I adopted Harley in early May of this year and we’re both still ecstatic about it! Previous to the decision to take him home, I worked with him at Animal Ark for almost a year and volunteered with him for about 6 months after that. It was heartbreaking to learn that he had been adopted and returned a few times and that he had been their for a total of about 3 years. During my time at Animal Ark, Harley underwent 2 knee surgeries and I had the privilege of doing the physical therapy with him both times, and building that foundation of trust. He didn’t enjoy it but if he received treats and love then he didn’t care. As soon as both incisions were healed he wanted to go right back to the park to play ball. He certainly hadn’t lost any of his spunk!
When I finally signed off on my own apartment I almost cried, not because I had a place of my own, but because Harley would finally be able to come home with me. The sooner I moved in and unpacked the sooner I could take Harley home, and I’m sure I talked incessantly about it to whomever would listen.
The day finally came when I drove to the shelter to pick him up. It was both a joyful and tearful experience for the shelter staff because he had a way of brightening up any space with his big goofy smile or his ability to give and receive love so willingly. I promised I’d bring him by every once in a while to say hello, and I gave my number to some of the volunteers who asked. When I walked him out to my car, you could see the recognition on his face and boy was he excited! As soon as I opened the car door to put in all of his supplies and food, he leapt right in and refused to come back out when one last staff member wanted to say goodbye.
We got to my apartment and it was as if he knew exactly where he was going. He led me up the stairs, straight to my apartment door, and sat down. He knew he was home.
Since that day we’ve been growing and learning with each other. He is a lot more snuggly and a lot less anxious. His coat is very shiny, and he continues to learn new words and tricks every day. He has settled into a routine and seems very content with his new life. But Harley has also changed me. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and he truly is an emotional support dog. He knows when I’m having a bad day and will jump onto my bed and put his head on my chest. He gets me motivated when I don’t feel like doing anything, and he puts a smile on my face every time I come home from work. He’s always waiting for me with a smile, and walks between my legs to say hello and snuggle close.
Adopting Harley is one of the best things I’ve ever done with my life. Even now he sits in front of me smiling and leaning his body against me.
I’d say we’re both pretty lucky to have found a companion.