It was a week before Thanksgiving in 2013. It seemed like a normal November day, but little did I know my life would change forever…
That was the week we met our Lucky, our beloved dog, who’s now 8 years old. Our daughter had been asking for a dog since she could walk and talk. When she was a toddler, we had to stop anyone on the street with a dog, so she could pet the dog. That is all she ever wanted to do. My husband and I resisted for years. You see, we’re first-generation immigrants, and we don’t have any immediate family members here. So, we never have backup help from family, and it has always felt like us three against the world. Neither of us had pets growing up. Don’t get me wrong, we love animals, but we don’t know anything about taking care of them. Now that we finally figured out how to care for our daughter, why would we stir things up, and bring a puppy into the mix? Well, you never met my daughter. I always say she should be a lawyer one day. She once gave us a Powerpoint presentation to persuade us to let her get her ears pierced, so you get the picture. She finally broke us down, and we decided on a few ground rules. It had to be a small to medium sized dog, that doesn’t shed, and is mild mannered. One of the moms from school had told me about her dog, so when I found out there was a puppy available of the same breed, I told the family, we will only go take a look. “It’s almost Thanksgiving, and we are in no position to get a dog right now. We are traveling next week, we need more research, education, and it has to be the right time”. My friends with dogs were probably laughing at me when I mentioned we were going to go just “see” this dog. As you can imagine, we met little Lucky and brought him home that day.
I think anyone who has dogs will tell you how incredible they are, however, there are also known health benefits to having a dog. Dog owners are physically active by walking their dog a few times a day. Walking the dog also results in socialization for the owners; in fact, I met so many neighbors with dogs during my walks with Lucky. It is known that petting your dog can lower your blood pressure and can be beneficial to your mental health. 2020 was a very difficult year for us, and having Lucky around to keep things light, and fun, truly made a difference to our morale and mental strength.
It is worth noting that having a dog can be a financial strain, if one doesn’t plan for unexpected costs. When we got Lucky, I considered getting pet insurance but read that they are not always helpful due to contingencies, and limitations. Instead, we decided to set aside some money from our paycheck every month to save for emergencies, such as the time Lucky got stung by a bee which required an urgent trip to the doctor. I know he may have increased health costs as he ages, and I’m hoping the money we saved will help pay for some of that cost. I also think the health benefits we gain from having him at home probably offsets most of the costs related to his healthcare.
I hope you can find someone, or a dog, who looks at you the way Lucky looks at me, or my husband, or our daughter. The unconditional love he has for us has made a profound impact on how I see the world now, with much more clarity on what’s truly important. Let’s seize the day the way dogs do; walk, play eat, rest and love one another.