Happy 6th Birthday, Finn.

I posted a small little tribute to Finn on Facebook, as I have done for the last six years.

However, I wanted to take a moment to expand upon it here. Six years ago I was heading into a dark place. I was depressed and battling anxiety, and I knew if I didn’t do something drastic I was going to fall into a black hole. So against the advice of basically everyone I wrote up an adoption application on a small litter of yorkie puppies born into a no-kill shelter. Yorkie puppies get adopted quickly. I didn’t think I had a chance.

I was wrong. A few weeks later, I got a call following up on my application. The physical aspects of my home didn’t exactly meet their requirements (no fenced-in yard). I explained how I planned to handle this and explained to the person following up my past experience with dogs, that I wanted a puppy because I’d never raised a dog on my own before and I didn’t think I would be good with a junior or senior dog and that because of what was happening in my life at the time, I really wanted to experience the puppy stage. I also explained I wanted a small dog because that’s what I had as a kid, that I planned to travel and that I thought my lifestyle was suited best for a small dog. He wasn’t sure I was a good fit, but he passed my application onto the adoption coordinator anyway.

A few days later, I got to speak to her about the puppies, my life, my home and she invited me to meet them. I met them on February 14th. Oh man. Did my heart melt. I fell in love. I was nervous—there was a little boy puppy that climbed into my lap and picked me. But I wasn’t sure about a boy. I had never had a boy dog before. There was a lot of thinking and a lot of coaching from the adoption coordinator and a lot of tears in private because I was really scared to take on this responsibility. But I also really-really wanted to take on this responsibility.

In the end, Finn came home with me. The first couple weeks were rough. I read a bunch of dog training books. And I was determined to do a lot of things myself. In a way, I kind of went through postpartum-like phase in that for a brief few days I had remorse. I didn’t think I could live up to what he needed. That everyone who told me not to get him was right. One friend, got me out of the house and took me to a pet store and got me a wire crate. She explained in the early days, that’s not cruel it’s what you need to do to keep puppies safe while you’re away. And she was right. She walked me through a few other things too. And soon other friends were giving advice—helping me choose his vet, advice on pottybreaking, which leads to get and tricks like tieing knots in them, and eventually with their help and my own stubbornness, over the next few months I turned into a pretty okay dogmom.

I’m not perfect. I have made some mistakes. But I don’t think those mistakes diminish the quality of our lives (pro-tip: Get pet insurance).

Finn has enriched my life in ways I will never be able to fully articulate. He’s a constant source of light, joy, and cute. He’s taught me more about myself and trusted me and loved me unconditionally. I often joke, “Xanax would have been cheaper,” and it would—Finn has a ridiculous amount of medical bills. (Pro-tip. No seriously, get pet insurance)

Anyway, all that to say, I continue to silently thank the adoption staff that took a chance on me and delievered Finn to my home. Finn is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. The most rewarding risk I’ve ever taken. Soon, he and I are going to be heading into another crazy adventure—lik on a tornado ride, down a yellowbrick road sort of thing—but it’s because of him and all that has happened these last six years that I’m ready.

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