When life gives you lemons.

Now that I’ve decided to take a semester-long break from grad school in order to focus on my family and myself…I’m more stressed than I was before. Part of the reason I constantly have so much going on is simple. If I’m extremely busy, I have no time to be anxious about anything. If I don’t give myself time for panic attacks, they won’t happen.

Clearly this theory isn’t completely accurate. Anxiety is a constant part of life and panic attacks still happen often- especially since we can’t quite pinpoint an exact trigger for them.

This year has been one of the most difficult of my life. I’ve always told Shaun he will need to put me into a mental health hospital when something inevitably happened to Coby, because I had no clue how to live without him. Honestly, I really don’t. I miss him every single day. I’m lonely. I want to randomly cry but I can usually curb it. Over the past two months I’ve realized how much I used Coby as a crutch. The plan was to never, ever get another dog after Coby. Leroy was all we needed. If you know me, you know that lasted one month. I started to follow some animal rescues on Facebook and while I shared posts of dogs needing homes and showed Shaun how cute they were, nothing really made me want one of them. I just wasn’t ready.

Then one day I logged into AdoptAPet. I have no idea why, honestly. I wanted to see what was out there. After going through a few pages thinking how cute the dogs were, I saw her. She caught my eye and I starred at her photo for a few minutes, but I didn’t click on her photo. “Not ready, dude” I kept repeating. The next day, I did it again, and saw her again. Ignore. Over that weekend I told Shaun about the cute dog I saw and when he asked where she was, I couldn’t even answer because I didn’t know. I logged in. Showed him her photo, and found out she would be out of West Chester, PA. Her name was Joy and she was in a NC puppy rescue.

I filled out the application and heard back a few days later. I had two weeks until I’d be able to get here and I panicked the entire time. Should I change my mind? Am I completely screwing over Coby’s memory? That morning, on the drive to pick her up in West Chester, I asked Shaun 1,000 times if he thought I was making a mistake. “What if she doesn’t like me?…what if I don’t like her?!” When we first met her she was a total maniac. She was running in circles and barking. However, on the ride home, she fell asleep on my lap and I feel in love.

Lemon and I bonded quickly, and honestly, I’m so grateful for her. She’s very much a puppy, and she’s nothing like Coby at all, but my heart needed her so much. The kids love her, Shaun secretly loves her, the cats despise her, and Leroy tolerates her. All is right in our world at the moment.


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