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As Is

As Is

As Is

This time last year, Mabel woke me up in the middle of the night, unable to breathe. I panicked and stumbled out of bed to get my purse when she started shooting snot rockets all over my bedroom. Thankfully, her breathing returned to normal, but we headed to our primary veterinarian the next day, who diagnosed my sweet-newish-to-me-girl with an upper respiratory infection.

It took two rounds of antibiotics (she’d go on to have another two rounds of antibiotics for other parasites) to clear up Mabel’s infection, and she was unhappy with the change of being stuck with me all day rather than partying at the large daycare she was going to at the time.

While Mabel recovered, I had many moments when I wondered if I was the best fit for her—just me, not a family, not a couple, just one person.

Mabel often sat by the front door but was nervous to walk in my neighborhood. Even when we did stroll along the quiet treeline at my mom’s house, we didn’t walk long; the weather was too hot, and I didn’t want Mabel to overexert herself, especially while she was sick with what I hoped wasn’t pneumonia. Whenever Mabel bulldozed into my mom upon our arrival, I wondered, “Was I enough for Mabel?”

Every night at 9 pm, Mabel shoved a squeaky toy into my knee after having not stopped all day or circled like a shark and throttled herself at me teeth-first. And with barely open eyes because I was so tired from trying to wear her out without affecting her health, I worried I was lacking. I feared I was failing Mabel. I only wanted to love, enjoy, and give her the best life possible. But every time Mabel startled at a sound outside my apartment, I felt terrible that our home was not as quiet as would help her relax and sleep more. 

After over a year together, I know Mabel and I were meant for each other. My sweet girl has reignited my love for training. We have quiet, beautiful, long morning walks together, even if she sweetly protests the 5:21 am wake-ups this week to avoid the sweltering heat. Mabel’s relaxing and sleeping more, with less effort on both our parts, even when I leave the room. And, well, to say she has a giant crush on my brother Matt and Sasha’s (her pet-sitter and trainer) son is an understatement. When Sasha’s son quietly told me a couple of weeks ago, “I really enjoy her,” I knew I could give Mabel the gift of time with other people who adore her.

So, today, I offer you this: If you’re still getting to know a dog and wondering if you’re doing a good job, you’re doing amazing work trying to help your dog acclimate to your home, routine, and environment. If life has turned your and your dog(‘s) world upside down, you’ll get through it together. When we have our dog(‘s) well-being at the center of our hearts, we’re all perfect as is.

*This article contains affiliate links to help supplement Mabel’s lifestyle. When she came to me, she was eating Dollar Store food. Now, she eats better than me on my best days.

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