It was early July 2010 and we had just uprooted our lives in Michigan and moved to Texas for work opportunities. It was hot as hell as I explored the halls and offices and kennels of my new job at (another) humane society. I was in awe of the sheer volume of animals being surrendered on a daily basis; even more than in Florida. As I roamed the facility, I talked to each little face that looked up at me and wished them luck in finding a new forever home. I also committed their faces to memory to serve as a source of daily motivation to do the job I had been hired to do. Personally, I was determined not to let myself fall in love…yet. Just two months prior, I had said goodbye to my first baby, Mya, and I didn’t know if I was ready to find another soul mate. So I walked with conviction and great determination.
Then I saw her. A medium-sized black and white Husky mix staring sweetly at me with innocent eyes. Magnetic attraction pulled me toward her kennel as I said out loud “Oh, you’re a cutie…” and as I read her kennel card I jumped back and finished my statement with “…but you’re a pup! I can’t adopt a pup!” This dog, who had been named Brook, watched me intently and listened to my every word. She cocked her head with her adorable too-big ears perked toward me and I bent down to pet her through the gate. My heart melted but I told myself NO as I straightened up and walked away. Then I heard it. The distinct high-pitched whine of pity. I turned and looked at her, her ears perked toward me again, and said “Oh my” as I went back to my business.
I could hear her whine and howl all the back at in my office (literally another building away) and it was as if I had been imprinted upon. I thought about Brook all the time. I checked on her multiple times throughout the day for over a week. During that time she was moved from our intake kennels to the adoption kennels where she had indoor/outdoor access and was visible to the public. I crossed my fingers that she would be adopted but, after a weekend of violent thunderstorms, I decided that she couldn’t live another day alone in the kennel. I had given the world enough time to adopt her. On Monday July 12th, I went into work, completed the paperwork, and took my new baby home.
We changed her name to Anya which is the Russian/Hebrew word for ‘grace’ which she learned quickly. She immediately hit it off with Chewy, our old girl, and sent the cats running for higher ground. Anya’s first night at home – safe and comfortable – she started coughing and hacking something terrible. She had contracted the horrible upper respiratory infection that was tearing through our facility. And hers was already in the full-blown pneumonia stage. I couldn’t believe that, two months after the emotional roller coaster associated with and spending thousands of dollars on Mya’s care, I was back at the vet with a dog in need of emergency treatment. On the first night!
But, we survived that first chaotic night. Anya bounced back with the proper medications and treatment and turned out to be a typical spirited and destructive puppy! She tested our patience and our endurance and made us laugh louder and harder than any animal ever has. She still does. Anya is definitely one of the smartest and happiest dogs I’ve ever known and while she may initially be hesitant to try something (like stairs or tunnels), once she does it she’ll do it over and over again with increasing zeal. And she’s such an athletic dog that watching her is like watching an Olympian chasing the gold. We just stare in awe and with envy.
This is the time of year that we celebrate Anya’s birthday and she’s just turned three years old! Time sure has flown and our lives have changed dramatically since she whined her way into my heart. After a year in Texas we moved back to Michigan and she seems to love everything about life here, especially the snow! It’s been great socializing her with our families, friends, and other dogs. Plus, we have a huge backyard and plenty of space for her to leap and bound after squirrels, snowflakes, and whatever catches her eye.
The happiness and laughter that she brings to our lives is worth all of the destroyed shoes, clothing, rugs, pillows, and furniture she’s left in her wake. She’s our Anya.
Quite striking, Anya is a sight to be seen. She is a gorgeous dog full of personality and energy. Her happiness flows freely and she’s always, without a doubt, happiest to see me when I get home. Hugs and kisses baby girl, you’re three now!