Tomorrow will mark Toby’s second Gotcha Day Anniversary.

Even though, I have been around and taken care of dogs my entire life, in August of 2012, when I made the decision to adopt Toby from a shelter in New Jersey, I felt like I had barely cared for a dog a day in my life.

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Toby meeting Bella and DiDi for the first time. He was so nervous!

The weight of  having 100% of the responsibility for this dog’s well being and happiness was unlike any which had been laid upon me before.

At the time, I was living two-hundred miles away from my family and fur sisters, Bella and DiDi.

There was no significant other around to help and a lot of my friends loved dogs but had never been dog parents.

The first few months of Toby’s life with me as his dog mom were full of fear and challenges.

While Toby was the most amazing being to enter my life, he also had horrific separation anxiety and stomach issues which perplexed countless veterinarians.

I remember one night after work clinging to Toby after he had regurgitated his dinner yet again telling him it was going to all be okay as tears streamed down my cheeks.

All these months later, I now know that in that moment, I was reassuring myself probably more than Toby that everything was going to be alright.

I was single, lonely, scared, living in a small apartment in a big city with a sick dog who no one could tell what was ailing him.

This experience will always be with me.

Nine months after his adoption, I managed to get Toby completely healthy and reduce his separation anxiety drastically.

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Toby in his favorite place this Winter doing one of his favorite things-running in the snow.

Toby Smiling

Toby loves to smile, fetch, go on hikes and eat chicken.

However, I often think about my early days as a full on dog parent.

It is because of those times that the idea for Pawmmunity was sparked. I could have used a place just where dog parents gather to relieve my stress and worry during those frightening times.

Now, that Toby is thriving, I find myself wanting to share the good part about being a dog mom in a place where others will get it and not judge.

Toby’s Gotcha Day is a celebration of his enduring spirit and triumphs. It is also a time for me to reflect on how this 27-pound Poodle helped me crystallize what exactly I want to do with my life, which is help dog parents in good times and in bad times.

Let the festivities begin!

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Toby: Let’s party! There better be some rotisserie chicken around here for me to enjoy.

-Margot