This one is from the heart you guys. It’s a happy story, and a bit of a sad story — but ultimately a really beautiful story that I’m proud of.
A little over 5 years ago I had a calling to adopt a dog, the idea didn’t exactly make sense for my life but I felt a need and decided to take the plunge.
Late one Friday night, literally minutes before closing I adopted my pup from North Shore Animal League.
The little girl I brought home was tiny, terrified and awkward AF. She was scared of the world, I was sad thinking of what had happened to her before we had met. She would snarl and whimper and literally did not know how to use her legs! It took 5 days of carrying her to and from Prospect Park until she suddenly emerged and burst into a run; she walked herself home that day, it was so awesome.
She had the sweetest face, the kindest eyes and such a pretty coat — she had the softest head you could imagine. Her ears stood up like a fox and moved around like satellite antennas. My favorite was when they pointed out sideways.
I named her Jane.
We became besties, sisters, partners in crime.
I wanted to love the fear right out of her, I wanted her to feel safe and happy and know that the world could be good. Jane was the best snuggles in the world; she would cuddle neck over neck or spine-to-spine like we were puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together. I would rub her chest and spine, pass her tail between my hands, touch between her toes.
I would have conversations with her and even reason with her. I would speak to her as if she understood me because I knew she would pick up on my energy and comprehend. I didn’t make her obedient; I established a mutual trust and respect that served both of us. She listened when I asked something of her because she trusted it was for good reason; and I didn’t command her to do things for no reason, only when it was necessary or for her own safety. We had sincere respect for each other, we were equals.
Our life was really good. Every day we would go running in Prospect Park where Jane was allowed off leash. My sister and brother-in-law lived next door with their dog Sophie and they were all so close to Janey, too — we sometimes joked that the two dogs didn’t know which of our homes was respectively theirs…we were all one big family and always together.
Jane really grew up — not only did she double in size but she matured. She would clean me and care for me when I was down, she was social with other people and dogs and she was just so sweet it could kill you. She lived a fun life that I was proud of, she was happy.
A few years later we moved to Manhattan and everything was different. The move was really good for me, but really bad for Jane. We no longer had help from family next door, she didn’t see Sophie every day anymore, dog walkers were more expensive and I couldn’t afford as much time with them as I wanted for Jane. We only had small open spaces to go off leash or had to run together while Jane was restrained to me. She wasn’t getting the exercise or play she needed, or the company she deserved. She would sigh, and lay around my small apartment and she even gained a little weight. I felt so down and confused and couldn’t imagine this life for her forever, but I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know that there would be an end in site — and she was a young girl with a lot more years to live.
I wrestled with some pretty heavy emotions for a little while until I finally blurted out to my sister and best friend that Jane deserved more. My emotions were boiling over because I was trying so hard to give her a good life but even with everything I could offer it wasn’t good enough. I work a lot and was on my own to care for her, with limited time and resources there was a lot of down time for Jane, a lot of alone time…Too much time. I was unsatisfied and embarrassed of the life Jane was living. I had to save her.
The next day, hysterically crying, I made a local post on craigslist and magic happened. Magic by the name of Natalie.
The first person that responded to my post and the only person I met eventually became Jane’s new mom. What I thought was going to be a horrible experience turned out to be something great — greater than any of us as individuals, maybe the greatest gift I will ever receive.
We made the transition slowly and carefully, all under the agreement that if it wasn’t natural and perfect in every way that we wouldn’t continue. We took things in steps, learning and becoming increasingly more familiar of each other as we went, all 3 of us. Over time, Jane and Natalie started spending more time alone, and then having sleepovers. I would visit in the evenings after work. Natalie was so in tune both to Jane’s soul and energy and also to the style of relationship we had created between us. She got it. It was like the universe had known all along that I was going to pass the torch to Natalie at this very moment. It was like Jane was with me when I needed her and then in order to take Jane to the next level and beyond, she needed to be with Natalie now.
Natalie was as awed with Jane as I was, her connection immediately ran so deep. She understood her, read her, picked up on who she was and what she needed. Jane had come such a long way but still had so much potential. As her new mommy, Natalie has connected with Jane and brought things out of her that I never knew possible. Jane’s a silly and frisky girl now, like a puppy. She’s playful and adventurous in ways she wasn’t quite with me. I didn’t have the time or know-how to bring those things out of her fully.
The life Natalie provides for Jane is quite literally beyond my wildest dreams, not only does it exceed my expectations but it exceeds anything I could have even imagined to ask for.
Jane is never alone, like literally not ever even for 5 minutes. Natalie, her boyfriend Doyle and their cat Todd have a dreamy life. They have flexible work schedules, live near prospect park, spend tons of time outdoors and having adventures. They have so many friends and family with dogs that Jane has a crew, they roll deep. I get pictures every day that blow my mind. They’re always on the go — on road trips, on the train (Jane has a service dog vest now so can go almost anywhere!), hiking, to the beach. Jane was scared of the water with me but Natalie got her a life vest, took the time to show her the way and now she swims!
Jane will always be in my life — I babysit her when her new fam go away, I take her away for the weekend when we go upstate, or visit her in Brooklyn from time to time. Every time I see her these days she’s exhausted, she’s skinny and vibrant and just the happiest girl I have ever seen.
This story makes me believe in the universe, it makes me know that my late Grandmother Natalie (and my favorite person in the world) is watching over me. It makes me trust that even when something seems so impossible and wrong, if you swallow your pride and follow your instincts then it will serve you. Life is a journey, a sloppy one at times, but just keep navigating, do what you think is right at the time and things have a way of working out.
I am so blessed, we all are. Everyone in this story came out on top. We’re all a big family now, friends, forever connected and Jane simply has more people who love her.
I am so grateful.
In honor of this story and Jane’s badass life I’m going to do a monthly post on the blog sharing the amazing pictures I receive of Jane living the life of her dreams. It brings me so much joy to watch, I can’t wait to share!
Have a great evening, thanks for reading.