Personal Narratives

On National Pet Day, I reflect on how being a pet owner has changed my life

April 11, 2022

By Shalina DeLaCruz  
Staff Writer

April 11 is National Pet Day, which is an occasion when birds, cats, dogs and other household animals are celebrated. Colleen Paige, an animal welfare advocate and lifestyle expert, founded National Pet Day in 2006 to celebrate the joy pets can bring to people and bring attention to the needs of pets of all kinds who are waiting in shelters to be adopted.

I will never forget the day my family decided to get a dog, whom we decided to name Prince. We got him in 2017, and he is still bringing us joy with his energy and love. 

The connection between Prince and me was instant, and he has shown me the power of simple, raw and unhindered love.

The reason my family decided to adopt Prince is that we needed a change in our lives after what happened to our last dog Coby, who tragically died at the age of four after being hit by a car in 2015.

We were introduced to Prince when my uncle told us that he knew a man in New York City who was selling puppies. We contacted him, and he shared with us a video of Prince playing. We immediately made the decision to welcome Prince into our family. 

I was so excited that I was jumping everywhere thinking about how fun it was going to be to have a dog again. 

A couple of weeks later, my entire family headed to New York to pick up Prince. We met his little siblings and mom, but Prince was different. There was something special about him, and we knew we had selected the right puppy to welcome into our family. 

I love Prince because he can easily make my day better just by cuddling with me when I’m not feeling my best. When I get home from school, I find him jumping around, excited about my arrival. He can lift the mood of everyone in any room he walks into. 

As much fun as it is to have a dog, there also comes some struggles. When we first got Prince, he was shy and didn’t move from one spot for five minutes. At two months old, he was so small that he couldn’t jump onto the couch or go up the stairs, but as he grew, he managed to go up the stairs and jump super high. 

The bond and connection between Prince and me was instant, and he has shown me the power of simple, raw and unhindered love.

He would not listen to my family or me, and he would just go in circles hoping he was going to get a treat or be taken for a walk. Despite all that, the biggest problem we faced was that he wasn’t potty trained, and my family couldn’t tell when he had to do his business. This would lead to him going to the bathroom in my dad’s office, which was a problem for a while.

With training, Prince became more obedient, and he is a treasured member of our family. I take him on walks frequently, and when we are indoors, he reduces my anxiety by cuddling with me, keeping me company and making me laugh.

If I’m ever feeling down, Prince is there to comfort me and offer reassurance with his carefree nature. He is a forever best friend, which is why I celebrate National Pet Day on April 11 but recognize Prince’s positive impact on my life every day.

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