May 10th 2015: I graduated from Syracuse University, took a million and one pictures with my friends and family, packed up four years of my life, said goodbye to friends who became family and a place that became home. I was “ready” for my next chapter. Certainly, sounds as if I really was about to enter the world of “adulting” with a solid foundation, and it may have appeared to many as if I was, but I was nowhere near ready.
I moved back home to Rhode Island and had one thing on my mind, a summer full of fun, no worries and living my life as a single 22 year old, who cared about nothing, except herself. I was stuck in the college lifestyle I lived for four years where it was “acceptable” to stay out until 4am and eat leftover pizza for breakfast at noon. I spent every minute of my first month home with my friends, sitting by fires and drinking wine or moonshine, depending on our moods. I just did not care. I was not in a good place mentally, I missed my school life, my best friend just moved to California, boys were confusing and I was in no way, shape or form ready to “adult.”
While I was adjusting to life at home with my grandparents, I began to persuade them to adopt a puppy, something they had always gone back and forth with. After a solid few weeks, and with many adorable videos and pictures of puppies, I convinced them to apply for adoption at an event that was scheduled for early June. A couple of days later we were approved. WE WERE GETTING A PUPPY!!!!!!!!!!! Now, we just had to pick the right one. We scrolled the website daily, we stared at pictures and fell in love with the “Bassador” (Basset hound, lab mix) litter. We were going to meet them on June 7th.
June 7th 2015: I woke up and just like any other morning, I scrolled through Instagram, Twitter, and then Facebook. While I was scrolling, I was ambushed with some of the most horrible and heartbreaking news I have ever had to face as a 22 year old. My dear friend, Andre, from Portugal had killed himself. I was in shock, I refused to believe that it was real. My heart was broken. We had shared so many beautiful memories and he taught me a lot about life, and it’s true meaning. He was so young, and he was gone.
Despite my sadness, we were still scheduled to go look at the puppies in the afternoon. I dragged myself out of bed, and to this day, I thank god I did. I fell in love with the cutest brown and black puppy there, my grandma signed the adoption papers and that was it, Zoey was ours. The next few days were tough, she barely slept, frequent accidents, I was learning patience and it was nice to have something to distract me from the other things I was going through. It was definitely not an easy summer with Zoey, but we made it….almost a year later and we are both better than ever!
(The day we adopted Zoey)
Zoey rescued me, legally we rescued her, but in reality, it was her who did the rescuing. She pulled me out of my stupid “college” lifestyle. She showed me unconditional love. She taught me how to care about something other than myself for once. She helped me appreciate the outdoors. She forced me to become a morning person. She brought genuine happiness to my life, even in a time of sadness. Most importantly, through Zoey, I learned that love can always be given and received, no matter the circumstances. So, thanks Zo for being what I needed, exactly when I needed it.
(Zoey and I a few weeks ago) Photo creds: Ryan Natalia