Monday, December 8, 2014

Happy 4th Gotcha Day, Nola!

As of today (well, this evening to be exact), I have had the most amazing little dog ever for four years!!! It doesn't seem possible that I've had Nola B that long, and yet it feels like I've always had her. Nola is a once in a lifetime dog, and I am completely humbled and honored to call her mine.

When I got Nola, I wasn't in a good place emotionally. Due to some terrifying, hurtful and bitter life events and some much needed (though very, very difficult) changes, I felt fractured. Less than whole. Not a day would pass where I wasn't having choking panic attacks, and I was literally sick from stress and hurt. I was angry, bitter, paranoid and indescribably lonely. I had no friends, no outlet, and my family was there but couldn't understand what exactly I was going through, especially because they were dealing with their own problems. My world narrowed to my own misery and anger, and I couldn't - or wouldn't - see anything else around me.
Enter Nola. She gave me a reason to pull out from my own spiraling head and interact with the world again. She was an insane, off the wall active puppy, so we had to get out of the house a lot. I started walking our neighborhood every day for hours with her, both in a carrier before her shots were complete, and then on leash by my side when she was old enough and capable. I started noticing the things that I'd been ignoring, and seeing the world through the eyes of a curious and fearless puppy. My passion for photography was sparked by her arrival. I began to eat better, and being active lifted my mood more than I can say. I started listening to music while we walked, and discovered another renewed joy in that. I started reading every positive dog training and behavior book I could get my hands on, which revived my love for reading.
The insomnia and nightmares that plagued me prior to her eased dramatically. It was (and is) so soothing to have this tiny little warm ball of dog nestled against me. I had someone that I could talk to who wouldn't judge, and I didn't feel like I was unloading my baggage onto an already full load. 
I had a focus, and with it came an incredible bond. Nola, at only a few months old, would sense my impending panic attacks and alert me by whining and staring, and when they occurred she'd sit quietly pressed against me (and Nola was NOT a quiet, restful puppy) until they passed. With her help, they lessened in frequency and severity, and I'm proud to say that it's been two years since I've had an attack.

Seriously. She's always making me grin like an idiot!

She's responsible for that little merle terror on the right!

I've made all my best memories with Nola by my side, and she's responsible for so much good in my life. The bond I have with her can't be expressed in words. She's my shadow, my confident, my constant companion, my muse and my heart dog. She reads me like a book, and she's everything I could ever want or need in a dog. I can't believe what we've done in these four years, both the more major things shared with you guys or the more minor but still significant things of day to day life. 
Having this dog I would do anything for - and I feel like I can say she'd do anything for me - is both the most joyous and terrifying thing to me. I can't wait to see what the next years bring us, and I hope we have a very, very long time together.

Here's to many more years, baby girl.


  1. Happy Gotcha Day Nola!!!! It's such a pleasure and joy to be your BFF's. We know that your Mom is one amazing gal and is extremely lucky that you came into her life when you did. The two of you together was meant to be!

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  2. Happy 4th Gotcha day Nola! WooHoo for Nola !!!!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  3. Oh my gosh! We nearly cried reading your story! It is similar in so many ways to ours! We just celebrated my 4th birthday here, and even though my new family has only had me since early this year, they are always saying how much joy I have brought, how I have helped them through some difficult times, and how the family just would not be quite the same family without me! And of course, how I am the perfect pup in every way... well, except for some things they're training me on, but I digress... once I found my forever family, I nestled in and never let go.

  4. We come into our moms lives for good reasons. Nola is one of those special girls. Happy Gotcha day sweet pea
    Lily & Edward

  5. Hap-Pee Gotcha Day, Nola! And thank you for taking such good care of your Mommy!

  6. Dogs are awesome. Roxy came into my life when I was going through very similar stuff as you. Dogs can heal so many things.

  7. Many, many years of Nola to come! Happy Gotcha Day, Nola!

  8. Here's to many, many more years!! Happy Gotcha day!!!!

  9. Happy Gotcha Day Nola and here's to many more!! <3 <3 <3

    ~hugs~ I completely relate and was in a similar place before Zoe came home. <3 It's amazing how one dog can change everything, isn't it? :)

  10. Happy Gotcha Day Nola! It sounds like you saved your mom and that's awesome. Hugs for your big day. ♥ ♥

  11. What a beautiful post! The world needs more Nolas that's for sure. Happy Gotcha Day and many more!

  12. Happy Fourth Birthday, Nola - and many more to come. it is easy to see you are very special to your human.

    Woos - Phantom, Ciara, and Lightning

  13. Happy Happy Gotcha Day, Nola!!! You are one special girl and it is great that your mom is capable of seeing that!

  14. What a wonderful post! Happy Gotcha Day!

    And the photos are just adorable. I think the one where she is resting her chin on the flowers is my favorite.

  15. Happy Gotcha day! It is so beautiful story, thank You for sharing!


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