Today is an extremely special day: it’s Alice’s second Adoption Day! And being September 2nd, it’s golden.
I can’t believe that she’s been with us for two years already. Two years seems like such a long time (though I still worry about losing my job and not being able to take care of her like it was the first week we got her).
There’s a very good chance that’s at least half of her life. Having adopted her as an adult dog, that sounds so weird to me.
We’ve done some fun things this year.
We traveled to some interesting places, like Virginia Wine Country:
She won a prize for her special curly tail:
She even went to a dog yoga class, and we left her alone with a dog sitter for the first time.
“Flat Alice” had a couple of first-times as well. Here she is in Portland, Oregon:
And Ithaca, New York:
While the “first times” are always fun, it’s equally as exciting to have something not be the first time. We’ve now made three trips to New York for holidays, three to Michigan, two (and soon to be three) trips to the National Book Festival, and two of the Wags ‘N’ Whiskers festival. We have traditions.
I remember the scrawny little monster that I brought home that Tuesday afternoon, so afraid she’d immediately chew on the cabinets and weedle on the rug and everything would smell like dog. I remember that first night when we sat down to dinner on the couch and she sat quietly by, her eyes filled with fear and hopefulness that we’d share our food with her. I remember the first time she got the reverse sneezes and how she ran around me, desperately wanting to be comforted and to remind me that she’s a good dog, but so afraid that I’d hit her. I remember how proud I was when she got her Dog 101 graduation diploma. I remember how around a certain time at night, she’s stealthily sneak up on the bed and pull herself into the tightest ball possible, as if to say “I’m very tiny; you won’t even notice me if you let me sleep on the bed with you.”
I think about these things now when I see my healthy, shiny, still gremlinesque dog running around, the only victim of destruction being my TV cabinet (which now just looks shabby chic). I think about it when she takes a flying leap for my plate while I’m eating and sneaks around the back of the couch to get to The Human Male’s dinner. I think about it when she gets the reverse sneezes and now runs to me to “fix” her. I think about it when I consider signing her up for agility classes, knowing that she’ll succeed. I think about this when I crawl into bed to find her sprawled out and snoring on my side, her little drooly head on my pillow.
She’s come such a long way. And I think we have, too. Dog hair on everything is now just an irritation, not a crisis. We know how to travel with a dog and see it as an adventure—and perhaps even the way to travel—not a hindrance. We support businesses that are dog-friendly and involved with rescue organizations, especially in our area. We’ve become smarter, learning that when we take her places she’s an ambassador for dogs and that what might be easier for us isn’t necessarily best for her (like flying with her or leaving her in the car to run into a store in the summer).
Most importantly, I think we’ve become far more compassionate to animals, and have made a conscious effort to have our actions align with our beliefs. We go to events and make donations to organizations that support animal welfare. We keep an eye out for lost pets. We do what we can to let people know that shelter pets are not damaged goods, and that there are so many pets out there that will make the best pets if someone just gave them a chance. We make sure when we see pets at events that we give them some love so that they know they’re worthy and deserving of a good life.
I credit Alice for all of this.
I had this fantastic "Aha!" moment about five years ago while doing my grad school internship. I went with my supervisor Libby (the president of Communication Services, a marketing firm that works with non-profit organizations) when she gave a “career day”-type talk to a small group of undergrads at my university. She spoke to them about marketing and working with non-profits, and she closed her speech with “You know, I could be making more money working with bigger businesses. But at least I can sleep at night.”
I know that, because of Alice, I’ve made decisions about my life that help me sleep a lot better at night.
I love you so much, little Snugs. Happy Adoption Day.