Time and time again we see what dogs mean to us.
Not that long ago I received an email out-of-the-blue from Linley Achtenhagen. Linley wanted to tell me, and all of you, what having a dog had meant to her.
How It All Started
by Linley Achtenhagen
Before I start talking about all of the things I have learned from having a dog, I should probably tell the story of how this crazy journey started.
My sophomore year of college was probably one of the most difficult years I’ve had. I was struggling with anxiety issues and I had just quit basketball, which was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. Why? Well, I had been playing basketball from the time I could walk and the day that I decided I was done was a very difficult, yet relieving day.
Me playing basketball had become unhealthy for me and caused me so much stress and anxiety that it was hurting me more than it was helping me, but that’s a different story.
Anyways, once I was done playing college basketball I felt relieved, but also empty. All I had really ever known was basketball, so now I felt like I wasn’t doing anything with my life other than going to school and studying things that I didn’t care about. I knew that something was missing!
I have always been an animal lover. Growing up we had everything from cats, to dogs, to horses and even a pet bird. Dogs were my favorite though (sorry cat lovers) and I thought, “why not see if there’s a dog that needs a home”.
So I went online and of course, I found, literally, thousands of dogs that needed homes. After months of searching and convincing my parents that I could do this, I adopted Luna.
Luna came from a high-kill shelter in Missouri, meaning that if she wasn’t adopted in a certain time frame she was going to be put to sleep. Lucky for me, Tiny Paws Small Dog Rescue in Milwaukee, Wi transported her and about 10 other dogs from the shelter up to Wisconsin.
Luna was about 15 pounds underweight and for a 40-pound dog that’s dangerously skinny. When I would pet her I could feel every single bone on her body. She was skinny, shy, and had patches of fur missing, yet the trust this animal gave me right from the start was amazing. This animal had gone through only God knows what, and trusted me immediately. It was an eye-opening thing to watch.
Now, I’m not going to lie and say that it was all butterflies and rainbows when I adopted Luna. The first few days I was panicked and thought, “what on earth did I get myself into”. But I knew that I had made a commitment to this dog and I couldn’t give her away. I have always hated change, in fact, it is one of the things that gives me pretty bad anxiety, and I knew that giving Luna back would be the easy way out. Sure enough, in about a week, this dog became my best friend and it’s like we had a mutual understanding that we were in this together.
Since getting Luna I went from not knowing what I wanted to do with my life to declaring my major as entrepreneurship and knowing that one day I want to open my own pet supply store.
I want to share all of the knowledge that I have gained about dogs from having Luna with other pet and dog lovers. I have found that big, franchise pet stores just don’t have the same knowledge that small, local pet stores do. I am also not saying that I know everything there is to know about dogs because I still learn new things every single day. But I want to share everything I have learned with dog owners and help them give their pet the best life possible. I also hope to learn new things from all the people that (hopefully) come in and out of my store every day.
In the posts to come, I will share everything I have learned about life, love, animals, and everything in between from my life with Luna.
If only all decisions in life were as easy as me wanting to publish Linley’s account of her meeting Luna!
All we now need is a photograph of the happy couple!
May everything go well for you, Linley!