What I’ve learned from my dog ๐Ÿผ

Let me preface this with I wanted a cat. Seriously, I did. I lost that one and while both my ex and I grew up with labs, he’d wanted a Siberian Husky since he was in high school. So after I lost the cat battle, I googled ‘Siberian Husky Ohio’ and low and behold my little P’s picture popped up.  I immediately knew she was supposed to be my dog and called the breeder. Impulsive? You bet, but I knew in my gut she was put on this earth for me. She was the prettiest of two litters (same dad, 2 different moms), however truly the least ‘husky’ compared to the other pups.  A lot of people question my loyalty to my dog. I have fought to keep her extensively since I left Cleveland. I fought for her in my divorce (Yes, very common these days. Animals are considered ‘marital property’) and I have fought some of my family whom have strongly encouraged (practically forced) me to get rid of her.

Huskies are NOT recommended for first time dog owners. Leave it to me, to get the most challenging dog. If you think owning a puppy is hard, try having a husky puppy! Its like having a wind up little crocodile coming at you at all times. I grew up as an equestrian and learned at a young age that owning an animal is a commitment. You don’t get a puppy (or any animal for that matter) and decide after a year that it doesn’t fit your lifestyle. That’s what happens with huskies, all the time. Apparently even more so with the Game of Thrones obsession (dire wolves). Husky puppies (and malemutes) are the cutest puppies on the planet, BUT they are a handful.  I REFUSED to be one of those people, so I read as much as I could, joined closed Husky FB groups etc., in order to give my dog the best life possible.  Yes, I have become a crazy husky lady (I prefer husky advocate). Way better than a crazy cat lady, if you ask me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I firmly believe animals are God’s greatest gifts. Despite the many dysfunctions in my family, the one thing we all have in common is our love of animals. Its really the only thing that has kept us bonded over the years.  Truly, that and my sister’s kids are the things we talk about most. My ex-husband and in-laws also loved animals, so after we lost their dog tragically, I decided it was time to bring some JOY back into our lives. RIP, Shooter! ๐Ÿ’–

Pandi kept my marriage together that second year. While she was always my dog, and I, her clear care taker, she loved her daddy like nothing else.  Typical female in that regard. During my darkest hours in Cleveland, she was the only thing that kept me going.  She gave me purpose & needed me; plain and simple.  That was enough to keep me fighting this insidious disease. I didn’t want my health to destroy my family anymore than it had. It was destroying everything; my marriage, my relationships, my career and and my life. Not many believed I had Lyme (many in my family still question this, despite a positive test for being reinfected last summer) and there was a lot of pressure from my family as to how I should treat it. I didn’t choose the way I wanted to treat it, because they were already questioning my sanity. There is nothing more terrifying than knowing that you are sick and feeling like the entire world, including your family, is against you.  As they say in the Lyme community: “you just don’t get it, until you get it”. ๐Ÿ’š

When I stopped working, I couldn’t afford to continue paying for my dog walker (whom Pandi adored), so I had to walk her.  Brandon was in his second year of business school and busier than ever. She would have destroyed the house we were renting had I not done that, so that became my routine, every day, for 9 months.  When she was 8 weeks old I could barely walk down the street and back, or get down the stairs without hobbling and holding on to the railing every morning. The pain and fatigue were that unbearable.  Brandon and I used to take her to the Metro Parks on the weekends and I would struggle to keep up. Brandon would have her pull me up the inclines because I could barely make it up on my own. Mind you, I hiked the Grand Canyon in college (that’s how sick I was).  She kept me moving and as she grew and demanded more, I was able to push myself more.  Not only has she helped my physical health, but she has helped my mental health as well.  When I have anxiety she gets upset and gets me to pet her, play, or go outside.  I am able to calm myself down, because I won’t do that to her.  She really IS my therapy dog (working on that certification- don’t hate, its legit).

I’ve learned so much from this dog. I’ve learned that you have to respect boundaries, because they’re healthy and they aren’t going to go away. I didn’t grow up with them, so its a concept that was foreign to me. Pandi gets so much attention; people from all walks of life are fascinated with her and often (mainly children) come running up to her without warning. If you know dogs, you know this is a no-no. I’ve learned to have patience, as it takes a lot time to explain Pandi’s boundaries, so that everyone who wants to pet her gets the opportunity to do so. I’ve learned that you have to respect her for the kind of dog that she is and once you do that you can enjoy all the other wonderful things about her. I’ve learned that you have to do this with people, too.  I’ve learned that trust is earned and it must be respected.  I’ve learned the true meaning of unconditional love and what it means to ‘protect your pack’. I’ve learned to trust her instinct, and because of that relearned to trust my own.  I’ve learned that dogs can bring all different types of people together and as my dog trainer said to me last year : “the best kind of people you will meet in this world are dog people”. Because of Pandi, I’ve learned that statement to be true. I’ve learned that there are people in this world who are good, kind and loving. I’ve learned that not everyone you meet has motives, or hidden agendas, and there are people that will accept you for you.  I never would have moved to this neighborhood had it not been for her & the proximity to the park. Because of that I’ve met new friends, all of whom have helped me rehabilitate and rediscover me. I don’t even want to think where I would be without this dog.  Thank you, God, for sending her to me. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป
Peace & love

M & P  ๐Ÿ’–
pandi1                                     Go Cubs!

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