Tell me the story of how your pets came into your life. I want to hear them all, past and present. Bonus points for baby pictures!

I was never allowed to keep pets as a kid. My parents had pretty conflicting views on pets, so my dad would impulsively bring them home or let us pick out pets, and then within two weeks my neat freak mom would let them loose or return them. She didn't believe animals and people should live together, mostly because she thought all animals were dirty. So I waited until I was a financially stable adult in a pet friendly living space before looking.

I was well into my hard partying 20s, hanging out with friends of questionable taste and regularly partying and staying out until as late as two days later. Seriously, I spent a lot of time waking up in random homes or coming home reeking of not my cigarettes and after-after party grime. But I could feel this phase of my life coming to an end, I was getting tired and I couldn't imagine trying to sustain that kind of lifestyle for much longer. I wanted out and I needed a good reason to get out. I craved more responsibility, and that's when I knew I was ready for a dog.

I spent a lot of time scouring Petfinder and the Humane Society sites, but nothing felt like a good fit. I found a few pets through rescues, applied, went through visitation processes, and repeatedly got turned down for being a young single person with a full time job. It was utterly heartbreaking every time.

I started looking at breeders, something I totally did not want to do. Partially because I really wanted a rescue, and because I was completely unsure about my ability to handle the amount of work that would be needed for a puppy. But as soon as I saw this little guy, I knew he was my dog.

Advertisement

I did extensive research on the breeder I chose, including asking other breeders about her reputation. Everything seemed to be on the up and up, so I emailed her about him. He was 4 months old, a little older than most of the puppies, because she bred show dogs that usually had a waiting list. He's adorable and fun, but he was apparently not too disciplined for show life. She said he loved being a scrappy little farm dog who loved smelling everything outdoors, but loved to follow his human around even more. I asked her about how to go about getting Little Dude (previously named Hudson), she said she could bring him into the city for me while her daughter was competing at a horse show. It was perfect!

So I met her on the State Fairgrounds, and she handed over this teeny little 3lb puppy who immediately curled onto my chest. Once I brought him home and he settled in, he was taking naps on my hip and sleeping under tiny dish towels. My life settled down significantly thanks to needing to keep a routine life for a dog, and he doubled in size into the little bat eared weirdo he is today. He still loves to sniff every damn thing that he crosses, and he still follows me everywhere (unless I'm in the shower, because he hates baths). I'm gonna be with him well into my 50s, and he's made me a better grown up. Dogs are good like that.