Rescuing a dog changed my life

All my life I have had dogs. My parents always had pure-bred boxers, either from the pet store or a breeder. When I was little, my dad would always tell me the day I moved out, he would buy me a pure-bred boxer. That was all I ever wanted: my own dog. I wanted one that would sleep with me, not my parents. My little sister and I used to go to the pet store and play with puppies that cost thousands of dollars.

Even though I have always been told to rescue instead of buy, and have always been told how important rescuing is, I still was not sold on the idea of rescuing, but a couple of days before I moved out of my apartment, I decided to go down to the shelter with my family. A volunteer at the shelter suggested I meet a particular dog she brought in the other day. She brought him in. He was shaking, cowering, hiding behind anything he could find. Even though he didn’t approach me at first, I knew, without a doubt, that he was the one. I immediately felt the connection I always thought I would feel.

When I brought him home, he would not eat anything. Not even bread or yummy cheese. I knew he was a scared little guy, so I chalked it up to him being uncomfortable and scared in yet another new environment. A couple of days later, he still wasn’t eating or drinking, and he had developed a nasty cough. This lasted for several days. I was terrified that this new dog I had just fallen in love with was not going to make it.

After a visit to the vet, he was diagnosed with kennel cough. He was given an IV. He looked up at me while they put needles in him and my heart broke. Despite the IV and the antibiotics, he still was not getting any better. After several days of this, I was making myself a sandwich and he walks up to me, sits down, and looks at me. I offer him a piece of the bread and he finally took it. I offered him another, and another and he kept eating. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. Even after he got over kennel cough, he developed more health-related issues.

Although the ailments and the sicknesses may never stop with my dog, he is my sock-stealing dog. I rescued a terrified and terribly sick dog, who was found covered in mud and scared of everything. There is absolutely nothing that I wouldn’t have done to help him. I have absolutely no idea what he experienced before I came into his life, but I like to think that by showing him love, a warm embrace, and a proper game of tug-of-war, that I saved him both on the inside and out. The amount of joy that comes to me when I see him running toward me, ears flopping, is indescribable.

I would recommend everyone go out and adopt a pet. Don’t buy – there will be plenty of people who do so. Adopt, because not everybody wants a damaged, scared, sick dog. But they are the ones who need the most help. It will forever change your life.

Hannah-Dollinger-150x150Hannah is a Psychology major at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA. She graduates in May 2017 and hopes to get her M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis. For her career, she hopes to work with with autistic children through ABA therapy. Outside of class, she reads novels and watches The Office.