This past year has been a blast! From making friends both canine and human to overhauling the site, 2016 has gone by in a whirl. Here, we take a look at the year to say a final goodbye, followed by some resolutions for 2017. Happy New Year!
The year began with a look at one of my most treasured possessions aside from Dipper—the thing I carry him around in. Our review of the LoveThyBeast canvas tote stands as a testament of my obsession with my dog in that I’d spend over $100 on a bag for him. But with the weather we had, I couldn’t just let him walk! January 30, 2016 marked Dipper’s first snowstorm, as well as the moment that I learned nothing would stop Dipper from chasing a squirrel, not even two feet of snow.
Between school and work, February was a pretty low-key month, a welcome change from winters of my past. During our first February together, Dipper proved to be a welcome relief from the seasonal depression that peaked shortly before I adopted him in March 2015. Even with the snow still lingering from January, Dipper made me happier than ever, and I was learning what it meant to care for a dog during the city winter.
Our first adoptiversary! March 23, 2016 marked a year from the day that I brought Dipper home. In celebration of how far my little rescue pup has come, I wrote a post to gush about my favorite things about him. Then we partied at the Philadelphia Flower Show when the convention center opened its doors to dogs and their owners for a dog-friendly evening fundraiser. It was there among the flowers that we met the most important flower of all and now one of Dipper’s best friends, Oliver the Love Pug!
April, May, & June
April went the way of February in terms of excitement. I got my wisdom teeth removed (boo!) and Dipper got a really cute raincoat that looks like a duck (yay!). But most important is that I began seriously thinking about the state of Little Dog Big Philly, which, as a blog, wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I decided to overhaul it for my senior project at Drexel University. In June, when I began my first term as a senior, I took the blog down for maintenance.
The blog was down for much longer than anticipated as I worked behind the scenes to create a fully functioning webpage and content to boot! That included a slew of articles that would be posted once the website went live, like our chat with local dog a local dog trainer and a spotlight on a local initiative to stop dogs from peeing on trees. I also met the new boundary-breaking therapy dog at my own Drexel, a massive mastiff named Chai.
The most exciting thing happened in August. No, not the launching of the new and improved Little Dog Big Philly—though that happened, too—but our first trip to the beach! Dipper shocked anyone who has ever given him a bath or walked him in the rain by absolutely loving my favorite place, the Jersey shore. We visited the newly dog-friendly Wildwood for a look at the city’s special dog beach.
September marked my return to Wildwood without Dipper for my quasi-summer break (thanks, Drexel). There, between mornings on the beach, nights the boardwalk, and crying when I saw everyone at the waterpark with their dogs for a Morey’s Piers sponsored event, I wrote a post on cutting pet food costs. In lieu of vacation together, I began preparing for our first big event—the 10th Annual PAWS Mutt Strut.
Of course, nothing ever goes as planned, so our Mutt Strut fundraising was cut short with a trip to the Ryan Veterinary Hospital, or Penn Vet ER. While the cause of Dipper’s visit remains a mystery, we found out something much more important that day. First, that I love Dipper more than anything in the world, and second, that he had stones in his urinary tract. Despite this, we went to the Mutt Strut as planned, had a blast, and began preparing for surgery in November.
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Did you know that dogs shake when they're anxious or confused? Not shaking like they're cold, but shaking like they're wet! They're literally shaking off their stress. Dipper's a pretty anxious little guy, and he couldn't quite figure out what we wanted when we tried to get him to look at the camera. @phillypaws just dropped a load of photos on Facebook from the Mutt Strut. Thanks for capturing this moment!
I practically lived at Penn Vet during November, and not for just Dipper’s cystotomy. I met Panini, a puppy with cleft lip and palate saved and cared for by a first year Penn Vet student. I also binge watched the Animal Planet series Life at Vet U, a reality show about the lives of five Penn Vet students, and then interviewed one of them. Both of these were the makings of articles that made me realize just what it is that I’m doing with this site.
With December began Dipper’s second Christmas season and a festive edition of Dipper’s Quips to go with it. If November gave me the most rewarding writing experiences, then December gave me some of the most fun. Dipper’s editorial column has been an incredible outlet for my sillier, more creative writing skills. Send him a question!
Resolutions for a Better 2017!
If you made it through this year—and this post—with us, then you’ll know 2016 has had its ups and downs. I’ve outlined a few ways that I intend to make 2017 a better year for me and Dipper, too.
1. Maintaining consistency
What do I love more than anything in the whole wide world? Dipper. But ask me that question at 7 a.m. when I need to get up for school or work. More times than I can count, I have shirked my responsibilities as a pet owner by foregoing Dipper’s morning routine for an extra half-hour of sleep. That needs to stop, and I intend to in 2017.
2. Advocating for him
I hate confrontation and I just can’t tell people “no.” How does this translate to dog ownership? Try children asking if they can pet or—ugh—pick up and hug Dipper. No! Unfortunately, that’s not my answer often enough. Instead, I find myself trying to avoid a confrontation in the short term at the expense of Dipper’s discomfort and safety. What’s worse—telling kid she can’t pet my dog and ruining her day, or risking a dog bite and ruining that child’s, and possibly Dipper’s, life? In the long run, I know I’ll better be able to avoid tragedy better advocating for Dipper.