Lose Wisdom, Gain Wisdom

I’m a changed woman… Changed in the sense that I have four less teeth than I did one week ago. I didn’t like them anyways. But seriously, wisdom tooth extraction is not that great of a time unless you love painkillers and Netflix. I have the attention span of a fly and the energy of a small child (wicked bursts followed by leave me alone and let me lay here by myself in silence) so you could say the whole being trapped in my apartment was not my thing. Which is probably why I wound up getting a dog.

There’s my new baby in all of her underbite glory! 1.5 and hailing from adopt-a-dog in Armonk, New York, she was surrendered by her family and rescued by us. Don’t fret, I wasn’t hopped up on a Percocet and wobbling down the stairs to take her for a float walk- I waited until the pain basically subsided and I was clear headed enough to know that we could handle this pup in our life. I would also like to clarify that I’ve been thinking about adopting her for over a month and I had previously visited her before the adoption process. Adopting a dog is like adopting a child but with more hair and no opposable thumbs… It’s a ton of work! How do I know this? Because I have raised a puppy previously!

Truth talk: when I was 21 and had just graduated college the only thing I wanted was a puggle… Yes, if it has the face only a mother can love AND has an underbite, DEAL BREAKER, I will probably love it. Well, I got him, Hudson. An awesome pooch! By the time he was 1.5 I was offered my job and made the plunge to move my whole life to Long Island. Hud came with but the adjustment wasn’t easy for him. For one, Hudson’s “dad” and I had just broken up and the responsibility for raising a dog doubled for me in his absence. I had never realized how much work a dog would be for a single parent- which makes me SUPER appreciative towards all the single parents out there doing their best to raise their children…I couldn’t do it with a dog! Another issue was the move in general- new location, new environment and Hudson wasn’t having it. And finally- I had a brand new job that I wanted to pour my heart and soul into, and by heart and soul I mean over 12 hour workdays. That’s not fair with a dog- it just isn’t! I’m fortunate enough to tell you that my mom offered to take care of him until my life was situated… And then she fell in love. It was a relief that she did because my life was so overwhelming that having him alone didn’t fit into my aspirations at the time. I learned the hard way that having a dog is a real life choice… Not a trend.

Flash forward five years later and my life is more settled, comfortable, and overall confident. I can leave work at a reasonable hour and finish what I’m doing right from the comforts of my own home. I have a supportive partner that is also right by my side to help. I’m also not 21. And- Tilly, our pup, is not a puppy. As cute as puppies are, they are babies and need a ton of work to make an awesome dog. Our girl is 1.5 and appears to be trained on commands and within the house. So if you do choose to get a dog, think about the older ones!

Will your life be different with a dog? Absolutely. Gone are the days of living completely selfishly (which is not a bad thing either so don’t give it up if you don’t want to). But any dog owner will tell you that the joys of having a dog far outweigh the challenges- unconditional love, hello! Tilly will always be more excited to see John when he walks in the door than I could ever muster up!

You could say that this week was very exciting in our household and that within a seven day window I have both lost and gained wisdom and I love it. Well, maybe not the pulling of the teeth thing. Today is a beautiful day and I’m feeling wonderful, and full of life (and amoxicillin for these stupid teeth). And with that we are off to take a walk and hit up the park- enjoy our life from the perspective of our new family member.

Peace, love, and dogs!



I believe that truly learning about life comes from experience- it has to be authentically earned from moments we come across whether they are positive or negative. Whatever the moral of the story may be, it’s what that connection imparts in us that helps to define our understanding of the world. Life lessons have come to me from all corners of my tiny universe but one that I have learned greatly from is my relationship with my dog, Luna.

My dog taught me patience- half lab, half crazy, Luna was never the easiest pup to own and though her name came from her dark color that reminded me of the night sky, we would often refer to her as Luna-tic. From the time she was a puppy she made no discrepancies in her hatred towards all humans not in her family. Sure, her incessant barking at strangers was bearable as a little black puff ball, but as she got older and stronger it could scare the pants off of a grown-ass man. A lovely midday walk could result in a 90 pound dog taking me on a drag as she launched her body at a tender little child passing by on the street. I chose the word tender because I imagine that Luna would use that word to describe the child. She looked like she wanted a steak dinner. Because of her difficult behavior, we were forced to keep her bound to the confines of our small raised ranch in the quiet hills of Westchester, New York. As an avid pet lover, it was disappointing that our dog would never be the hiking partner I dreamed of. Or would she.

When I say that Luna will take you on a drag it’s because she truly will, but after becoming a closet Dog Whisperer admirer I began to use Caesar’s training methods on Luna on a regular basis in the Summer of 2007- I was a bored college student home on break and I made it my mission to tame the wild beast. Every day I would take her leash, bring her to the car, and go down to the bike path, choosing the least desirable time for bike riders, joggers, and children to be present (for fear of their safety.)

Day in, day out, this became our routine, 10 miles on the bike path, just me and my dog. If I so much as walked by her leash her head would perk up. I had to be careful with my words around her and even spelling the word car became part of her repertoire. We were bonded by the bike path and overtime she learned that if she even so much as gave a human the side-eye it was back in the car. We are nice in this family, Luna! We don’t eat our friends! I can’t tell you that she became this human loving, child canoodling, dog, and I’m not even convinced that if given the chance she would never eat a child, but within a summer she learned that if she wanted to run, she had to play by the rules. I learned a lot too. I learned the love and bond a person can develop with a pet is remarkable. I learned that hard work and perseverance paid off and I learned to never quit, and never say never. Many people would have quit on Luna a long time ago, but our family loved that dog.

This non-quitting attitude carried into the following year as Luna got sick and stopped walking. The veterinarian put her on a medication but she was given too much and her liver and kidneys went into failure. As a family we discussed at great lengths what to do with our sick, but young dog. The decision was to bring her to another veterinarian and give her a chance. This vet practices holistic medication and today Luna receives acupuncture on a weekly basis- I can’t make this up, that’s how loved this dog is.

Luna getting accupuncture

Luna getting acupuncture

At times we questioned what was the right thing to do. There was never an easy answer, but I will tell you that the right decision was made. Today she can no longer run, but she has been given six extra years of life that were almost taken from her. Since receiving treatment she has regained the ability to walk though she struggles to do long distances. This dog is a fighter, a wise old lady, a family guardian. She is stoic, but humble, and the boss of the other dogs in the house. I admire her.

The summer of 2007 we connected over those walks and developed this secret bond that only she and I will ever understand. I can never thank her enough for those memories. Today I no longer live at home but when I am home she still gets excited when I walk towards the door or near her leash. It breaks my heart to know that times will never be like they were seven years ago, but we both still remember, and that’s a beautiful thing.