I didn’t even really want her at first. I didn’t want the commitment or the responsibility. I’d never had a dog, but I gave in, and I’d do it all over again. Rescuing Cora from the shelter was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. She has made me a better person, and six years later we celebrate her “birthday,” the day she became part of the family.
Getting a dog was my boyfriend’s idea. We were living together in a house with a nice, spacious back yard perfect for a dog. I was very reluctant, but he finally convinced me to take a trip with him to the shelter. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and I burst into tears as soon as we got back in the car. All of those homeless dogs with no one to love them – it was hard to see that. But I was sold on the dog idea. I could give one of these dogs a warm, safe, and loving home and would never forgive myself if I acted otherwise.
The next weekend we went to the Humane Society. I brought gum this time to help distract me and fight back the tears more easily. There were so many dogs. They stared longingly into your eyes, pawing the cages, barking and crying, begging you to take them home and love them forever. I handed a piece of gum to my boyfriend. He was fighting back tears, too.
I wandered slowly among the kennels, greeting and petting every dog one by one through the cages. The bigger dogs were in the outdoor kennels, many of them barking as much as possible to get attention. I got to the end of the row and there she was. She was a small white and ginger dog who clearly hadn’t had a haircut in a long time or possibly never. She sat quietly looking at me with sad, shifty eyes. I didn’t understand why she was outside with the big dogs given her stature. Perhaps the shelter ran out of room inside? I saw from her paper work she had been there a month.
I found my boyfriend wandering in another section of the shelter, and we compared notes. So many dogs we would love to take home! We made our way back through and stopped in front of the white and ginger dog again. I knelt by her cage. She looked at me with her sweet face, leaned back and sat up on her hind legs. I immediately fell in love, and we adopted her.
Cora and I bonded fast. She was my shadow. I worked hard to pay attention to her dog language and ways of communicating. I have countless stories of her intelligence and her sassiness, but I’ll save those for future days. When my boyfriend and I split, one of the first questions everyone asked me was, “You got Cora, right?”
When I look at Cora, I know she sees the best version of me, and thus that’s what I strive to be.
Here are a few things Cora has taught me and continues to remind me:
1) Forgiveness is always possible.
2) Love wholeheartedly.
3) Peanut butter is the best food in existence. Broccoli is a close second.
4) Be patient.
5) Be resilient. Pull that sticker out of your paw and keep going!
6) Take time to enjoy nature.
7) Keep your promises.
8) Nap time is good any time.
Not only do I still have Cora but I also have Toby and Haley who came as a package deal with my husband. While I am brand new to blogging (this is official post #4), I predict that my dogs will show up in future posts since they are part of the cast of characters of my life. Thus, I may as well introduce them now.
Cora: My sassy shelter dog Cora is an introvert. She enjoys napping in the sun, chewing holes in her blanket, eating broccoli, yoga, doing gorilla impressions, car rides, and Toby.
Toby: This is my sweet boy Toby using his cuteness to sucker me into giving him a treat. It’s his favorite pastime (because it usually works). Toby also enjoys barking at dogs on TV, eating pizza he drags out of the trash, tap dancing, and cats.
Haley: Don’t let this sweet face fool you. Cray cray Haley enjoys running zig zag laps around the yard, practicing her high jump, snacking on bird seed, licking you incessantly, making the bed, chasing balls/squirrels/lasers/cats, and cuddling.
Three dogs can be a real handful, but they are worth it. Every day they remind me to enjoy life and not to take it too seriously.