|Happy Birthday Abby!|
Two years ago this New Year’s, I adopted a Boston Bull Terrier (perhaps some Pug?) dog from Wonder Dog Rescue in San Francisco. We met on a sunny afternoon in the Mission District. Her tongue perpetually hung out to the side and we simply took to each other immediately. She’s been my constant sidekick ever since. A fellow Nosy Parker, my little shadow is a constant source of love and laughs. The saying ‘who rescued whom?’ doesn’t begin to cover it.
My Abby has plenty of nicknames, the most common of which is Piglet, inspired by her frequent pig-like snorts and waddles. Abby has a lot of personality, some perhaps we just attribute to her. But a more cuddly, love-distributing, healing dog there is not. Though many Boston Terriers are hyperactive, Abby exudes a surprising calmness, even in her happiness to find new laps to cuddle and blankets to burrow. She is most eager to settle in for a warm cuddle. (I’d wanted to get a dog for a long time, having never stopped missing Emma, the Bordeaux Mastiff we rescued when I was a teen and who died while I was studying abroad. I knew a big dog was not feasible for apartment living so I researched various breeds and decided a Boston was for me. A friend put me in touch with Wonder Dog Rescue who matched me with Abby.) When I adopted Abby, I was between jobs and feeling down. Progressively, life has gotten exponentially more difficult since then and I attribute my actual survival to this sweet dog. I hesitate to admit there were days when Abby was my only motivation to keep going, the only source of light or laughter in my days. She was my rock in the hospital waiting room during my mom’s 7-hour brain surgery. I was a mess. But when Abby curls up into my lap, I can feel my breathing slow and my mind ease.
Abby’s healing powers far exceed her love and loyalty to me; she took her role of comforter and healer to my mom, Jude, very seriously. The moment we were settled in her post-surgery ICU room, Abby placed herself on the bed and cuddled up against Jude who floated in and out of the room on heavy painkillers. Abby wouldn’t voluntarily leave Jude’s side ― even for walks or food. Abby’s warmth and radiating love grounded Jude in her post-surgery haze and sped her healing. She also made Jude one of the most popular patients on the floor! In more tangible healing feats, Abby helped Jude lower her blood pressure before a stressful follow-up with the cancer doctor. Abby has kept our spirits up during the long months of recovery. She is still the funniest part of our days.
Not only does Abby have these amazing healing powers, but her love of people, good manners (doesn’t bark, bite or chew!) and small size make her very portable. Abby comes to work with me each day; she’s become the office greeter. It’s amazing the stress reduction a dog’s presence in the office provides ― studies back it up, showing a “positive impact on workplace morale, productivity and collaboration.” There are even books on how to create dog-friendly workplaces. During a down economy, bringing your dog to work is a great perk for which to negotiate that doesn’t cost the company any money. (This was one of the many great career lessons I learned from Career Guru J.T. O’Donnell’s Career HMO.)
Pre-Abby, I was quite against clothing for dogs, thinking it mostly silly. But I quickly learned from Abby’s vet that some dogs need assistance keeping warm. To curb sweet Abby’s shivering, she now sports a couple fashionable pink options for warmth (her favorite being her pink hoodie)! Worries that Abby wouldn’t like clothing were fast put aside when she tried to crawl back into her sweater one morning. Luckily, I love craft projects! For Halloween, Abby sported a homemade piglet costume from scraps of pink fleece. I also made her a new collar for her birthday (pictured above).
Next up for the Lil’ Nosy Parker? Posting about our craft projects!