It’s no secret that animals are close to my heart and a big passion of mine. If you follow me on my personal page, you know that I am constantly sharing lost animals, adoptable animals, and posts supporting our local shelters. I think rescuing an animal is one of the most selfless, kind things you can do–but I also want to say this. Sometimes rescuing that dog (or cat) rescues you, too.
If you haven’t had a dog or its been a while, I think it’s worth contemplating that yes, adopting a dog is a lot of work. I’ve shared how Edmund has cost me a lot of tears and gray hairs. But the thing is, I wouldn’t trade him for the world. Yes, he gets me up early. Yes, housetraining and obedience and feeding him and vet bills are trying sometimes. Yes, it would be easier to go on trips or to take a nap without him.
But still, I recognize that in so many ways, that dog has rescued me, has taught me, and has just made my life better.
As an introvert and perfectionist, I sometimes have a really hard time connecting with others. Friendship has never been my strong suit, in truth. I get in my head a lot, I overthink, and I prioritize independence. But when I come home from a day where I feel alone, isolated, or aloof, Edmund is there with the biggest tail wag; I’ve never seen someone so happy to see me. And that, alone, makes it worth it.
It’s more than that, though. It’s the companionship when I feel like the whole world doesn’t get me–he does. It’s the unconditional love and loyalty in a world that sometimes feels backstabbing. It’s the fact that I always have a built-in friend ready for adventures. It’s that he teaches me how every single day, even just a boring Wednesday evening, can be fun. His joy for the simple things like walks in our neighborhood or an evening in the backyard remind me what really matters.
It’s the way that when days are dark and I don’t think I can get out of bed, I know I have to because he depends on me. When I lost my mastiff, getting out of bed felt impossible. But having Edmund made me get up, keep moving, and keep going even when I didn’t think I could.
It’s in the big moments with him and in the very small ones that I remember what a gift he is in my life. Even on days when he challenges me, he reminds me that you can always grow and learn. He is, in short, my best friend, my confidante, my walking buddy, my couch potato buddy, and everything in between.
So the next time you see a post about a dog needing a home and you’re tempted to talk yourself out of rescue because it’s too much work, I challenge you to also think about the benefits. Because yes, it will be work. Yes there will be days that are trying. But there will also be plenty of moments that you realize what that dog has brought to your life.
To love a dog is to live a fuller life, truly.
USA TODAY Bestselling Thriller author with Avon Books (HarperCollins), The Widow Next Door, The Diary of a Serial Killer's Daughter, and other creepy thriller books