Hey everyone! Looking back through my old blog posts, I realized that I’ve mentioned, but never formally introduced you to Harper!! For those of you who may not know, Harper is my sweet rescue pup – she’s my baby and I absolutely adore her! We adopted Harper a year ago today and it’s been the best thing we’ve ever done! As I’m writing this, I’m feeling a tiny bit emotional (which is new for me…) so please excuse the sappiness. In honor of her 1 year adopt-a-versary, here’s how she came to be our best friend.
N and I had been talking about getting a dog for years. He had grown up with dogs, hamsters, hedgehogs, cats, chickens, chinchillas, and the like his whole life and was missing having a family pet. I, on the other hand, couldn’t be more different. I grew up in a family that never had a pet. My mom (to this day) is still terrified of dogs. I’ll admit, I was a little worried around them too. When we started thinking about getting a dog, I had so many reasons not to get one – a busy work schedule, a small apartment, the pet hair, the extra expense… the list went on.
When Nick decided to go back to school, we knew it was time. His schedule would allow him to study at home more often, and I was no longer traveling for work. Originally, we were thinking of getting a puppy – a little yellow lab or golden retriever puppy we could raise on our own. It would play with us, snuggle us, follow us around, and we would do everything with it! I did some research and it became clear to me how much work a little tiny puppy would be. I also had never thought about how many animals are taken to a shelter for that same reason. It broke my heart.
We started scouring our local animal shelter websites to see if there were any dogs that looked like they might be a good fit for us. I was adamant – we needed to find a dog that was a perfect fit for our lifestyle. One cold and snowy day in March, we ventured out to a local PetSmart adoption event. We waited and waited for the puppies to arrive and were notified that the event was cancelled due to inclement weather where the puppies were coming from.
Disappointed, we started heading home until Nick suggested we at least go to the local humane society and learn about their policies. He had seen this dog named Harper and wanted me to take a look. I had seen Harper’s photo online and wasn’t immediately enamored. This scared looking scrappy 2 year old wasn’t the cute snuggly puppy I was hoping to find. In fact, I joke with Nick that she has RBF.
This was my first time ever at a humane society. Nick warned me that it might be heartbreaking to see all of these dogs in kennels, just waiting for their forever home. Most of the dogs were jumping up and down, excited by all the people milling around the humane society, ready to find their new friends. Harper was in her kennel – reserved. She looked like she was sick of all the excitement. She looked tired. She looked like she had given up hope.
We first met with a beautiful 4 month old silver lab – he was house trained and energetic – but he didn’t seem like he really cared for us. The second pup we met was sweet, sweet Rexy. He was a rambunctious little 10 month old german shepherd mix puppy with so much energy! Finally we met Harper. She seemed nervous at first but in about ten seconds she decided she liked me and decided she wanted to play tug of war. We had an instant connection and were inseparable. This sweetheart just wanted a family she could love and trust! I couldn’t even think about leaving without her. We took her for a walk and it was decided – we wouldn’t leave without taking her home with us.
We didn’t even read her history. We knew that regardless of her past, we loved that dog and wanted to give her a loving home. While we signed the paperwork, the volunteers at the humane society had to take Harper back to her kennel. The look she gave me broke my heart – it was as if I had broken her trust and let her down. She didn’t know that we had to sign her release forms before we could take her home! After an excruciating 30 minutes of being away from her we were reunited. Harper was SO excited we had come back for her! Her tail was wagging, and she was all smiles. We kept telling her we were taking her home and we walked to the car. For weeks after that – the smart pup associated the word “home” with the car. What a genius!
That night we decided to finally read Harper’s history. It was heart breaking. She had been transferred to Colorado from a shelter in Oklahoma (the trail is cold before that). She didn’t have heartworm. She had had a litter of puppies – who knows what happened to them. She had been briefly adopted and returned to the shelter after 10 days by a woman who claimed she had destructive separation anxiety because she was never crate trained but was left crated for 10 hours a day while the woman was at work. She had broke out of the crate and injured herself. She was at that shelter with “fear” issues and then transferred into another shelter two weeks later. The poor girl had been in and out of shelters for over a month – no wonder she looked like she had given up hope!
At first, Harper was scared. Scared of new people, scared of brooms, even scared of the wind! But with lots of love and patience, Harper has come such a long way. She now welcomes strangers, is curious about the vacuum, has no problem being alone – the list goes on. She went from being a shelter dog to a princess and she sure knows it!
From the moment I met Harper, I knew she was going to be my dog and that I would be her human. I can’t wait to come home to her wagging tail every day and her big beautiful eyes waking me up every morning. I love our walks in the park, our runs on the trails, our wrestling in the living room, our snuggling on the couch. She’s my best friend, official treat taster, and troublemaker. I can’t imagine my life without Harper and I know that Nick feels the same.
As I write this, Harper is currently snuggling in her favorite spot under my desk with all her new adopt-a-versary stuffed animals by my feet and I know things are exactly as they should be. I found this comic a few months ago about what it’s like adopting a dog and this is 100% true. For anyone considering getting a dog, I highly encourage you to consider adopting a pet from your local animal shelter and give these amazing animals a forever home. The love and bond you’ll have with them is so special. Your love and patience will go a long, long way.
We love you Harper, dog. You’ve changed our lives forever for the better. Happy 1 year adopt-a-versary, baby girl. We hope you’re loving your fur-ever home.