Never having owned a dog, I was excited/terrified of the prospect of adopting her. But Pilot Pete's first deployment, a 7 month stint, was upon us, and I had a feeling a furry friend would make it a little easier. I didn't think I was up for two dogs, and I was worried about her sister. Luckily, another woman was there looking to adopt as well, and told us if we didn't want her, she surely did.
So we signed the papers and paid the fee, and the next thing I knew, we were driving away, Pilot Pete in the passenger seat next to me, with a little puppy on his lap. That night as she lay sleeping in her new crate, I had the "what the hell have we done" feeling. That feeling would visit again a year and a half later, when we found out I was pregnant.
Pilot Pete left on cruise a few months later, and Athena and I toughed it out together. We took an obedience class, an agility class, and went on long walks several times a day. The deployment was hard, but I had my constant companion and a reason to get out of the house every day. Pilot Pete came back at the end of the year to discover a large dog who now slept in our bed. The price of doing business I explained. Sometimes you just have to do whatever you have to to get by.
Eight months later Pilot Pete left for another 5 month deployment. My buddy Athena was again there for support. Three months pregnant when he left, I wasn't as up for our thrice daily walks, but she stuck by me. Somehow she knew I wasn't feeling up to par, and she spent a lot of time just staying close, never asking too much and always being on alert.
Five years after we picked her out from all the other dogs in the pound, she remains an integral part of our family. She weathered the integration of another human like a pro, and now serves as Little Dude's faithful friend and sidekick. She's gentle and patient with him, the most important characteristics of a childhood dog. I know that when Pilot Pete leaves for deployment again in the near future, she'll be by my side, one of the most important parts of my support system.
|Adoption day, February 2006|
|A few weeks after coming home, and she had already grown!|
|A boy and his dog, 2008.|
|A boy and his dog, 2011.|