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For the love of Haley

One year ago today I made the best and worst decision of my life by adopting my 30lb miniature lab, Haley. In the year since Haley and I have been together I have lost one Douney and Bourke purse, one cell phone, one MP3 player, one digital camera, five pairs of shoes, all of my fancy throw pillows and even the pillows I sleep on, one lamp, 2 textbooks, 8 regular books, one monopoly board game, and one Wii Mote. I estimate her damages at about $2,000 worth of stuff. I have also suffered numerous falls on the sidewalk from being tugged too hard and one frightening tumble down the staircase. Yet one year, several bruises, and a lot less stuff later I love Haley to death.
Haley is an incredibly protective dog. She barks menacingly anytime someone walks past our house (which in a condo community is more frequent that I care for). At night before we go to bed she "patrols" the downstairs to make sure no one is lurking by the doors or in our patio and then she stands guard at the corner of the bed until I'm asleep (or so she thinks). If there is a storm Haley wakes me in the middle of the night and when I'm sick she faithfully keeps me company and rests her ear against my chest to insure I'm still breathing. I feel comforted each night that should the slightest occurrence happen in the middle of the night Haley will not only warn me but charge into action. Haley is an excellent walking buddy and often encourages me to go faster or further at time when I would much prefer to go back to my couch. Haley also enjoys quiet nights at home when we watch movies and likes to supervise as I cook dinner. She's an incredibly happy dog. He wagging tail and eager to please attitude brighten my day no matter how bad it has been. Despite her significant amount of destruction and slightly embarrassing behavior Haley is an excellent companion.
I adopted a dog because a. I like dogs b. I wanted the companionship c. There's nobody to tell me I couldn't. However, I got much more than not coming home to an empty house. Through my one year of dog ownership I feel like I have matured and become a little bit more of a grown up. Haley has taught me patience and the concept of unconditional love. Yes, she is a monster but even when she has been a bad, bad dog I still love her. Being responsible for another living being has been more of an undertaking than I thought, yet somehow after a year with me Haley is still a healthy and loving dog. I'm told by some people that having a dog is great training for having kids. As a woman in my mid twenties I admit I occasionally catch baby fever; but then I remember Haley, sitting at home and the mess she is most likely creating, and I think to myself for now the pitter patter of little paws is quite enough.

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