One day back in 1989 I walked over to put a sympathy card on a co-worker’s desk after the loss of one of her relatives. She worked in the same building but in a different section of the building. On the way to her desk, I noticed a photo of two Yorkshire Terriers on another co-worker’s desk. I stopped at the desk with the photos of the dogs and left a sticky note that read: if you ever need someone to watch your dogs, I love Yorkies and would be thrilled to watch them. A week or so went by and I got a call from the dog owner. She was considering re-homing one of the two dogs as the two were not a good fit. She asked if I would like to talk to her about taking one of the dogs. I was excited about the prospect and asked if I could take the dog for a trial weekend to see if we were “a good fit.” She agreed we were and I became the owner of Rascal, a two-year-old, male, 13 pound, Yorkie.
I was 31 and single and had a pretty active social life as well as a somewhat regular routine at the gym. How I was going to work for 8 hours a day, go to the gym, go to Happy Hour with friends, out on dates, and now walk a dog several times a day? But of course, where there is a will, there is a way. I knocked off the aerobic portion of my gym routine and instead, came directly home and walked Rascal for two miles every day. I also walked him in the morning and lived close enough to frequently come home over my lunch hour to take him out. If I was going to be late or wanted to go out after work, my lovely neighbor, Irene, who was retired and home all day would come and pick Rascal up. I couldn’t take advantage of her too often, nor did I want to.
As for my social life, I couldn’t go directly out after work on any regular basis, I had Rascal to come home to and took that responsibility very seriously and actually couldn’t wait to get home to him. As it turned out, I missed many Happy Hours, walked a lot and went to the gym on a much more regular basis. I drank less, partied less, grew more responsible, got very healthy, and had the most loving dog anyone could ask for.
Rascal was with me for 17 years. I had to put him down at the very old age of 19. He was not in any pain according to his Veterinarian but he was incredibly fragile and couldn’t easily get around, he couldn’t see, could barely hear and I owed him the dignity of letting him go, I definitely waited longer than I should have. It was without question, the hardest thing I ever had to do. I have always given him credit for changing the course of my life because prior to getting him, I was surely on the wrong path.
Twelve years and three dogs later, I still look at Rascal’s picture every single day. He still gets credit for being the best thing that ever happened to me. Dogs have a way of making you a better person. If it is feasible for you to do so, don’t wait, there are lots of dogs needing homes. I believe you will be happier for it.
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”– Josh Billings (humorist)