The truth is, I had always been a “cat” woman. I had never owned a dog, and had heard how much work they were to take care of, so getting a dog wasn’t ever on my radar.
I was recently divorced and feeling a little bit lonely, even though I had two cats at home, I still felt something was missing in my life. A woman who worked with me would bring her Chihuahua along to the photography studio on Wednesdays—and soon, I was thinking I could handle a little dog.
I reached out to the Carver-Scott Humane Society. A little Yorkie had come into the pound over the weekend. She had been abandoned by the side of the road and was looking a little underweight and shabby. They warned me that she wasn’t very friendly, and would bare her teeth at anyone who tried to pick her up, but they were happy to bring her to my home for a meeting.
This lonely, scared little Yorkie showed up at my house and promptly peed in every section of the house (was she “marking her territory” because she knew she was staying?) When she finally let me pick her up—she licked my face and looked at me with her big brown eyes. It was pretty much puppy love at first sight.
Pixxie would go with me everywhere dogs were allowed. Friends thought of her more as my child than an actual dog, and even friends who weren’t “dog people” would allow her to come to their home, and then say how sweet she was. At the Starbucks drive-thru her cuteness would command the attention of the entire staff, getting her her very own “pupaccino” (mini cup of whipped cream.) She was also my new road-trip partner – traveling to 36 states and Canada — and truly my best friend.
Shortly after rescuing her, we moved to a new city where we both easily settled into our new loft. I
was beginning to realize how much of a companion she truly was for me. Then on an Arctic-cold February morning, I fell on a patch of ice and landed full force on the back of my skull. Pixxie had been in my arms when I fell. Although she was quite shaken by what had happened, she wasn’t hurt. She was sitting about ten feet from where I lay, looking at me with great “doggy concern,” and for good reason. I had suffered a traumatic brain injury, along with whiplash and a dislocated sternum.
For the first several months I was completely dazed and confused and would sleep for 12–14 hours at night. At first, I was worried that Pixxie would have a potty accident being in the bedroom during my long night’s sleep, but she didn’t. She knew I wasn’t okay, and would give me extra snuggles and puppy kisses, and let me sleep in as late as I needed.
Pixxie could sense when I was in a lot of pain or was feeling depressed, and she would always come to my rescue, giving me reassuring licks after crawling up onto my lap. Even in my darkest days, she was by my side with those big ol’ puppy eyes, letting me know that she was there for me—even if I couldn’t remember whether or not I had fed her dinner yet. She was my motivation to get up in the morning, and having a routine to take her out for her morning walk was a godsend.
I firmly believe having Pixxie kept me going when things got really hard. If I were frustrated or confused, sad or lonely, I would hear the sweet sounds of the little Yorkie I rescued only a year earlier. It’s truly hard to be sad when a dog is licking your face!
While I rescued Pixxie from a life of abandonment and mistreatment, I believe she came into my life at just the right time to rescue me from an unexpected accident and period of darkness.
It’s the proverbial cliché – who rescued who?
This post was originally published on the author’s Huffington Post blog and is republished here with her permission. —
Photo credit: Amy Zellmer