Animals have always had a special place in my heart. I can’t get enough of them. I watch far too many animal videos, friends are always sharing animal videos with me, and my baby talk has become an unhealthy habit.
As a child, I loved animals, but my love for dogs really started when my Aunt Kellie adopted Sandy. I fell in love with her so much that on my seventh birthday, my aunt brought me my own mini dachshund named Mandy. Mandy is the dog that got me through my Tourettes and OCD. Having come from a puppy mill, she had a hard start in life, but seemed to really understand me. The bond we had was unbreakable. I’d have my breakdowns and she was the first one to comfort me. She’d run onto my lap and just sit there for hours as I cried and hugged her. She was my sister. Being an only child, she and I enjoyed playing together. She was the best gift I could have ever gotten. When my family went to UPENN in Philadelphia so I could fight my OCD, she came with us. As crazy as it seems, I really felt she understood. She was an enormous comfort to me. She got me through my hardships.
In 2012 Mandy started getting sick. We spent months trying to figure out what was wrong, went to many different vets, but couldn’t find any answers. She started to go blind and was constantly hungry. She gained a lot of weight and seemed to be uncomfortable. Vets believed she had a brain tumor. So May 18th, 2012 Mandy took a trip to heaven. My family took the day off, my Aunt Kellie came down, and we spent a beautiful last day in the warm sun. I put her in a special seat that attached to my bike and we went on one last bike ride. When it was time to say goodbye, we cried, and my parents drove off with her to the vets. My Aunt quickly tried to get my mind off of it so we took a little walk to the nearby Wintergreen Falls. As we stood on the platform overlooking the falls my aunt quickly called to me. She pointed to the railing. On it, almost glowing in the sunlight was the single word “Mandy” It was a sign that she made it safely to heaven, but would always be with me.
About five months later, our house felt empty and our family, incomplete. My mom and I felt like we were ready to get another dog. We imagined different names, and how cute it would be to adopt siblings. My dad felt that no other dog could compare to Mandy and hated the thought of getting another dog. One day my mom decided she wanted to just look at these newly born mini dachshunds in the next town over. I knew we wouldn’t be able to just look at them…and I was right. We asked dad if we could get them, and he reluctantly said yes after a few discussions. We brought them home in November and they fit right in. It didn’t take long to love them, but it was a different love than I had with Mandy. I don’t think I will ever have another dog that will relate to me as much as Mandy did. She was my angel, my rock, and my sister. But as Emmy and Oscar sit on me while I write this, I know that these guys are just as precious as Mandy was.