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.