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Posted Mar 14 2013 11:43pm

I know it’s late in the day to post this, but I couldn’t not share.

A year ago today I met someone who changed my life.

She is sweet and comforting, adventurous and exciting.  She was there the day I finished my thesis, the day I graduated from college, the day my heart got broken, and for all the days it took for me to regain my strength.

Angelina really is my little angel.

I had gone to the animal shelter expecting to adopt a dog I saw online.  It was a smaller dog and it happened to be adopted that morning or the day before, I can’t remember.  But then I saw Ange.

She looked at me with these beautiful eyes and wagged her tail as if she already knew I was her mom.  She was lovable, kind, and gentle, yet also full of personality.  She hadn’t been behavior tested yet though, so I had the choice to either adopt her without any knowledge of her temperment other than what I could see for myself, or risk having someone else adopt her.

I signed the papers and took her.  I knew she’d be a great a dog, and my intuition was right.

She’s a big goof ball and entirely lovable.  She’s still a bit of a spaz and isn’t great about not trying to give people welcome hugs as they walk in, but she’s not aggressive.  She learned how to shake her paw in less than 10 minutes.  If you say “other shake,” she knows to shake her other paw.  She’s the smartest dog I’ve ever had and as we continue to train her, I know she’ll be less bored and more well-behaved. I often say she’s like that really smart kid in class who starts to cause a little trouble because they are bored and don’t have anything to challenge them.  That’s Ange.

Angie loves going on walks, trying to play with Buddha and not realizing she’s not 17 lbs like he is, stealing Buddha’s toys, chewing on her “chewy bones” (nyla bones), and curling up by the fire place.  She’s mesmerized by fire places and they put her right to sleep.  (Please note in the photo above that her color was not that loose–that was a weird extra piece of fabric connected to the collar that Angie eventually chewed through. She has a better collar now :) )

Ange was terrified of getting baths for the first 8 months that I had her.  Bath time was kind of a nightmare and involved many treats, lots of towels covering the bathroom floor, and a dog that refused to leave her kennel (aka her “safe house”) in order to hide from the evil wet thing that sprayed water.  Ironically she LOVES the rain and has no problem standing out in it or running through puddles.  Why didn’t I take her to a groomer’s to bathe her? Because I didn’t want to.  We’re both stubborn.

The picture above was taken after she got a bath the night I went through a very bad breakup.  The look in Angie’s eyes is one that I only see in times when I’m distressed.  I had been crying that whole night and Angie knew something was wrong.  She had her paws crossed (not something she does) and sat through me taking picture after picture of her.  She must’ve known how much I needed to focus on her.

She’s the prettiest dog I’ve ever seen.  She looks more like a fox than a dog and her hind legs look like they belong to a kangaroo.  This dog can jump fences…tall fences.

When we moved to Colorado, we lived with my parents for a little while and that was a tough adjustment on Angie…only because she now had 2 dogs to play with and a cat, not to mention a house to run around in, not an apartment, as well as a backyard.  She now loves the backyard and given her way, she’d spend the whole day out there.

In December, our family dog, Lacy, was diagnosed with Leukemia, and within less than 3 weeks, she lost her ability to walk, stand, use the bathroom on her own, and she lost a lot of her appetite.  She passed away on December 31.  It was only after she passed that Angie started taking over a lot of Lacy’s things and behaviors.  She never slept in Lacy’s bed when Lacy was alive, and once she was gone she must have known it was ok.  Lacy also had a massive rope toy that she hadn’t played with in years, and Ange only played with it after Lacy passed away. We keep Lacy’s collar on the dog bed we have in the kitchen and Angie always sits on the other side; leaving room for Lacy.  Angie is truly a special dog.

You probably can’t tell from the pictures, but Angie is one really, really strong dog.  Last year I had a friend over for dinner one night and he helped me take Angie outside to go to the bathroom.  I asked him to hold her leash while I grabbed something and he said, “I don’t know how you can handle this dog.  She is so strong!” This was coming from a 6 foot 3 really muscular athlete.

In her puppy training classes I’ve learned that putting dogs on harnesses actually makes pulling worse.  Dogs don’t like to be physically restrained in any way and they will pull more if you try and restrict their movement via a harness.  We’ve since corrected that problem (for the most part) with a different collar and leash (and training).

It’s been one year of fun and some frustrations, lots of changes, lots of moves, lots of new faces and places, but Angelina is everything I could’ve hoped for in a dog.  She’s kept me going through the rough patches, she’s comforted me in times when I had no one else, and she’s been loyal to the end.

I love you Angie and can’t wait to have many more years of adventures with you.  You’re my little angel and I love you, bean.

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