April 7th, 2017 my boyfriend and I decided to get a dog together. I was unable to work due to my diagnosis and he was still working hard to finish Grad school, so this was the perfect time to get a dog to keep me company and to keep me moving. He was born on 1/11/17 (the magic in those numbers though!) and we made the 3 hour drive to pick him up. I’ve had dogs my whole life, but in 2008 when my dog and bestfriend, Grant, passed away at 15 years old, I told myself I would never love a dog as much as him.
The longest 3 hours of our lives finally went by and we arrived at our new puppy’s pick-up location. We had a weird encounter with an Amish man named Abner who didn’t seem to have a single care about the puppies running around his basement. He introduced us to a very fluffy, dirty, black Goldendoodle that was about the size of a small microwave (I couldn’t believe this giant thing was only 14 weeks old). So if you didn’t catch that, we bought a puppy from an Amish family… which means that everything this dog knew in his short 14 week of life was a dark basement and hay. He had never seen or been in a car, had never experienced electricity, and had never walked on carpet or wood flooring. Everything was new to him. It took us 3 baths and a trip to the groomer to get the farm smell out of his fur. We named him Zion because we listen to a lot of Reggae music and the name was fitting.
Tyler went to school and I stayed at home trying to get to know this weird animal. Weeks went by and at first it was awkward. He never made a sound, he just always stared at me and was surprised by everything he came into contact with. It took us a while to learn each others personalities and eventually he barked! (His first bark was at a broom when I was sweeping the floor). He is now a little over a year old and his personality is fully bloomed. He makes the most insane facial expressions and the weirdest noises with his deep voice. No one really believes me when we’re on walks and I tell them he’s still a puppy. He’s about 60 lbs so far and really tall.
I couldn’t do all of the training on my own, especially with a dog who was completely independent due to his living conditions in his first 14 weeks on earth. So I found a guy named Paul who runs a business called KrushK9. It was the best decision we could have made. He taught Tyler and I how to build a relationship with Zion rather than to just give commands. If you live in the Tri-state area I highly recommend giving KrushK9 a call (he comes to you!).
Zion now goes everywhere with me. He loves being in the car and taking rides to the store with me. When we talk to him, he tilts his head as if he is really trying hard to process the words we’re saying. If we never made the decision to get a dog, I would have gone crazy. Having another living being to take care of besides myself has given me motivation to stick to routines. Zion forces me to take him to the park, give him the interaction with the outside world that he needs, and constantly keeps me on my toes.
When I blast music in the kitchen he instantly gets excited and we dance around like idiots together. I feel like music brings us on the same vibrational level. He feels the happiness pouring out of me and, in return, always smiles with his mouth wide open. It’s like we can read each other. He brings out my inner child and reminds me everyday to let that child play. If you’ve ever had a dog then you know this feeling. He keeps me sane and knows when I’m not feeling well. When I’m swollen and can barely move around, he walks a little slower and acts a little softer so that he’s going at my pace. He follows me everywhere I go making sure I have the support I need when no one else is home. I am so thankful everyday that the universe sent me another guide in physical form. It may sound crazy, but Zion has the same qualities that Grant had, leaving me to believe this is the same spirit guide. The amount of life lessons he teaches me are endless. He saved my sanity. I love you Zion.
Zion has his own Instagram account if you’d like to see what his crazy life is like! You can find it here.
If you have any type of illness, having a dog companion is extremely beneficial. They slowly get you back on your feet and give you daily reminders not to give up.