How My Dog Changed My Life

KotaBack in July 2011, my dog-fever was at an all-time high. I begged my boyfriend of 6 years to let us get a dog and I promised to take care of him/her and he wouldn’t regret the decision. Well… it wasn’t that easy to convince him at first. We visited Maddie’s Adoption Center in late May I believe, just for the idea of it. I knew I would not walk out with my own dog, but I always in the back of my mind knew if I fell in love with one… I would know.

Dakota, a 7-year-old spaniel mix, grabbed my attention instantly. He was a lonely, quiet shaggy dog in one of the kennels towards the back of the shelter. He reminded me so much of my childhood companion, Tucker, a sweet golden retriever who lived a long life with our family. Dakota was basically a shrunk down version of him, with the soft tan fur and floppy ears. We visited with him for a little while. He sat perfectly at my boyfriend’s feet, very content. It was as if he knew this was the man who was going to give him a better life. That day did not end in adoption, but we at least knew what to expect and were left with a picture of little Dakota in our minds.

A month later, I had been thinking more and more about Dakota. I went back and forth on a daily basis to the website to see if his picture was still there. Every time it was,  my face lit up. I did the “pros vs cons” thing and I decided I just needed to take the plunge and do it. I decided I was going to be the very best dog owner I knew how to no matter what, and at the very least – I would have a great learning experience.

We’ve had Dakota now for almost a year, and I’ve never been more happy with a decision in my entire life. Everyday I get to come home to his wiggly body jumping with joy, so thrilled to see his companion. I’ve learned about patience, how to assert authority, compassion, and how HUGE of a difference you can make in an animal’s life just by giving them a chance.

We’ve had our ups and downs, he was definitely a little uneasy at first. He did not trust us completely. But week after week I noticed a change. He would let us rub his belly, pet his tail area, play a little rougher with him, etc. Now, I don’t think there’s much we could do that would ruffle his feathers.

All in all – I want to encourage anyone out there to give an older dog a chance. Dakota’s so full of life, and it’s a shame he was overlooked for 2 months but I truly believe it was so we could find him and give him the life he deserved.

Thank you SF SPCA for changing my life.

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