365 Days of Henna: 10 ways adopting my dog has changed my life for the better in just ONE year!

On September 7, 2017 my life was changed FURever. On this day, my life long dream came true, and I got my dog <3IMG_1441

I’ve never had a dog growing up. My mom is allergic, so it was always out of the question. When I was 24 years old, I made the leap and moved in to my own apartment with my boyfriend, Matt. Yay! I was finally living on my own, and was for sure going to get a dog! Ha! Not so fast!

On the bottom of our apartment application, in BOLD hand written lettering, it stated: NO DOGS! NO DOGS! NO DOGS! NO DOGS! NO DOGS! So that was also out of the question.

“Sigh” I’ve waited 24 years to get a dog, what’s a few more?

I remember the moment I realized I NEEDED a dog. And I was determined to make it happen.

It was late August of 2017, and my first time camping. That’s when I met baby Bruce: Our friends’ adorable, 8 week old chocolate lab. Bruce changed my life that weekend. Of course, my first time camping would be one for the books, torrential down pours and all. But puppy kisses can cure just about anything. Just cuddling this little pup, was soooo soothing, relaxing, and totally eased my anxiety.

I remember talking to Jen, Bruce’s mom, about how much just being around him that weekend had been helping me feel more relaxed, and how much he has helped my anxiety. I expressed to her how much I wish I could have a dog of my own, how I thought it would reduce my stress and ease my anxiety on a daily basis, but we weren’t able to have one in our apartment.

That’s when Jen opened my eyes and informed me about Emotional Support Animals & The Fair Housing Act. 

By law, The Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires landlords and apartment managers to make accommodations for people with physical or mental disabilities, allowing them and their service animals and emotional support animals to take residency, even if there is a “no pets” policy.

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety. I’ve been dealing with my OCD and anxiety ever since I was a kid. Having a dog has been the best therapy/ medication I have ever received for my anxiety.

So, that was the deciding factor. I WAS GETTING A DOG ! With a letter from my doctor and a lease amendment, I was permitted to get my dog!

The search for my FURever friend was on!

As I mentioned before, I have OCD. So naturally, I was going to obsess over finding the perfect dog…. every single day until I found them. I won’t get into it here, but let’s just say Matt is a gentleman for listening to me rant and rave about every possible dog I came across!

I had burned myself out, with all the research and obsessing I had been doing for a few weeks, and I told Matt one day “OK I am NOT going to talk about dogs at all today!””

LIES!!!!!!!!!!

It was about 8:30 PM on a Tuesday night. I had been making a dream catcher, when all of a sudden, I couldn’t hold it in anymore and blurted it out “Wanna go to North Shore?!?!?”

Matt was like “Now?!” and I was like “Yeah! You never know, our dog might be there !!”

And she was <3

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We went to North Shore Animal League of America, and fell in love with a dog whose name was Mama Mia. She was a quiet little girl who was one of the only dogs who wasn’t barking. She had the saddest looking eyes, malnourished, and just needed love.  And that’s exactly what she got. Lots of love. Every day.

We’ve had Henna for a whole year already! I can’t believe how fast time flies! Over the past year, I have grown in many ways, and become a better ME, all thanks to my little girlie ! Here are just A FEW of the ways she has changed my life for the best:

1.Unconditional Love:

That’s exactly what she has given me. Every single day, from the moment I saw her in the shelter. There is such a bond between a girl and her dog. One that I never experienced growing up. I never knew how much I was missing out throughout the years, but there’s no back tracking, Henna is for sure the best dog I could have asked for. Every day when  I come home, she is waiting at the top of the stairs, and she runs down to great me, tail wagging all the way down! Followed by kisses, and belly rub requests.

It didn’t take long until Matt was convinced to let her sleep in our bed with us. Nothing like waking up with her face on mine, hot puppy breath and all!

2.Stress Relief:

Did you know that it is actually proven science that petting a dog releases hormones such as Oxycontin and Serotonin ?

After a long day of work, it is the best feeling to come home and see Henna. Nothing can compare to a warm puppy cuddle, and it seriously is such a stress reliever. The best is when I literally scoop her whole body up and cuddle her for like five minutes straight! And she totally lets me do this ! She loves it just as much 🙂

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3.Responsibility:

Talk about preparation for having an actual human child! Now Matt and I have another living being to look after and take care of. No matter what we’re doing, Henna comes first. When we leave the apartment for more than just a few minutes, we make sure to doggy proof the place, which includes but is not limited to :

Doggy Reggae music playing on YouTube for the day, the AC needs to be on so she is comfortable, water in bowl, all doors must be closed, etc.

Then there’s feedings, routine (and not so routine) visits to the vet, daily walks, taking turns with middle of the night walks (I have become a master at rock paper scissor) you know!

4.More physically active:

Living in an apartment without a yard means that every time Henna needs to go out, we need to go out. This causes me to be more physically active, get outside more, go to the park, and run around just so she gets her energy out!

5.Patience:

Like her mama, Henna has anxiety 🙁 Training an anxious dog isn’t easy. It requires a lot of patience, trial and error, and love. Henna is a girl after my own soul. The sweetest little mush, but anxious all the time. Poor baby gets scared a lot when we go on walks, so we have to work on this everyone day!

6.Germs: Not even kidding, Henna has for sure cured my germ phobia. I used to wash my hands like 10-30 times a day. Now, I let her give me kisses on my face, sleep in my bed, and yes, I do pick up dog poop!

7.Outgoing: We always want to take Henna new places. We want to give her the best life she could possibly have, and we hope to show her every day!

8.Raise awareness: Since starting Bohogomo, we have always wanted to give back to our community, especially something we are passionate about. Henna has shown us just how special shelter animals are, and how much they need us. Adopting her has given us insight to how terrible puppy mills and backyard breeders are. We have started donating a portion of our sales to help shelter animals live a better life. In 2020 we plan to travel cross country to raise awareness for shelter animals all around the US! Hey, maybe we will adopt another on the way <3 9.Empowered my relationship: Raising Henna with Matt has been such an amazing experience. Not that I doubted it for a second, but seeing Matt care and love for this dog has totally made me see how much he can love something, or someone else.

10.More social: One of the greatest things is that when we bring Henna anywhere, it is an automatic conversation starter. People come up to us all the time and start talking about their dogs, and just seeing how happy she makes strangers makes me even happier!

Enjoy the little things in life, for they are the big things! Henna reminds me to take time to appreciate what’s going on, right here, right now. For her, when shes chasing after her ball or eating her delicious home made doggy dinners, nothing else matters at the moment. There is really so much to be learned from a dog. She has taught me SO much, way more than I could have imagined! And this is only year one !

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