Updated: Aug 31
I didn't mean to get a dog. It was totally an accident.
I wasn’t looking to get a dog, I was moving between apartments and living with my parents, I had shifting relationships, I was still in school and it was definitely not the perfect time to get a dog.
I was going to get a retainer in Watertown and had two hours to kill while they were making it. There isn’t much in the small town, so I decided that I would see if they had a rescue. Again, ZERO intention of actually getting a dog.
As I got there, I walked in and asked to see the dogs. They led me back, handed me some treats and I walked into one of the saddest situations that I’ve been in. There was a single row in the middle about a foot wide aisle with chain-link fence kennels on either side. Immediately, my anxiety spiked from hearing a bunch of big dogs barking at me in such a small space. I stood there, my adrenaline pumping, took a deep breath and started handing out treats to the dogs. I said hello to each one as I walked down the aisle- not really intrigued by any of them.
I looked to the left, almost down the line of dogs, and there she was. Sitting on her stomach in the back of her kennel, just looking at me. I handed her a few treats, and unlike the other dogs, she took them very slowly, letting them hit the ground before she ate them. I finished handing her the treats and walked back to the front desk and asked if I could see “sandy,” the collie mix.
first time meeting. #cattoy
Immediately, after she came out of the kennel, she became a whole new dog. We were taken to a small room where she was let off the leash so that we could become friendly with one another. She ran around the small room, wagging her tail and getting as much attention from me as she possibly could. I took off my coat and sat down. Immediately, she buried her face in my lap and her butt fell to the ground. I played fetch with a tiny cat ball with her for around an hour. She kept leaning up against me, following me around the room and tossing the ball back and forth with her foot. I spent an entire hour laughing and watching her entertain herself with a cat toy.
Once it was around time for me to leave, I asked her if she wanted to come home with me- if she wanted to be called Willa. She dropped her cat toy, walked towards me and laid her head on my lap and looked up at me. That's when I decided, despite the pretty obvious reason that getting a dog was a messy choice, that I would be getting a dog.
I called my mom, dad, sam, sue… everyone. I was getting a dog.
A week later, Sam and I drove to Watertown again and picked her up. We walked to the front desk, told them we were here to adopt Sandy. We were given a few tips, a gallon-sized bag of her dog food and a receipt. Before Sam even met Sandy, he adopted her…. (felt a little guilty about that). We were told to go outside and that Sandy would be brought back out to us. Immediately, my guilt was gone as she ran straight towards Sam, who was crouched on the ground, and knocked him off of his feet with a hug.
<< first day home!
The next couple days were a mess- all on my part. It had suddenly hit me the responsibility I had chosen and I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t cry a few times. There was a complete stranger in my bedroom. I remember crying and talking to my mom, asking her to tell me I made a good choice. She only told me that Willa was going to be an amazing dog and that it was up to me to figure out how this was going to play out.
A million walks later, a handful of life-saving training sessions with Judy and some big talks, Willa slowly started to introduce herself to us, and we introduced ourselves to her. By then we found out that our little collie mix was actually great pyrenees. We got a good chuckle out of that.
Six months later and here we are. With the perfect addition to our little family. We weren't looking to get a dog but I knew that little “sandy” needed to be in our lives. I knew, because I asked her. We fell in love with the tiny stranger who stole our socks, refuses to eat her food inside her bowl, has a spot on top of her head that looks like a heart and puts herself to bed each night at 10:30.
It is such a beautiful feeling having Willa start as a stranger to someone who has completely turned my life around. It may only be six months in, but the tiny monster has become one of my favorite parts of each day. She has stolen more hearts than mine.
cheers to willa bear bennett!