Adopt, don’t shop. We see this slogan everywhere; splashed all over social media. It is an amazing movement that I fully support. However, this past February I walked into my neighborhood Petland with a heavy heart and walked out with my first dog and a significantly lighter wallet. His name is Drogo, after a Game of Thrones character, and he is the single greatest thing in my life. Because he is a pure-bred Bernese Mountain Dog, the first question I usually get from other dog owners is: where did you get him? I usually sigh and preface my response with a “well” or “unfortunately” before I hit them with the truth. The judgment on their faces is too obvious and they don’t even attempt to hide their opinions. A sharp inhale, a cringe, a comment about the “adopt, don’t shop” policy. They pin me down as a bad dog mom and as an uninformed, silly girl with no moral compass. It used to really bother me and make me feel guilty about having bought Drogo, but they don’t understand what he has done for me.
I bought Drogo on a whim. There was no planning, no budgeting, no preparation. Basically the opposite of what someone should do when they are planning on bringing a four-legged friend into the family. But after I almost attempted suicide for the second time, I recognized that I needed another living thing to take care of in order to keep myself alive. A succulent was not going to cut it. Drogo may have caused me some financial debt but I don’t know where I would be without him. I knew the first night I had him when he crawled onto my chest and snored, that he was truly and unequivocally meant for me. He is rambunctious, dorky, and dangerously cute. He loves attention, and I love the attention he gives back to me. Just because he landed in a Petland doesn’t mean he was any less deserving of a home. I know people will always judge me because of where I bought him, but I also know that they are the same people that fall in love with him – just as I did – right when they meet him.