And how we eventually fell in love

Photo by author

This Valentine’s Day marks my three-year “adopt-a-versary” with Millie. It was the worst Valentine’s Day of my life.

I adopted Millie too soon after my soul dog, Tovi, died, naively thinking that getting another dog would make my insurmountable pain disappear — as if relationships could just transfer. I was wrong. So wrong. If I thought my grief was bad then, it only worsened as I grieved my dog's loss, and the reality that my impulsivity had once again landed me in a bad situation.

I literally chose the first dog I saw at the shelter. In fact, I hadn’t…

What I wish I knew before I brought home my first dog

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

Everything I learned about dog mom (or dad) life is from my own mistakes and working at an animal shelter. I’ll begin with a standard disclaimer: I am not a professional trainer, and my experience and opinions are not a replacement for working with a professional.

With that said, this is what I learned from making mistakes along the way — basically, what I wish I knew when I adopted my first dog, and if I’m honest, my second dog too. Beating yourself up? Mistakes are part of the process, so put that bat down!

Why celebrating divorce is as important as celebrating a wedding — A story of finding myself again

Photo by Shutters of Love Photography

I had always been opposed to the idea of the “Fairy Tale” wedding. The extravagance made me cringe as I couldn’t help but think of the other ways a small fortune could be spent. I worried the real meaning of marriage could get lost in the vanity of yearning for that extravagant day we’re conditioned by society (and the billion $ wedding industry) to buy into. Jay wanted the big wedding, so I acquiesced. I was different then: a people pleaser, chameleon, someone who walked on eggshells and didn’t realize she had a voice. So, we had the extravagant wedding.

Be kind for the story we don’t know

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

We hear a lot about resilience in people who survive adversity and thrive. They achieve great success, maybe become inspirational speakers, or even publish a bestselling book about overcoming obstacles. On a smaller scale, perhaps they’ve overcome drug abuse and found their way to a career they love and built a family. These are the stories we talk about at the dinner table (as close to a dinner table as we get these days).

The ones who do not emerge as gracefully; we don’t hear those stories. We form opinions of them too, though. They might be criminals, addicts, abusers…

And one of the last “acceptable” forms of discrimination

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

You achieve anything regardless of body size. REALLY. (Yes, I know, there are professions with weight restrictions for what they consider necessary reasons, but I’m talking big picture.) We just don’t see it enough to believe it. Think news anchors. Actors. Kids action figures and dolls. Models. Lack of larger clothing sizes in mainstream stores. The width of airplane seats …the list goes on. Despite body size, larger-bodied individuals are treated like they’re invisible — they’re devalued because they don’t look like the standard of “health.” …

But it’s not for the reasons you may think

Screenshot by author

Major self-confession here: I’m a curation chaser. I refresh the tab so often I’m afraid I’ll break my computer, which is already barely hanging on. I interrupt my writing flow — literally every 4 minutes — as my mouse gravitates to the stats tab waiting for those beautiful words appear: “Chosen for further distribution.”

To make matters worse, I have a sticky note where I update the number of times a piece has been viewed. It’s pathetic, but not surprising, coming from someone who tends to look to outside sources to define self-worth. Plus, it’s just a human thing to…

10 dogs driving across America: In their own words and photos

Photo by Shirley Wyland

Truckers are amazing dog owners — what could be better than 24/7 companionship for a dog??? Every single thing in your house has touched a truck at some point. Dogs: your food, leash, bowls, clothes (sorry), bed, toys — seriously, everything! It is estimated that 40% of truckers drive with a pet. Here are just a few of the hero dogs that drive America!

You can be madly in love and still make mistakes

“Tovi” Photo by Jenni Combs

Tovi was my once-in-a-lifetime dog; if we’re lucky, we all have one.

I’ve never loved anyone more. He was my soul mate (or as some call it, “soul dog”). He walked me down the aisle at my first wedding, kept me warm during the cold winter of my divorce, and was my current husband’s “Best Dog.” Forget flowers. I walked down the aisle at that wedding with a bully stick to give him upon arriving at the podium. He came on just about every first date (at dog-friendly venues like outdoor coffee shops or hikes), we lived in multiple places…

For me, they’re all intertwined.

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

I spent the summer of ’91 at overnight camp. I was ten: awkward, shy, and felt most comfortable being invisible. My cousins, who seemed so together and cooler than me, had gone every summer, and it was THE thing to do. All I ever wanted was to fit in and assumed I would magically be transformed into a cool kid when I arrived — not so much. I was still that awkward girl but amplified.

I was overwhelmed and intimidated that summer. I felt inadequate as I compared myself to the prettier, more outgoing, wealthier girls from Long Island who…

Elizabeth Weiner, M.S., LCPC

Therapist → writer. Writing about complicated relationships with pets; body image & the trucking industry. Always written with vulnerability and authenticity

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