People always ask if we've had Hathaway since he was a puppy, and they're always amazed when the answer is no, he's a rescue.
The kids and I are celebrating our year anniversary with our big boy, and looking back to when we got him, thinking about many of the months before that, I think it's more accurate to say that he rescued me.
Last year was not a good year, from divorce and the tsunami it creates, waves and earthquakes rising up in places you never expected; being laid off without the option of filing for unemployment; the instability of freelance work; to minor health issues cropping up one after the other and running out of the resources to adequately address them, basically it sucked.
With all that to deal with, of course the logical solution is to adopt a dog. Or better yet, a 2-year-old male pit bull that has been surrendered twice, right? Friends said "Think about everything you're dealing with right now. Do you really need to deal with how people are going to react to a pit bull as well?" Family said "Pit bulls kill people in Detroit."
But we brought him home anyway, and what he's given us in the last year -- besides teeny tiny pieces of what used to be our stuff (cell phones, stuffed animals, food, reading glasses for starters) -- is the comfort of unconditional love and the sheer joy that comes from the very center of the heart. He is always happy, always ready to play or lick your face or just curl up next to you and find peace in the warmth of the connection.
He's given us -- me especially -- peace of mind. When we started walking, getting back to the exercise was not just good for the body, but helped clear the mind and restore the soul.
He helped me find a refuge where the only thing you are judged by is how you treat your dog. The dog park -- bark park -- is my sanctuary, whether I need to be alone or in the center of the canine mayhem. It is my reset button, regardless of how the day went.
And Hathaway has brought a world of new people into my life, a safety net of sorts. Friends and love I wouldn't have except for my dog. It all has revived feelings long ago given up for dead.
A group of us were walking the other day and somebody noted how amazing it is that we all found each other -- all with similar needs or voids to fill. And here we were, walking, needs met in many ways, filled with the simple joy of watching the dogs play and run and wrestle.
So yes, my dog may be from a shelter, but the real rescue is me.