Happy New Year!

11:27 PM

Hello fellow readers!

I have neglected you all for too long, I know. The holidays had me very busy and I honestly did not have a moment to sit down and write a lengthy post. But I promise you, I had a very good reason:

I got a dog!

Her name is Navi, and she is a one year old mini poodle mix. I adopted her the weekend of Thanksgiving break, so I've had her over one month now.

I've wanted a dog for the longest time - since I was a little girl, in fact. When I was little, every year my parents would claim, "We will get a dog when you are fourteen years old." But unsurprisingly, that was a false promise. Fourteen came and went without a four-legged-friend. Then I went off to college, where I was too broke to own a dog, and then I got a full time job, where I had no time to dedicate to a dog. It was only recently that my family agreed to help care for one. Subsequently, I fervently scoured rescues and local animal shelters until I found "the one".

While going to animal shelter after animal shelter sounds extremely fun (I was so obsessed with dogs that I would go to shelters, and pretend that I was interested in adopting in order to play with them. Self-inflicting heartbreak, I know), it was actually very stressful! I had about ten local shelters's websites bookmarked to check the available dogs on daily basis. If I saw a puppy that I liked (I knew I wanted some sort of fluffy small dog), I would call the shelter to see if the dog was available. The shelter would confirm that the dog was available, but by the time I was able to get off work to visit, the dog would be adopted by someone else.

I even lined up outside an animal shelter on Black Friday because I saw a four-month old maltipoo (maltese and poodle mix) on one shelter's website. The animal shelter opened at 11 am, and I arrived at 10:45 am thinking I would be among the first in line...boy, was I wrong. The line already had 15 parties ahead of me!

I knew there was a faint chance that the maltipoo would still be available by the time I reached the front. I shook nervously as numbers 1-15 were called, and even blathered my worries to a shelter worker (who looked a little worried at my intense desire, but was kind enough to listen sympathetically). When I saw the maltipoo being carried out by another family, my heart broke into pieces and I knew it was hopeless.

Nevertheless, I approached the family because I HAD to find out what time they lined up.

"Excuse me," I said sadly, "You guys adopted the puppy I came here for. Would you mind telling me what time you lined up?"

"Oh, I'm so sorry!" The women, presumably the mother of the family, replied. She genuinely looked apologetic for my sadness. "We got here at 9 am."

My eyes widened in shock. 9 am! That meant they had lined up for 2 hours, in the cold! I was no longer upset. This family clearly wanted the dog more than me. But in my defense, this particular animal shelter was one hour away! It was hard to will the power to wake up early after a heavy Thanksgiving meal.

As I drove back home from the shelter, I received a call from a small non-profit rescue about another dog that I had expressed interest in. This dog had initially another meet-and-greet, but that person had cancelled and now I would be able to meet him! I yelped in joy. This particular dog's picture online had showed great promise. It was a one year old, shih tzu-lhasa apso mix who was small and fluffy.

After coercing my family members into a car (this rescue was picky and wanted all the family members present for the meet-and-greet), we drove to meet the little puppy where he was being fostered. When the foster mom of the puppy opened the door, she had a dog in her arms. However, I was very confused because the dog in her arms looked NOTHING like the dog I had set my heart on. (I think it was an outdated picture of him as a puppy.) Long story short, the dog showed absolutely no resemblance to what I wanted. Again, I left empty handed.

By now, I was heavily defeated and felt that I would never find "the one". At this point, it had only been one week of searching for me, but I am the type of person to obsessively pursue a goal until it is attained. Some would call this ambitious. I somewhat think it is borderline psychotic.

On the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, I decided on a whim to go to another shelter by myself. I had seen two mini poodle mix puppies on their website that caught my eye. On the drive to the shelter, I held my hopes in check and told myself that by the time I arrived at the shelter, the dogs may not even be there.

But lo and behind, when I arrived at the shelter, there were two little shaggy white doggies wagging their tails and wanting to meet me. I admit I frowned in great puzzlement, since their hair looked extremely shaggy for poodles. I didn't want a shaggy dog, I wanted a fluffy dog.

Navi (left) with her sister "Muffin"...and some random dog in between

I moved along and checked out the other dogs in the shelter. There was a cream colored dog that looked like a mini-labradoodle that I requested to meet with. After spending some time with the mini-labradoodle, I decided that he did not connect with me enough - not once did he approach me; he was more interested in toys and the volunteer. But since I was already at the shelter, I requested to meet with the mini white poodle mixes that I originally came for.

One of the mini white poodle mixes was already adopted (in the span of 45 minutes that I had been at the shelter!), so I met with the other.

The day I picked Navi up from the shelter

The first thing this puppy did was run into the room and jump into my lap! She had done what I wanted from the labradoodle!

The volunteers who were assisting me looked over and gaped. "This never happens!" one of them exclaimed.

The other agreed. "Usually, the dog is more interested in toys, in food, or in us [the volunteers]. But she ran straight to you. We're not just saying this, but this NEVER happens."

I knew at that moment that she was the one. I stood in line to adopt "Biscuit" (Navi's shelter name). I couldn't yet take her home that day, as she had to get spayed first (FYI, it is the law for dogs to be neutered and spayed before being adopted). I signed the paperwork and mentally prepared myself for a little doggy friend to enter my life.

"Biscuit" came home with me the following week. I promptly changed her name to Navi after many days of debating. Her other name choices included Nala, Lilo, Ellie, none of which really stuck. Since Navi was found as a stray, she was very matted and EXTREMELY stinky. The first couple of weeks were very hard because I could not bathe or groom her as her spay incision needed to heal. Her stench made petting and holding her hard, as Navi is a very affectionate dog and always wanted attention. I just held my hand at arm's length and hesitantly patted her.

Ungroomed and goofy looking Navi at Petco
Fast forward a couple of weeks later, and Navi is groomed! She looks like a completely different dog.

new Navi vs. old Navy

It has been such a joy discovering the personality of my little puppy. I admit that the first month was really hard. Like, REALLY hard. I had researched for over a year about what it takes to raise a dog, and thought I was prepared. I assumed that since Navi was already one year old and not a puppy-puppy (weeks or months in age), that it would be somewhat easier.

But oh lawd, it was not easy. Despite my laborious research, it was extremely difficult. Navi was not yet potty trained, and I had to take her out six times a day to encourage her to potty outside. I did not have a social life and could not go to the gym after work or on weekends, since I needed to spend time to bond with Navi. Navi was a very anxious dog initially, understandably so as she was adjusting to a new home. She would cry bloody murder every time she was left alone in her crate. During those early days, I regretted bringing home a dog and would often break down in tears wondering if I had made the right decision. She had uprooted my life, and I wasn't sure I liked it.

But as I write this post, I am so glad that I stuck it out. Over a month later, I can say with some level of confidence that Navi is potty-trained* (*apparently if they do not have an accident in 4 weeks, they are officially potty trained. I think it has only been 3 weeks). She now only whines briefly when left alone, instead of ALL NIGHT LONG, but otherwise proceeds with her day. She is more confident and roams freely indoors, and does not have to be by my side all the time. She finally trusts my boyfriend and I, and lets us roll her onto her back to rub her belly.

Navi in a raincoat (yes, I bought her a raincoat...)

And Navi is so smart! In the short amount of time I have had her, I've taught her "sit", "down", "shake", "crawl", and am teaching her "roll over". She is always curious and loves inspecting her surroundings.

I could go on and on about how wonderful my little puppy is. As to not bore you anymore, to sum it up, she enriches my life and I am so glad that she chose me as her owner! It is the loveliest feeling after a long day of work, to come home and see her greeting me enthusiastically. Navi is one year old but still acts like a little puppy. I hope she continues her puppy-like behavior for a long time.

"Hi! I'm Navi!"

Don't get me wrong - Navi is a TON of work, not to mention expensive, but it is all extremely fulfilling. I'm fortunate to have my boyfriend "co-adopt" her, and have wonderful friends and family members who help out a good amount. Being a single mother to Navi was hard, but raising her with someone else is a lot of fun. Walks are no longer a bore, but an opportunity to spend time with other loved ones. With my boyfriend helping out, I am able to commence my intense gym schedule again.

Navi being cute

Oh, and Navi went to a Trader Joe's recently! I tried to leave her in the car when I was picking up some snacks, but she refused and was being a giant brat. So here she is in her carrier riding in a Trader Joe's shopping cart.

Navi at Trader Joe's

I hope you enjoyed reading my long post about getting a dog. Happy New Year from Navi and me! Now that things have settled down slightly, I will be sure to post more soon!

Navi with dog friend Kody
Navi & Mina

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