Today’s Peyton’s 7th birthday. I’m going to try to not get any more emotional about this than I already am. The past 6 years and 10 months with this furball have exceeded any expectation I could have had back when I was 22 with a 2 month old Shiba Inu/Corgi + Unknown mutt in my arms.

To be honest, I didn’t necessarily want a dog. And the adoption event that my wife, then girlfriend, and I went to…well, we were there for another puppy in little Alana’s litter. Alana was Peyton’s name for those 2 months we didn’t know her. She was in a litter of 6 or so. We were there for one of her brothers — a fluffy pup that caught our eye on the adoption website.

When we got to that Petco on that cold early January late morning to meet him we were greeted with him running to the other side of the pen. Then out of nowhere bounding directly towards us was Peyton. She chose us. After 10 seconds of her looking at us and us petting her tiny 10lb body we knew this was it.

Within 10 minutes we had filled out the adoption paperwork. We couldn’t take Peyton home with us yet — we still had to pass a home inspection and fill out some more forms. But we were #1 on the list.

Fast forward 2 weeks and we were back at that Petco on another cold January morning. We picked up Peyton and stood on the side of the parking lot in a patch of grass for probably 15 minutes while we waited for her to pee. When I got my childhood dog Belle, she vomited in the car the day we brought her home. I was prepared. Peyton would be as empty as we could get her and there was a roll of paper towels on standby in the Corolla.

We were new parents. Unfit, green and oblivious. My wife didn’t have dogs ever. I grew up with dogs but never cared for a puppy.

Somehow we made it 7 years. Through crying nights in the crate to scratched up doors to a half-eaten couch to so many gosh darn freezing cold days walking her through the snow to her daring escape attempts…I wouldn’t change a thing.

– Josh