Living in Seattle, WA was incredible because I had all of my friends, my mom, and my immediate family. My friends and I would go running together, eat froyo, go out for dinner and have sleepovers. I often visited my family like my godmother, my nephew and my sister. There was forestry everywhere that I would take long drives through, find various areas to hike to connect with nature, and fresh air.
Career wise, I graduated from college and was feeling unfulfilled because I couldn’t find work with the population of children I felt most passionate about. As a Latina woman living in a predominantly white area, it was incredibly important to me to aid kids of color, particularly since they are often left behind in the fields of education and mental health. I decided to move to New York City so that I could pursue a social work degree to get one step closer to achieving my dream. It seemed like an easy decision since I had been accepted to NYU and it had one of the best MSW programs in the country and I had family close by in New Jersey; I would have a sort of support system that would still help create a home away from home.
I quickly found that life in NYC is much like it is depicted in the movies; I was working two jobs, along with going to grad school full-time. I had no friends and my family was not as easily accessible as I had originally thought. The first year, I was extremely home sick and finding it hard to emotionally survive. I would even sometimes cry on the train on the way to work, concerned that I had made the biggest mistake of my life.
My second year I met my boyfriend and connected very quickly. I found that my life turned around completely with him by my side as he helped alleviate that loneliness and helped start shaping my home in NYC. He was working part time during that time so we were able to spend more time together. His presence helped make grad school go smoother.
After grad school, I was lucky enough to obtain a job at a school doing exactly what I wanted to do; helping black and brown families be successful within schools because education is one of our greatest tools to break out of systems of oppression. I wanted to help these students not become a statistic. Addressing their mental health needs was the best way I could have the greatest impact.
After 2 years together, my boyfriend and I decided to move in together. Simultaneously, he also accepted a full time job in Brooklyn (which was about a 2 hour commute) and he also worked the late shift. Our time that had been so abundant together had suddenly diminished and only allowed for us to see each other once a week, if we were lucky.
Although we were very excited to be living together and starting the next chapter of our lives, I could feel that familiar feeling of loneliness that I experienced during my first year in NYC seeping back in. I was often coming home after a long day feeling fatigued and saddened after dealing with students with severe emotional and behavioral challenges; spending hours counseling them through their challenges and the tensions it would create with their teachers in the classroom. I had no family close by to spend time with or vent to, not many friends, and my boyfriend was now occupied with his work. I felt alone.
After the school year was done, I went back home to Seattle to get some much needed time with family and friends. It was amazing to reconnect with all my loved ones and be back outside in nature. During this time I was able to see my old childhood dogs, which brought a lot of loving nostalgia that started to cheer me up. Then I was able to meet my godmother’s dog Bear, who is a labradoodle. Over the next two weeks Bear and I spent a lot of time together playing, cuddling, napping. I realized that my time with these dogs was impacting my mood, helping me feel happier, calmer and alleviating the deep sense of loneliness that had developed in New York.
Upon my return, I immediately became excited about getting a dog. I mentioned it to my boyfriend, unsure of how he would respond, but he was just as excited as I was as he had never owned a pet himself but always loved dogs. Also, he was facing his own life challenges and felt having a dog could be supportive to him as well. We were on the same page and started looking for a dog!
One day we were walking in Ft. Tryon Park, we walked passed a dog run and saw an adorable dog that caught my eye, it looked like a yellow version of Bear! We casually walked to the dog run to get a closer look and I just could not contain my joy over this adorable, happy, playful puppy. I started asking a lot of questions to the owner, who has now become a close friend of mine, and found that her dog Penny was a mini goldendoodle. After watching Penny play and learning so much about the breed, we decided we had found our perfect breed, a goldendoodle!
After a couple months long process of finding and waiting for the doodle of our dreams we were able to bring Kenobi home, yes Kenobi like from Star Wars (my boyfriend was the creative one)!
I can remember a specific time my boyfriend and I had gotten into an argument and I went to the bedroom crying and Kenobi just followed me like he knew what was going on. He jumped into the bed next to me and licked my tears right off of my face. He totally understood that I wasn’t feeling myself and he wanted to fix it. And that was one of the many times Kenobi helped with my well-being.
Kenobi is now our certified Emotional Support Animal! I don’t think I’ve seen my boyfriend happier than he is when he’s with Kenobi. Kenobi comes running, hiking, flies in planes with us and literally goes everywhere with us! I started to think I was going crazy about how obsessed I was with him but then I began meeting more and more dog moms through social media who feel just as passionate about their pups as I do! And the doodle community is amazing. I’m still mind blown to think I’ve made one of my closest friends just due to the fact that we have goldendoodles (who totally love each other by the way)! Kenobi is the best that happened to me!