A year ago today, I met a 3 pound, red-head King Charles, Toy Poodle puppy, and we became instant best friends.
Regarding her warm waves, energetic personality, and sassy charm, I named her Ember.
I have an affinity for light and fire references and analogies. Fire comes to shed light, giving vision and perspective; it brings warmth, a rescue from the cold; and it purifies, a processing that leaves only what is of worth.
Ember became a part of my family during a particularly confusing, dark time of my life, a time of figuring out who I was, what I believed, and what I wanted. Having a myriad of questions yet to be answered can fabricate a foggy, lonely life. But I was determined NOT to live a foggy, lonely life. So I got a roommate, started my physical fitness certification, went to counseling, and got a puppy. (These are all the things they tell you to do while depressed. The only thing on the list "they" suggest that I chose to avoid was eating healthy. I really like french fries.)
According to this article from The Atlantic -- I know, I know, not the best source; but it was between reading this or an extensive essay from the CDC (you would have chosen this one, too) -- psychologists at Miami University and St. Louis University say, "'[the] emotional benefits pet owners receive from animal companions could be the equal of a human friendship." During studies, they found that people with pets tested healthier in areas such as loneliness, self-esteem, depression, and illness.
More than just an entertaining companion, my love for Ember courses so deeply throughout me because her presence made a time in my life that had a high probability of being threateningly dark so much lighter and easier to navigate.
This girl has moved into my first apartment with me...
She has road tripped all over central Florida with me... (She still tries to sit with me like this and then gets incredibly vexed when she doesn't fit.)
And she has cuddled up to me every single night. Her favorite places include, but are not limited to, in the angle of my bent knees, on my butt, or on my neck. We are both very lucky she is a cuddly dog. Otherwise, I would be very disappointed and our relationship, very strenuous.
Choosing her, and everything that comes with her, has been my most favorite life choice. For one whole year, this chick has been my sidekick. And in light of this, I am so jazzed that I wrote a whole freaking blog post about it.
(But can we just take a moment to celebrate me for keeping another living thing alive this long? Hello.)