Why Adopting a Dog Transformed My Life

As a self-proclaimed animal advocate, I have devoted most years of my life to taking care and including a pet in my family. When my husband and I got married almost eight years ago, we were both very busy people. He is a full time touring musician, and I work full time as well as go to school. We made the decision to wait until we could be “good parents” to adopt a dog. This was the first time in my life that I didn’t have some sort of pet in my life. You don’t get nicknamed the “Girl who lives on Noah’s Ark” for no good reason. I would rescue birds, snakes, cats we even had a pot-bellied pig named Porkchop. We were a suburban zoo. Needless to say, I felt like part of my life was incomplete. I was willing to make the sacrifice to go without something I wanted in order to do it the right way down the road. I knew full well that if I had pushed the issue I would have been one of “those owners” who left their poor dog at home alone all day.

Fast forward to January 2013. I had just graduated college, and had the opportunity to move to a branch of my job just a few minutes from my house. This was finally the perfect time to introduce a new family member. Joel and I had decided we wanted a small to medium dog that didn’t shed, that was sturdy, intelligent, loving and trainable. After a lot of research, and my personal experience working as a Veterinary Technician we started looking into Schnauzers. The idea of picking out a purebred dog was so foreign to me, since I have always adopted animals from the humane society. We took a chance and drove to a breeder in Sebastopol. We got to meet over 100 dogs, which was quite overwhelming. Unfortunately we ended up leaving empty handed, which left me devastated. As I sat in the passenger seat sulking, Joel hinted for me to check out the Craigslist pet section. I was leery, since something about Craigslist seems dishonest to me, but I did. The very first posting was for a 4 year old mini-schnauzer free to a good home. I did a double take, looked at Joel as if he was pulling a prank on me. It was too good to be true, but it turned out to be true! We met “Mitzy” that night after the long drive home, and hasn’t left my side since. Her new name is Emmy after the waterfall at Emigrant Gap where Joel and I got married, and since you know, she’s an emigrant.

Our first day at the Marina

Our first day at the Marina

Photo credit

She is the perfect fit to our family and activity level. She is agile, smart, loving just the best I could have ever hoped for, and as an added bonus I knew that we were giving an animal a second chance for a forever home, instead a buying one from a breeder. She goes everywhere with us, even floating the Truckee River!

Em, as I call her, inspires me to be active since it is my duty to take the very best care of her. She reminds me that “every little thing is gonna be alright” when she curls up in my lap after a long day. She has ultimately helped me out of my depression by showing her undying love and commitment to me. Lots of research has been done on the impact of owning a pet and its effects on depression. I just read a great article on DogWatch about Five Ways a Dog Can Change Your Life. My favorite was #4 Dogs Extend Your Life. The article suggests that by keeping active, which having a dog can help you do, and by lowering stress, also a benefit of owning a dog, that you will live a healthier, longer life.

We need each other, this is the type of relationship I was missing in my life, no offense to my darling husband! There’s just something about a pet’s unconditional love that snaps you out of a bad mood or rough day. Having someone depend on you for everything also makes you less self-centered and more aware of other’s needs, making you a better person. How does your pet make you a better person? Go hug your pet and give them a little treat from me! 🙂


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