July 17, 2011

Happy Unofficial Birthday Taylor

When Mike and I originally talked about getting a dog a year ago, we thought it was something we'd have to put off until we had a few things in place, things like a bigger house, less hectic work schedules and a few less cats. A dog just didn't seem to fit in the mix.

But then we saw this photo:
Photo courtesy of Project Rescue

And we knew we had to see if this dog might be able to fit into our lives. A year later, this dog, our dog Taylor, is a part of our lives, a big part. I hesitate to say he runs our lives, although some days it does feel like that.

We fostered Taylor for a week and then we adopted him. Mike and I knew there was no way we could give him back and hope he'd find a better family. We felt like we were his family already. However for that week we fostered him, Mike and I had several conversations about how we thought having a dog would change our lives.
There was no doubt having a dog would be an added expense. Having a dog would mean we'd need to come home on time from work on a more regular basis. We also knew it would make traveling a little more complicated. Looking back now I kind of have to laugh because there were so many other things that never crossed our minds. Having a dog has enriched our lives in ways we didn't foresee.

Taylor has improved my and Mike's relationship. Mike and I have to communicate in ways we didn't have to before getting our dog. We constantly talk and compromise on who will walk him, who can head home from work on time and what he should and shouldn't be fed. We haven't always agreed on things, and there may have been a few times that we argued over whose turn it was to take him out. But we always talked about it, and as a result we've learned a lot of the fundamentals of the general give and take of a healthy relationship.

Taylor has introduced us to many of our neighbors. Before getting Taylor, I always saw dog owners talking to one another on my street and suspected there was some secret dog club. There totally is a secret dog club. And I'm now a part of it. It's an automatic conversation starter when your dog walks up to another and starts sniffing its butt. I have started conversations with many a person because of this very thing. A few weeks ago Mike and I attended a concert with a couple who lives down the street from us. This couple has a dog named Rose who is quite fond of Taylor and vice versa. Suffice it to say, we probably would have never met this couple had our dogs not loved playing together so much.

Taylor has also gotten Mike and I to be a lot more active. His energy level varies from high in the summer to warp speed in the winter. He's kept us on our toes from the day we got him. I don't think he's ever had less than three walks a day and most days its four. I now rise every week day between 6:20 and 6:40 a.m. just to make sure he gets in a good hour's worth of playtime in the morning. Mike and Taylor also run now pretty regularly after work, something Mike didn't do before getting Taylor. In the summer months, Mike, Taylor and I go down to the doggie beach frequently. Lake Michigan's shoreline is one of Taylor's most favorite places in the whole wide world. On warm days, Mike and I actually get in the water and play with Taylor. Not once did we go to the beach before getting our dog.

As a result of getting Taylor, Mike and I also have gotten involved with some really great rescue organizations. I take photos of the new dogs that are taken in by Project Rescue on a semi-regular basis. We also have both donated money and attend fundraisers benefiting local animal rescue organizations. We figure it's the least we can do after Project Rescue took a look at our heartworm-positive, mangy dog and thought he deserved a second chance at life.

Mike and I often times say we lucked out because we somehow got the best dog. We could have wound up with a lot of different dogs, but this dog, our dog Taylor has made all the difference. It has been a great year with Taylor. Sure we've had to change our lives in a lot of ways (I still don't enjoy getting up at 7 a.m. on the weekends), but everything we have gotten back from inviting Taylor into our home has been so worth it. He's a great companion. He makes us smile. He makes us laugh. Some people may just think he's a dog, but he's more than that to us. He is a member of our family. And a darn cute one at that.


JHaddad said...

Oh, I love it. He's so stinkin' cute. :)

savvyfitchica said...

Oh my goodness, he is darn cute isn't it? I love that he always looks like he's smiling. This is an excellent post & I couldn't agree more. Having a dog before a kid is such a smart decision in my book b/c of hte communication piece. Yea, yea, it's "just" a dog, but it really doesn't impact your life in ways non-dog-owners wouldn't realize.

Too many more years Amy! Happy Birthday Taylor!

Diane B said...

Don't quit writing Amy. I know you love photography now as well. This was a fabulous and very moving piece! Aunt D