Spring, 2016.

Reflections on 10 Years with My Dog

Today is our anniversary.

Hanna Brooks Olsen
11 min readAug 10, 2017

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I love to tell the story about the day I met my dog.

I was 20 years old, poor as I’d ever been, and deeply depressed. Between school and work, my days were long and sad and profoundly lonely. I’d moved so many times in the last few years that when I finally locked into a year lease at a place that permitted residents to have dogs, I became fully commited to a new life mission. I began scouring the local adoption sites for potential matches.

Despite my chaotic schedule, I knew that I would be able to provide a loving home for some little lonely-eyed critter. We would be similar, me and this dog, and we would have each other. Caring for myself was hard, but I had no doubt that I would be great at caring for a dog in need.

There was also never a doubt that my future best friend would be adopted, not purchased. Throughout my childhood we’d had several dogs, all from the pound, including one who had been through so much trauma that he tried to run away every chance he got. I had lived with difficult dogs and loved them through their issues. I had sat with them when they were injured. I had cared for them when they were sick.

I felt prepared for any kind of ragamuffin I’d find in a shelter — though I’d envisioned something a bit less dainty than the one that’s currently sleeping next to me on the couch.

One afternoon in August — a rare window of time when I wasn’t at work or in class during business hours — my then-boyfriend and I went to the Whatcom Humane Society “just to look.” We both had the afternoon off and the online searches had been fruitless.

I just wanted to see who was in the kennels that day. I just wanted to get an idea.

I’d worn flip-flops (it was August!) which was usually not allowed in the kennels, but the attendant (who, in my memory, looks like Kirk Fox’s character on Parks and Recreation) said he’d look the other way and let us in.

I saw exactly one dog.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

I wrote that one thing you didn’t really agree with.