Today is National Love Your Pet Day! And for any of you that follow me on social media, you know I treat every day like it’s Love Your Pet Day. My little Arlyn Wyatt (who’s not so little anymore!) has changed my life for the better in ways that I didn’t think he would. When I first got him (read that story here) of course a lot of me thought “oh it’d just be so much fun to have my own dog!” But I didn’t anticipate just how much joy + life he would bring into my life.
It’s helped my anxiety, a ton. The main reason I even got Arlyn was to try and combat my mental health problems. I felt so lonely I became anxious – so anxious that I eventually became depressed, and although I knew getting out of bed would help, I just couldn’t quite seem to do it. I knew I craved the companionship that dogs had to offer, and I felt as though having something else to take care of and be responsible for would help me take my eyes off of my so-called problems and allow me to find my energy + motivation again. Plus, I spent days at work anxious about having to go home and feeling lonely – but once I got Arlyn, I didn’t feel so alone.
I’ve learned there’s a reason for everything. Granted, this is something I have always believed, but sometimes certain people + situations roll around that leave you wondering, “what possible purpose did that serve in my life???” lol You know what I mean? This past summer I struggled with a lot of questioning that sounded a lot like that, and it left me feeling sort of bitter. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized had I not been so hurt and lonely at that time, I probably never would have found Arlyn. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t have eventually adopted a dog in general, but I truly believe Arlyn is the perfect dog for me and that he was the dog I needed to find. Enough as it is, I almost got a different puppy the day before Arlyn was posted on Second Chance’s website, but she was adopted before I got off work (even though I had just been at the shelter playing with her at lunch). I was upset about that one too, but I think God knew deep down I truly needed Arlyn specifically.
I always have a friend. I firmly believe Arlyn and I were made for each other. He was rescued by Second Chance from a shelter about 30 minutes south of Norman along with a littermate; after arriving at Second Chance they both underwent treatment for parvovirus, but Arlyn was the only one who managed to make it through to the other side. He seems to have had a rough first 3 months of life – between living in shelters, fighting illnesses, losing a companion. I think he and I both needed each other because we clicked almost instantly. He’s been so loving, sweet, and energetic from day one, and he never lets me out of his sight. Plus, I always feel wanted. Nothing compares to the feeling of seeing 70 lbs of pure excitement + happiness bound towards you the second you get home.
I laugh more. A lot of people ask me where I got the name Arlyn. When I was going to adopt the first dog I was looking at, I was going to name her Arlyn Joy, because Arlyn is Celtic for “promise,” so the name was intended to mean promise of joy, which was something I so desperately needed at the time (and still do, because who doesn’t need joy?!) Even though the Arlyn I ended up with is a boy, the name for me still held a lot of hope and symbolism for me.
And boy oh boy is it as true as ever. Arlyn has one of the spunkiest, quirkiest personalities I’ve seen in a dog. He army crawls/stretches out like a corgi. When we play fetch downstairs, he slides across the hard floors and has learned how to turn his body in time so he doesn’t slam face first into the door. He does the funniest little howl every evening when I get home from work. Even the other day he was running around between my room and my roommate’s, and when he ran back into my room he jumped onto my bed, slid across the edge from all the momentum, and slammed into the window (don’t worry, he’s fine!) All that to say, this little guy has certainly brought more joy into my life.
Life isn’t just about me anymore. The truth about dogs is that they only make up a small part of our lives, but we make up all of theirs. Sure, he’s a little bit more independent than a child and I’m still free to do what I want for the most part, but knowing that I’m responsible for his well-being and happiness has meant sacrifice in some areas – it means making time to take him to the dog park when I have my own stuff I want or need to do, waking up earlier than I need to to take him potty, passing on some social opportunities or cutting my time there short in order to give him the attention he needs.