By Aliea Sheehy, Edited by Paula Lacsena
Anyone that owns a pet or has owned a pet knows that it doesn’t take much time for them to become a member of the family. Losing a member of your family is a devastating experience, and, in October of 2017, that was my reality.
Once time passed, I made the decision to adopt a dog. I did my research and came across an advertisement for a German Shepherd that was in the process of being surrendered. He was the cutest, fluffiest dog I had ever seen, and there was something about the sadness in his eyes that kept pulling me back to the post. It was at that moment when I knew I needed to show him the love that he desperately needed.
A few days later, my family and I hopped into our car with anxiety filling our chests as we thought about the journey we were about to embark on. Once we arrived back home, I was hit with shock after realizing how much neglect this puppy endured. The first night opened my eyes to the many seemingly normal things he was only experiencing for the first time. We took the training process day by day; some tasks took longer for him to get used to than others. I felt an immense amount of guilt with every task I trained him to do because of his built-in fear; however, with patience, time, and love, his fear gradually subsided and his fun-loving, goofy side came to light. After a few months, he was a completely different dog.
Seeing Jackson live a life stripped away of fear has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. He has a newfound curiosity and confidence towards all new encounters. Looking back at his past photos now brings me joy rather than sadness, knowing the happiness we have brought into each other’s lives and how much he has grown.
So, if you ever find that you have extra love to give, pour it onto those that need it the most. I guarantee that you won’t regret it!