Our little family has a new addition! A couple of weeks ago, Katherine and I adopted a beautiful dog named Winter. She’s a two-year-old Great Pyrenees mix, and she’s awesome. We couldn’t be more excited to bring her into our home.
A pet has always been part of our plan. Katherine’s more of a dog person, and I have no preference on the dogs-versus-cats debate, so we decided long ago that once we got married, settled into our house, and built a fence in our back yard, we’d start thinking about adopting a dog.
Once the fence went up, thinking quickly became looking. Our search for the perfect pet was on. Katherine kept up with every dog listed on Facebook, and we spent our lunch breaks visiting animals at the local humane society and animal control kennel. Each time, we’d leave thinking, “That one was great, but not the one for us.”
Then we met Winter. Katherine spotted her on a Facebook group for residents of our town, and I immediately recognized the owner as someone I’d gone to high school with. So I reached out and asked if we could get together that weekend. The next morning, we nervously drove to the park to meet this potential pet.
From the moment we met her, Winter was our dog. She was friendly and sweet, but not overly excited or in our faces. She calmly went for a walk with Katherine while I chatted with the owner about her history and health. And when I leaned down to pet her, she sat calmly at my feet. It was a great first meeting.
I was comfortable with Winter from the start, and that’s not something I can say about many animals. I’ve only ever formed a bond with one dog before—my childhood pet Wrinkles, who passed away years ago—and I usually find them to be overwhelming. But with Winter, it was different; we just clicked. And even when she leaned up and licked my face, I didn’t want to throw up. That’s when I knew I wanted to adopt her.
Katherine was surprised when I looked up and said, “Do you want to take her home?” Our plan was to meet Winter and then leave and have a discussion before making any decisions. But even though she was shocked, Katherine knew that it was the right call. So she stammered back, “You mean today?“ to which I responded, “Yes! Do you want to bring her home with us right now?” She agreed, and Winter became part of our family right then and there.
Her transition into our house was relatively smooth. There were a few minor bumps, as you’d expect, but nothing huge. She really has made this place her home, which I am thrilled about. She’s comfortable here, she knows she’s safe, and she seems to be really happy. The fact that we can provide that for her brings a sense of fulfillment I definitely wasn’t expecting.
To be honest, I was very nervous about adopting a dog. This whole process has brought out insecurities in me that I didn’t know I had. I was scared to adopt a pet because I was afraid I wouldn’t bond with them. I’ve never been a big animal person, and I didn’t want that to negatively affect them. I felt inadequate to care for, nurture, and (when necessary) discipline another living thing. I was afraid of failing, and it became very apparent throughout our pet-finding process.
But through talks with Katherine, I came to terms with my fears. I realized I wasn’t doing this alone. She assured me that this was something we were going to take on together and that if I needed time to learn how to be a pet owner, that would be OK. Her encouragement helped me get to a healthy place mentally so that I was ready when we finally met Winter.
And of course, all of my fears were unfounded. Having a pet has been the most natural thing in the world for us, and I’m not sure how I couldn’t see that before. Katherine and I make a great team, working together to ensure that Winter is healthy, happy, and engaged. I love taking her out in the mornings when I get up, and when I see Katherine and Winter cuddled up together before bedtime, my heart feels fuller than it ever has before.
I’m learning a lot, too. Pet ownership really does teach you about unconditional love. I’ve never met anyone whose only goal in life is to be near me, but it seems that all Winter needs to be happy is our presence. Even when I’m not having the best day or when I’m feeling down on myself, she’s always there happy to see me, and that joy is contagious.
Everyone who’s come over to meet Winter has told us the same thing: She’s perfect for you. And that couldn’t be more true. Winter has the exact personality we were looking for in a dog: calm, but loving. She doesn’t have a single aggressive bone in her body. And her favorite pastime is lounging around the house, same as ours! She’s the perfect fit, and I’m so glad we found her.
All those people who warn that, “Having a pet is a lot of work,” aren’t lying, but what they forget to mention is that it’s totally, totally worth it. Between the walking and the feeding and cleaning and the grooming, there’s so much love. Having Winter in our home is so natural that I can’t imagine it being any other way.
I never thought I’d be the type of person to say this, but I love my dog! She’s made my life significantly better just by being in it. She’s already taught me so much and helped me face some things I didn’t even know were there. Having her around has brought me more joy and fulfillment than I ever thought a pet could, and for that I am so thankful.
Thanks for letting me gush about Winter for a whole blog post. If you ever get to meet her, you’ll understand why. She’s awesome, and even the pictures don’t do justice to just how cute she is.
I’d love to hear stories of how your pets have impacted you if you’re willing to share them. I’m still new to this whole pet ownership thing, but I think I’m getting the hang of it, and I’d be happy to talk more about it if you would. Just let me know in the comments or on social. Until next week, friends, stay safe, and give your loved ones–human and pet alike—lots of love!