A year ago today, the boyfriend and I drove an hour to pick up the dog we’d later let our niece name Scarlet.
The reality of adopting a dog is both exhilarating and terrifying. As I reflect on those first days, I remember the overwhelming feeling of responsibility weigh on me—that I was now in charge of this living being, that I was in charge of keeping her fed and happy and healthy. And she was so unfamiliar to me.
A lot can happen in a year
Scarlet was two and a half when we adopted her, and she came to us with her own set of quirks. As she’s learned to trust us, I’ve learned how to read her, to know what triggers her anxiety, to know what she wants. The unfamiliar dog has transformed into a well-loved companion.
I couldn’t imagine my life any other way now.
The origin of Scarlet
The boyfriend and I had a long list of names of possible dog names, but even after we brought Scarlet home, nothing felt right. We toyed with “Shadow”—mostly due to her tendency to follow us whenever we left the room, a trait she reverts to whenever she’s anxious or wants something. But that wasn’t right.
Twenty-four hours after we brought her home, we brought Scarlet to the boyfriend’s family’s to meet everyone. We jokingly asked our three-year-old niece what she thought Scarlet’s name should be, and she came back with Scarlet. Considering the name suggestions for her then unborn cousin (Bubba Joseph for a girl and Superman baby for a boy), we were suitably impressed.
And the name stuck.
We later learned that Scarlet came from the Minions movie villain, Scarlet Overkill. But unlike her namesake, our Scarlet is sweet and mellow. I often find myself in awe of how she draws people to her, how many comment on what an adorable face she has.
Looking ahead to the next year
There have been countless walks and dog park trips and other adventures. We kicked off her “Gotcha” weekend with a trip to the dog park and the pet store for a couple new toys. Treats will surely follow.
This next year—and all the years that follow—promises to be even better. Dogs are certainly a responsibility. They change how you can live for life. But the payoff and rewards far outweigh everything else. Nothing makes me happier than seeing Scarlet happy.
PS. You can follow all of Scarlet’s antics on Instagram as @scarlsby.