What I wish I knew about dogs

Smell that? That’s the smell of horses because I’m on my way to work with a group of rescue HORSES. I’m freaking out because I was always obsessed with them and now I get to be around them all day. Try not to be too jealous. I can’t wait to share my experience with you, you can bet it’ll be a post full of exclamation marks!! A few nights ago, I posted a photo of a puppy to my Instagram. This puppy had been returned several times to Anti-Cruelty Society before his adoption finally stuck. The reasons people returned him? Not enough time and too much work. Basically, they weren’t ready for a dog.

I previously wrote about when you know you’re ready for a dog. It’s ironic because, at the time, I wasn’t. I had just foster failed with Roni & Cheese and we were settling into a new normal. I knew I couldn’t devote the time or attention that was necessary for a dog. Sure, doing all these photo shoots I fall in love with dogs all the time, but taking one home wouldn’t have been fair to him or us.

So, flash forward one year and we’ve had Rawlings for six months (!!). While she’s almost basically perfect, the transition didn’t come without its struggles. There were plenty of times I questioned if I had made the right choice in adopting a dog. It wasn’t easy but it was absolutely worth it. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Settling in

Before Rawlings came to us, she had been on a truck from Florida to Wisconsin. From there, she was transported to Chicago kennel and then into a foster home. In a few short weeks, she had experienced so many transitions. Because of this, and never living in a home before, it took her a while to adjust to her new life. She was wary of other dogs, she was anxious around new people, and she was terrified of elevators. There were so many new things to explore, it was overwhelming.

It took her a few weeks to really settle in and show off her true personality. When adopting a new dog, it’s important to give that dog time and space to become comfortable. We often don’t know what the history is of animals we take into our home so we have to be patient with them. After a few weeks, they really show you who they are.

New routines

Rawlings came to us already crate-trained because race dogs are kept in crates throughout the day. So we had a head start in that department. The issue was our sleep schedules were not aligned. She liked to be up and at em at 5 a.m. This was not ideal for Chris and I who require ample sleep to function (and be kind to one another). We tried taking her out late so she would sleep in, but no matter what we did, she rose when the sun did.

We chalked it up to her past life as a professional athlete who hadn’t quite figured out retirement. After installing light-blocking shades and moving her crate into our bedroom she managed to sleep better. Over time, she finally understood what sleeping in was, and we all became happier.

More time management

If you know me, you know I’m almost always a few minutes late. Not so late that it’s offensive but I tend to procrastinate leaving the house until I’m up against a time crunch. It’s not a great habit of mine, sorry I’m not perfect. When we got Rawlings, my time management skills were even more challenged.

Since Chris is out of the house most days, I try to walk her before I leave her. So now, I have to adjust my schedule to hers. Making sure I calculate in enough time for Rawlings has been quite the adjustment. I’ve had to get much more proactive in planning and scheduling my day. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it. Oh, but I’m still always late.

Adopting any pet is serious work and commitment. Obviously, you can’t prepare for everything but it’s important to think through the decision fully. By putting thought and time into the decision, you can be sure that pups like Jackson stay in their homes a bit longer.

What did you learn from adopting a pet? Let me know in the comments below!


Keeper – This little chicken nugget is one of my favorite little things. He’s a total cuddle bug and everyone’s best friend. He is a bit thick so we think he was an owner surrender. He’s from a high-kill shelter in Tennessee and he’s thankful to be here in Chicago. He’s about 8 years old but not slowing down any time soon. For more information on Keeper, click here.

Samantha – Samantha was adopted!! Congrats girl on your forever home!


You’ll find all of these items at Alixandra Collections so come shop next Thursday! I’m hosting a shop for a cause with Alixandra Collections in Highland Park. Wine and snacks will be provided and you can count on a dog or two to get your canine fix. A portion of the proceeds will be donated back to Orphans of the Storm!




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1 thought on “What I wish I knew about dogs”

  1. The biggest thing I learned from rescuing Watson is that dogs CRAVE discipline and a schedule. Even though you may think you’re being “mean” by reprimanding your dog, they actually do best with a routine and a job. Watson absolutely loves training practice and it’s brought us so much closer together!

    Woof Xo,
    Michelle & Watson


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