She was a 17 pound, leggy, black, fuzzy puppy.
Her name: Sonnet.
All I know is that when I saw her for adoption on a dog rescue site, my search for a furry child and companion was over.
A very vulnerably honest part of myself wants to tell you that I’ve been waiting for her ever since I was a little girl. But I put adopting a dog off for several decades.
I was busy having a career. So obviously it wasn’t fair to have a dog when I was travelling all over the world for work.
Then it wasn’t fair to have a dog when I commuted for so long each day to and from work after I stopped travelling abroad so much.
Then it wasn’t a good idea to have a dog because my partner didn’t want one and thought a dog would be too much work.
Soon I decided it wasn’t a good idea to have a dog in the house because maybe I wasn’t such a responsible person after all.
Or maybe it wasn’t great to have a dog because she would pee on things that mattered to me, eat things I didn’t want her to eat and wake me when I didn’t want to be up.
And finally it wasn’t possible because I didn’t know exactly what breed was suitable for my lifestyle and personality.
I let my circumstances rationalize my life and, for a long time, dictate my choices as though life would always be the way that it was. And as my circumstances evolved, my mind started to rationalize why I would continue to deny myself something I so deeply desired.
And yet, underneath it all, with my laptop pulled into bed with me, I couldn’t turn away from her photo that late September day in 2010.
I’d seen so many photos by that time. I’d contemplated so many beautiful dogs, but still I wasn’t moved to complete the adoption application.
And then I laid eyes on Sonnet. A black Labrador Retriever mixture of some sort with fuzzy years, a pink tongue, and a scrawny tail. My fingers started the application process without my minds’ knowledge or interference.
She was from a high-kill shelter in the U.S. without room for a single dog more. Found in a field. If a home wasn’t determined very, very soon, she would be shot.
I remember the moment well, the one in which her leash was held out to me by a dog rescue volunteer who had helped Sonnet to cross the border to Canada.
I was so scared that I wouldn’t be enough for her. This was really what I’d been avoiding my whole life. That I wasn’t enough for what I really wanted.
Her head was tilted down, her fuzzy ears flopped forward and her shining eyes were on me as she trotted in my direction as if to say: “You and me? Right?”
I couldn’t shake the feeling that we’d just chosen one another.
I had just moved to a new town and brought this little furry girl back home with me after leaving the parking lot. I had at least a few months to figure out how we were going to do this: Learn how to live together so that I could then focus on my job search.
I had it all planned out. After she was housetrained.
And she ruined all of my plans.
Through our process I learned how to communicate that peeing was for outside. I managed to convey that she needn’t pounce and lunge into her food bowl anymore because there would always be food in our house for her. And that perhaps bones and ice cubes were better than wood coffee tables for her chewing pleasure.
It was through this process that we created a bond that I just couldn’t and wouldn’t turn away from.
Like the day I found myself completing her adoption application. It happened without my awareness, but was certainly full of intention.
And then I realized what was going to happen next. The virtual career counseling business I thought I could have one day when I was older wasn’t going to wait any longer.
Sonnet turned me into a disciplined writer as she snuggled up snoring beside me on the sofa as I tried my hand at writing online articles.
She helped me decipher the practical steps on inspired retreat walks in the woods nearby on how to create a business.
And more than three years later she’s still nearby, offering me her presence and connection to the earth, as I work with and help my clients through the same intolerable career dissatisfaction that I once experienced before becoming a career counselor myself.
The bone no longer of contention here is: A real desire – one that can seem so inconvenient, time-consuming, and plan-obstructing is worthy of so much reverence.
For in Sonnet’s arrival, little did I know that I too was arriving to my most beautiful life.
Photo by Rachel