The Greatest Gift in Life: Dogs

Many people may have had dogs around them before coming to college. Personally, I have always had at least two dogs around me in my family homes and we consider them, well,  family.  But, when I finally came to college and found a lack of dogs to greet me when I entered my apartment, my heart slowly began to break.Like siblings, dogs are treated in similar ways and loved just as much (maybe more). After one summer semester in college, I gained a new appreciation for dogs—an appreciation that I never noticed until the void grew. The void I felt from leaving my family dogs caused a craving to have a pet of my own—to love and take care of a creature and hope that they love you as much as you love them.

I started with a fish (who is still alive to this day) in my freshman year of college. Going into my sophomore year, my mental health started to deteriorate more than it had before. I have always had problems with my anxiety and depression, but with dogs around it was tolerable. A furry friend is always one to the end, so when it started to get worse I looked into getting an emotional support animal! 

After doing the research and with the help of my mom, I came across a great company that helped match me with my love: Clara! Clara is a half Golden Retriever and half Miniature Poodle pup turns a year old on November 22. The little ball of fur I adopted has transformed into a beautiful, curly baby! Though I find myself frustrated with her at times—when I am trying to pee in peace or get some work done without stopping to pet her—I stop and think about how much she loves me that I can't help but get a smile on my face. She loves anyone that walks by her, and any dog that I am dragging her away from. I have never met a dog who loves life as much as my Clara! I see her as an inspiration to be as happy as she is day after day. But, not every day is an easy day.

At first, working with Clara was simple due to the fact that I had to go through certain training before bringing her home. After a while, you notice the things that your parents did that you never thought about, which you now need to think about. Sure, I knew dogs need things like food and water, but having a well-kept dog takes a lot of work. Especially for a college kid, you could find yourself lost on what to do. But the thing about dogs—just like other things— is it’s okay to ask for help! Do your research even if you have had dogs in the past—​I’m sure there are things you didn’t know about.

After having a dog in college I’ve gotten lots of comments and questions asking how I do it. And the conclusion I’ve come to is you don’t just do it—every situation is different. Based on scheduling, the dog and everything else that can factor into a situation, I don’t think any situation is 100% ideal for a dog. If the perfect dog owner existed they wouldn’t need to leave their home with an unlimited supply of funds! But the best owners are the ones who love their animals unconditionally and do their best for them. 

Nothing in this life has ever been easy or ended up well for those who half-asses it. Everything should be done with intent and with love—from homework to giving your dog that weekly bath. 

And always remember: adopt, don't shop!

If you want to keep up with Clara on Instagram, follow her @CrazyClaraa. 

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4