I’ve loved dogs my entire life, they bring me so much joy. One of the hardest parts of going to college and then graduate school was leaving behind my sweet baby Jasmine. She, unfortunately, passed away during the second year of my master's program, right before I decided to officially change from a PhD student to a Master’s student. I was heartbroken but so busy I didn’t have time to think.
Last summer my university changed the graduate student’s pay schedule and didn’t properly inform the students, leaving many of us trying to live on half our usual salary. I, luckily, have a partner with a stable job who was willing to help, but I still needed to supplement my income. I started a side hustle on Rover, walking dogs or feeding them lunch in the middle of the day. That’s how I got my side job at @AshfordManorLabradoodles, helping raise puppies to become emotional support animals, service dogs, therapy dogs, and loving pets. When shut-downs started in March 2020, my boss asked if I would watch one of their stud dogs they were selling to a breeder in the Netherlands and I said “sure”, figuring it would give me something to focus on since we couldn’t go anywhere. What happened is that dog, James, saved my life. He kept me moving and helped me focus. What was supposed to be a month of basic training turned into 5 months as the pandemic wore on and prevented him from going to his home. With many tears, he was finally able to leave at the beginning of August. I immediately knew I needed a dog in the house or I would slip back into the depression I’d be feeling in my dog-less existence.
My partner and I began talking to breeders, applying to breed rescues and scrolling PetFinder on the regular. We were approved by a rescue 2 hours away from us and they had just gotten in a litter of 4 border collie mixes. We asked about the girls and decided to drive the two hours one Tuesday night to meet the last little girl and, hopefully, bring her home. We got there and I immediately fell in love with the puppy before us, scared but curious. Our new pup rolled over for belly rubs and we all gasped when we saw he was a boy!
The rescue accidentally gave the family before us the little girl and left us with the last pup, a boy! The previous family was already in love with their girl and I was so excited about this puppy, I didn’t care. So we drove home with a little boy, who we named Archer, after one of our favorite tv shows. He was nervous for days, but started to warm up to us and show us how playful he was! We sent him to a two-week training camp at @we_speak_dog, and he came back to us more confident than ever, ready to play, and learning new tricks! Archer and I are working on tricks like “dog catch” and agility jumps. We do little training sessions throughout the day whenever I can’t stare at my computer anymore. We go into the backyard and play fetch. He’s the most lovable cuddle-bug and I can’t imagine my life without him. I’m so grateful for everything that brought us together.
Big thank you to Liesl for submitting Archer as a #PhDPet!