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When Your Best Friend Has 4 Legs: The Ruff Truth Of Being An Animal Lover

Being an animal lover is something that has always been a part of me.  I remember being in 7th or 8th grade and was convinced I was going to be a veterinarian.  There was no better option, of course I want to hang out with cute dogs all day, who wouldn’t?!?! Now, I’m not very good at math…. or science and it didn’t really occur to me until I started planning what I needed to do to make this happen that being a Doctor of Animals probably required a bit of both. But that wasn’t going to stop me, I could learn the math and science, right?

The turning point to my vet dreams was the realization that I would be directly involved and perhaps responsible for animals dying, subjected to their suffering and that was just too much for my soul to bear. Yes, I would also save them, heal them and make them better but the bad just didn’t outweigh the good for me. So……then I thought…..what’s better than hanging out with dogs all day???? Hanging out with MONKEYS!!!! I was going to be a zoologist – or a zoo keeper – or anything that would grant me permission into the primate wing of the Zoo.  I researched, I called the local zoo to try and interview staff, my heart was set!!

I’ve Never Hung Out With Monkeys

Fast forward 15+ years……I am not a zoo keeper and to my disappointment I have never hung out with monkeys but, this remains on the bucket list. Instead I am the fur momma to the best two fur-babies there ever were.

Meet Ziggy, the real OG! He is my first baby. I got him almost 10 years ago when I was just a baby myself. At 21 years old, recently divorced with a 2.5-year-old son (a people baby), living on my own for the first time in my life I pawned my wedding ring and spent the little money I had saved to buy him. He was the oldest dog in the store at 12 weeks old and he was on sale, thank goodness because he was all I could afford.

What Did I Get Myself Into?

I brought him home and my stomach was filled with anxiety about having a new puppy. My son had just started sleeping through the nights and as we went to bed that night all I could think was “what did I get myself into?” I put him in the hamper next to my bed and not 30 seconds later his little whimpers began.  Desperate for sleep, I picked him up and tucked him right next to me in bed. If I needed a sign that this dog was meant just for me, I got it that night. He didn’t wake up not one time. From that moment on he slept by my side.

Over the next 10 years he’s continued to be by my side, from apartment to apartment, job to job, friendships gained and lost, houses bought and sold, a boyfriend that became a husband…he’s always been there. Sad days, happy days, scary days and lonely days….he’s been there. Even as I write this with tears streaming down my cheek….by my side he sits.

The space he holds in my heart is second to none and I cherish every single day we spend together.  Over the years, Ziggy has taken a real liking to my husband and I often envy the companionship Ziggy provides him.

Welcome Home Jaxon

Just a few months ago, we added a new fur baby to our family. This experience so much different than the last. Over the years, I have gained so much passion for the mission of rescuing animals in need. There is an unimaginable amount of abuse, neglect and suffrage that happens each and every day. So many animals euthanized because their furever home didn’t come quick enough.

This time around I made the decision to adopt from a local rescue organization. It took me about two years to convince my husband to let me get another dog. He didn’t want Ziggy to be miserable. Ziggy is more of a people-dog….well really just an us-dog – he’s definitely not a dog-dog so the concern was valid but I was determined.

Meet Jaxon, the new kid on the block. He brings me so much joy and laughter. Not only is he absolutely adorable, but he is so funny and smart and interactive.  The companionship he provides is completely new to me as he is very different from Ziggy. Now, keep in mind he is still a baby, but he is as obsessed with me as I am with him.

There is something very unique about the friendship Jaxon and I have. He craves my attention and affection and it couldn’t make me happier. We spend our days training and learning new tricks and commands- like giving kisses which he now does on command.

Our mornings are filled with the best snuggles. Our evenings are a combination of more snuggles and serious games of tug-a-war and fetch. I want him to always be with me. I miss him when he’s not. He’s only been part of the family for about 3 months and I can’t even imagine the bond we will have in the coming years.  

My Heart Needed Something To Love

Now, one might ask…if Ziggy has been so great…why do you need another? This is as authentic as I can be when answering. Ziggy is 10, I know my time with him is limited and the thought of losing him makes every part of my being sick. The idea of coming home to an empty house or sitting on the couch without him next to me is unbearable.

 Of course, having Jaxon won’t stop the inevitable, but my heart and my soul needed something else to love. Something else to fill that space. Jaxon is that something and I am so in love with him!

This is the ruff part of being an animal lover. We lose them before we are ready. Sure, some people might say having them isn’t worth the pain and for some that might be true. For me, the relationship, memories, companionship can never be replaced. I will always want a dog in my life, in my home and in my heart.   

Britney Skidmore

Britney is a wife, friend, sister, daughter, mother and animal lover. She has a 12 1/2 year old son and motherhood has been the biggest challenge and accomplishment of her life! She is a crazy basketball mom and spends most of her free time cheering in the stands with her Mustangs Basketball Family or snuggled up with her fur babies. She started adulting early in life. She was married at 17, a mom by 18, and a single mom struggling to make it by 19. She thinks everyone has a story worth hearing and she's here to share her continued story with you!

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