist recommending that I invest in getting a therapy or emotional support dog. My first reaction was “No”. Mainly because I had no money because when you’re paying for college out of pocket and driving back and forth to work, you’re going to have no extra money. My second reaction was “I’m allergic to dogs.” I am. I had two cocker spaniels when I was a wee little girl named Benji and Bob. My dad has asthma and allergies had no choice but to give up the dogs for adoption. I became allergic to them as well. It was years later that I found out that I was allergic to long haired dogs and their dander.

So I pondered this decision for a few months. I weighed the pros and cons of having a dog. My main concern was the expense of owning pets (NOT CHEAP, NEITHER ARE CHILDREN!) and being able to find time to form a bond with a dog. I worked long hours and went to college and spent a lot of time studying and trying to sleep. Eventually, I did my research and decided to check out some local shelters and pet stores.

I happened to meet Tinkerbell (the tan one) at a pet store in a Waukesha area pet shop during the summer of 2006. I remember going with my parents and we checked out all of the dogs. It was probably a great idea that I’ve never worked at a pet store or shelter because I would literally take all those cute dogs home with me and not return them. I told the polite sales associate that I’m looking for a non-allergenic dog that will be become my best friend and also my emotional support/therapy dog. The associate said some of the best non-allergenic dogs were Bichon Frise, Maltese, Poodles and etc. I remember saying that I wanted a short haired dog because short haired dogs don’t bother my allergies at all and plus I didn’t see too many Bichon, Maltese, and Poodles that I liked.

As I meandered throughout the store, I found one chihuahua that was both tan & white and was a male. It turns out that the male chihuahua was Tinkerbell’s brother! He came from the same litter as Tink, but before I could get a chance to meet him; someone bought him. DARN. But as I looked up in the upper left kennel, I saw two dogs (my Tinkerbell) and another big dog duking it out. This tiny 8 week old chihuahua was playing and growling at a dog that was twice her size. It was so funny. I told the associate that I want to see the chihuahua and they put me in a little enclosed area with her. She was very nervous (as most chihuahuas are!) and just peed on me when I picked her up. I think she was both nervous and excited that someone was checking her out! I don’t know. But it was definitely love at first paw! She was so beautiful (Still is! Even with gray hair!) and gave me those Puss in Boots eyes that said “Please take me home”. So I asked them how much she was and that I wanted to take her home. Fun fact: Her name at the pet shop was “Kleenex”. Don’t ask why! I laughed hysterically because an all tan chihuahua should have a name like “Peanut” or “Peanut Butter”. Something better than her original name. I named her Tinkerbell after the Disney character from Peter Pan not from Paris Hilton. (Just because I liked that name!)

When you decide on purchasing or adopting a pet, there’s so much to do. If you have pets, then you know what it’s like. It’s like bringing a newborn home for the first time and establishing a food, sleep, and regular routine for them. The only real struggles with her were food and potty training. Since I lived in Wisconsin at the time, the winters were cold and unkind. When she had to go, she refused to go outside. I had to purchase those puppy training pads for her. I would get her to sniff them and then let her follow me into the bathroom (which is where I put them) so she knew that if she had to go potty, she’d go in there and use the pads. Getting her spayed was important as well as getting her microchipped because I didn’t want to be constantly cleaning up menstrual blood spots (NO) and didn’t want anyone to steal her or have her get lost. I almost lost her on vacation because she was in her kennel and the hotel cleaning staff took her out of the kennel without my permission because they wanted to play with her. I came back to my hotel room and just about cursed out the entire hotel staff including the manager. I could’ve lost her permanently and I refuse to travel with unless it’s with people I can completely trust.

It took about a month or two to adjust to having a dog. I wasn’t use to a dog barking and constant trips outside for her to use the potty. (Again, it’s like having a child of your own!) But overall, her presence eased my anxiety and my mood. I was so happy to have a best friend. She’s always there when I need her. She loves attention and belly rubs. Who doesn’t! Everyday I go to work or leave, she barks! She’s telling me not to leave her. And when I come home, she gets so excited and rolls over on her back and demands a belly rub. She loves wagging her tail when she sees me. If someone says my name, Tink will get so excited and start barking out of excitement. I went from a non-pet lover to full on pet lover. I don’t know what I will do when she passes away. I will be inconsolable because she’s everything to me.

Two years after getting Tink, I thought about getting another dog. So, I decided to look around and check out places including breeders; and stumbled across Ariel. I saw her picture via the internet. The family that had her, bred dogs. Ariel’s parents were bred together and created a big litter of pups. Unfortunately, Ariel’s mother suffered complications during the delivery and had an emergency C-section and subsequently, died after Ariel and her siblings were born. The couple couldn’t afford to keep the puppies and I felt so bad for them. I agreed to meet them at a local place and met Ariel. Fun fact: The couple’s daughter named her Snowflake. Since Ariel is all white, I thought about naming her Snow White, but Ariel fit better. Let me tell you about Ariel! This girl was already potty trained (thank GOD!), but is the sheer opposite of Tink. Ariel commands a room, demands for your complete attention, she will bark for whenever she feels like it, is a treat stealer, very feisty, has very little bladder control and can be a pain the butt. too. This young lady is a rambunctious one because after she got spayed, the next day she was bouncing around and running up & down the stairs. She goes under major surgery and acts like nothing happened. I thought it was the drugs that they gave because she thought she was Wonder Woman.

As time flew by, they’re now senior dogs and it makes me sadder as each day passes. You really become attached to your best friend and it hurts when they get older. Tink has started getting gray hairs on her face (which makes me sad!), but is still the same dog. She hasn’t gone deaf or blind or suffer from any life threatening illnesses except for anxiety. Small dogs can be anxious! Comes with the territory! However, Ariel has had allergy problems for the past few years and just recently, was diagnosed with a collapsed trachea. Pretty much when she gets excited or has allergies, she starts hacking up a lung and panting. I have her visit the vet on a regular basis and also started a exercise regime for her because she’s at least 2-3 pounds overweight. She eats like a garbage disposal and that’s part of the problem.

To this day, I thank the therapist that suggested that I look into getting a dog because I highly recommend it. There are so many studies proving the benefits of owning a dog and I complete agree with that! You can also register your pet as an emotional support dog or therapy dog. I don’t think I can bring my dogs with me at work because I work at Starbucks and I’m constantly running around.

If you want to register your pet, then visit:

https://therapypet.org

 

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