I have loved animals since I was a kid. For the first 10 years of my life, I was set on being a zoologist. And even though I eventually chose a different career path, my love for animals never faltered. My biggest love is for dogs since I have grown up with them since adolescence. From my grandparents to the grandkids, we’ve always had dogs in the family. I still laugh when I remember my grandma sneaking bites of food to the dogs under the table thinking that no one noticed. I am fortunate to have a family filled with dog lovers, all of whom have been spoiling dogs for generations.
Dogs can teach us so many wonderful things about life, and each dog has their own lessons for us. No two dog personalities are the same and neither are our bonds with them. Our most recent dog was named Titan and he was a 90-pound German shepherd. And although he unexpectedly passed in July 2022 from sudden and acute health issues, there isn’t a day that does by that I don’t think about how thankful I am to have had him in my life and for all the lessons he taught me.
I am thankful for Titan for many reasons, but to name just a few …
We had an undeniable bond. He could easily register if my husband or I was having a bad day or feeling sick, and he would bring us his favorite squeaky toy (because if it made him so happy, it should cheer us up too!). Titan provided such companionship, especially since I work from home and my husband does not. He didn’t just make working from home less lonely; he also made it so much fun. He would follow me around the house and was always nearby for a snuggle. On our days off, I took him with me everywhere dogs were allowed (yes, even Ulta!). We’d go on outdoor adventures, walks in the park, and even run errands. We’d cruise through the Starbucks drive-thru for ice coffee and pupiccinos, and he would hard stare the barista until he got his cup, which made everyone laugh. He brought so much joy to my life!
Caring for Titan also gave me an immense amount of purpose. As a childfree by choice woman, caring for dogs is where a lot of my love, attention, and nurturing energies go. I treat my dogs as my kids, and I always consider them my fur babies. And since Titan was quite intelligent and a high drive breed, he required a great deal of training, attention, and activity, and it brought me so much pleasure to provide that for him. Spoiling him and caring for him was a central part of my life but I was happy to do it because of how much I loved him.
Titan kept me active, present, and playful. He taught me that time is never wasted walking slowly and hanging out at the park for hours. I have always been a to-do-list gal and Titan made me slow down and be present. We’d walk and play for hours every day. At home, we’d play hide-and-seek, puzzles, and tug of war. Outside, we’d wander around the neighborhood or a park for ages, sit under trees to watch squirrels and read, and relax. Titan taught me to be present, to slow down, to play more, and that I didn’t always have to be productive. I still love going for walks several times throughout my day and it has become a regular part of my daily routine.
In return, Titan cared for my husband and me very much. He demonstrated his love by always keeping us close, especially when on outdoor adventures; he screened everyone at the front door for our security; and he was over-the-moon excited when we came home (even if it was after just a few minutes from getting the mail). I spoil my dogs and will continue to encourage others do the same. Titan may not have needed a Tempur-Pedic bed in every room, weekly trips to the pet store, or organized play dates but he deserved it. And while he may not be here anymore, I look forward to honoring him by spoiling all my future dogs who I have yet to meet.