HEART TALK: How I Really Feel About Being Single With Two Dogs

Hi friends! Today is a really special day … as it is Chips’ GOTCHA Day!

It’s been exactly one year since I said YES to being his Momma.

If you’ve followed me since I shared THIS post on Valentine’s Day last year, you’ve likely come to know Chips by now.

He’s silly. He’s spunky. He’s bossy. He’s crazy. He’s a ball of energy.

He’s my little extrovert whereas Fish is my little introvert.

They couldn’t be more opposite but they’ve managed to be cool with being brothers.

What you might not know, though, but may have assumed, is that bringing Chips into the mix has had its share of challenges and, last night, for the first time in a year, I broke down in tears over the pent up frustration and failure I’ve felt at being his Mom, let alone being the Mom of TWO.

You see, Chips is an enthusiast. He doesn’t like to be left out. He’s never met a stranger and, when it comes to other dogs, he expresses his desire to hang out with them through this loud piercing howl. This, naturally, terrifies the owner of the other dogs and, therefore, we are typically shunned, unless the owner can hear me over the noise, reassuring them he’s nice.

So, we have two cute labs that live next door. Chips has met and gone nose to nose with them, engaged in friendly sniffs around the backside, but they don’t usually play together. There’s no reason for this. It’s just the way it is sometimes with neighbors, you know? Everyone’s on different schedules and all that. So, one day, a couple weeks ago, the boys were in our little backyard with the mission of doing their business when Chips notices that his friends are up on the balcony. Well … Chips just went NUTS! He was howling and barking. He army crawled underneath my neighbors fence to try and figure out how to get to them. Chips being all riled up got Fish all riled up, naturally! And, Fish isn’t the friendliest when it comes to other dogs, mind you! So, I went into their yard to get Chips but then Fish is in their yard, too, because I didn’t put him away first. It was just chaos for what seemed like five minutes but was probably only one. This really isn’t a big deal other than I don’t know how to settle them both down when this happens. Chips is just so consumed with wanting them to be downstairs and doesn’t let it go.

So, now, every time we go in the backyard … I have to carry him outside so he won’t bolt under the gate and start jumping up and down, like he’s legitimately on a trampoline, because he thinks they’re always up there. Then, I have to stand in front of the gate while he stares at the balcony to eventually realize they’re not there … then he’ll do his business. For the record, my neighbors could care less that he’s in their yard. They’re literally the NICEST people but I just feel bad that maybe they think Chips is aggressive or something, even though I know they don’t. They’re just lies I tell myself I guess.

The funny thing is, before I moved, this backyard of ours was seen, in my mind, as an oasis compared to what I had to do to take them outside living in an apartment, as I mentioned in THIS post:

“I would LOVE to be able to make myself a cup of coffee in the morning, go downstairs with the boys, let them do their business and play in the yard while I watch over them and maybe read a couple of chapters in a book or read my morning devotional.”

Right now, God is teaching me a lot, let’s just say that.

With all this in mind, last night, I let Fish out in the backyard and I had Chips on his leash in order to keep him from going over into their yard. Fish started barking at something in the direction of my neighbors yard and it caused me to take my eyes off of Chips for TWO seconds and, in that time, Chips made the dive under the fence. So, since I had the leash in my hand, I click the button that locks the leash line and I unlock the gate to go over there. Then, I crouch down to move the leash line from under the gate to in between the fence post and the actual fence in order for me to walk through without any issues. Well, as I’m doing that, but before I can actually get the leash line where it needs to be … Chips pulls me forward causing the gate to hit me so hard in the jaw right before it slammed shut with Chips still on the other side and Fish still barking.

….. and y’all. I lost it …..

I felt SO defeated and SO tired of feeling like I’ll never be able to get him to behave under certain circumstances. I was so tired of feeling like my neighbors always think my dogs are mean or crazy or that I don’t have a handle on them. I was so tired of carrying the load of being their caretaker, trainer and provider all on my own, with no one to split the load with or give me a comforting hug when these frustrating moments happen or help me strategize how to improve their behavior and then tackle it with. I’ve always been extremely independent. I don’t feel lonely often. I’m used to doing a good majority of my home life by myself …. is that tough with two pups and a business to run? Absolutely. But, I always keep going and I’m usually not thinking about the way I wish things were. But I think, last night, was just my breaking point, where all of that subconscious build up of fatigue over doing it all by myself caught up with me.

I’ve always said that my weakness is I care too much. I take everything to heart. I don’t know how to just go with the flow when it comes to emotions and let them roll off my back. For me, the hardest thing in the world is to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can and actually believe it. I’m starting to realize, that when you’ve been single for a good majority of the last decade, being your own cheerleader in everything that you do gets harder and harder. You start thinking of how nice it would be to have someone offer you that sweet emotional support or piece of encouragement or just simply hearing someone say they’re proud of you and know they mean it. And, in the same regard, it’d be nice to share the joy of all the cute moments I experience with Fish and Chips with someone else, as well. I work for myself and by myself most days and I’m a single mom to two dogs, and while it doesn’t compare to children, it is quite a lot to juggle and, if I’m honest, the loneliness is starting to grow.

Anyway, back to my story …

I got them all untangled and back in our yard. I put Fish inside and just sat on the stoop in my backyard with the leash still in my hand and Chips still at the end of it. I could feel some soreness rising up in my left hand from when he pulled me. My jaw was throbbing from the swing of the gate against it and I just sat there and cried so hard. I looked up to find Chips directly in front of me. His sweet little eyes looking intently into mine with his head turned to one side and suddenly other feelings started to surface. I began to feel terrible that he could sense my frustration with him and that it would make him question my deep love for him. Love isn’t conditional, right? So, of course, I wouldn’t get rid of him just because of the challenges we face together. He has the sweetest little heart and has brought me, and Fish, so much joy. It wasn’t long after that that I began to feel comforted and reminded that there will be hard times in this life. They’re inevitable, if not guaranteed! And, I’ll experience them whether I’m single or married, living in an apartment or in a town house with a yard.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14

Entering in by the narrow gate, the one that is hard, leads to life. If you’re unfamiliar with the Bible, Jesus’ disciple Matthew is recounting the famous ‘Sermon on the Mount’ where Jesus is saying that committing your life to living your life for Him, as a Christian, is not going to be easy. This road is the more difficult one but it gives you a perspective and an experience in this life, and in death, that is impossible for those who choose the wider path to understand.

And, while this verse was certainly not talking about being a dog mom or being single, I do think there’s a reason that this verse came to mind last night amidst my frustration and recent feelings of loneliness.

Simply put, nothing worth having comes easy.

The truth is, I could’ve taken the easy way out and said no to adopting Chips and, truthfully, I almost did. I wasn’t blindly walking into the decision. I knew it was going to be a hard road for awhile taking on two small dogs by myself with an already full load of responsibility on the work front. There was a lot of fear in saying yes to adopting Chips but remembering that verse last night comforted me because it reaffirmed that I made the right decision. I entered in the narrow gate. I’m giving Chips the opportunity to live a life filled with endless love and adoration, as well as structure and discipline, which pups so desperately need, and that he might not have been given otherwise.

I don’t know for certain yet, but I feel like I’ll be reminded of this verse when I finally do find that special someone. If you’re waiting like me, enter in the narrow gate by refusing to settle. Sure, you’ll have nights like I did last night and intermittent feelings of hopelessness. It’s a natural part of waiting. But, entering in the wide gate, and saying yes to any man who shows you love and adoration without truly feeling the same for him, will only lead to destruction and emptiness. So, be strong and be careful. Be honest with yourself and with the other person. Let them go, even if it’s hard, when you know they aren’t meant for you. Remember … nothing worth having comes easy.

“What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” Romans 8:18

When we feel weak, I believe God steps in and provides strength on our behalf if we only just ask for it. Last night, I felt so defeated but, in that pain, I truly felt encouraged and, as a Christian, I know exactly where it came from. Remember that, while you don’t have a husband, you aren’t without love and you aren’t without support. It may sound cliche but your cries are heard and your pain is valid. Ask him for help and look to him for guidance, wisdom and direction. He will be there with it all.

“God is within hershe will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” Psalm 46:5

“When you go through deep water, I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:2

“Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4

After our ordeal last night, Chips was cuddled up in a little ball on the couch, on the side of the sectional that extends out where you can essentially lay down, like you’re in bed. So I laid down on my side, facing him, on the sectional with my knees pulled up near my stomach, but I wasn’t touching him. Chips looked at me for a few seconds, then he lazily pulled himself up, came over and cuddled up in front of me, carefully positioning his long dachshund body from my face to my knees. His head was ever so gently resting on my knee and, after he let out a tired little sigh, I got to watch him dose off to sleep. It was the sweetest little gift of a moment. Sure enough, there was life that the hard way through this narrow gate gave me the opportunity to experience.

“What a year it’s been, little one”, I whispered to him, “I hope you always feel the worth I see in you.”


So many of you had questions about my experience with Chips over the past year and, as promised, I’m answering them in this post!

HOW OLD IS FISH AGAIN?

Fish will be turning 9 years young this year!

DID YOU FEEL GUILTY GETTING ANOTHER DOG WHEN FISH HAD BEEN WITH YOU FOR 7 YEARS PRIOR?

YES!

Yes. Yes. Yes.

After I said yes, I was pulling out of the driveway with Fish in my friends’ lap and Chips in the kennel in the back seat and I started crying. I almost felt like I was cheating on Fish. He and I had been through so much together in our seven years together: my nursing career, a couple of boyfriends, a move to Colorado and London, not to mention, the death of my mother. He’s been my best little friend through all the best times and all the really tough times and I never wanted him to think that he wasn’t enough so we needed to bring in another. It was also just hard to wrap my mind around how I was going to be able to find enough space in my heart for Chips when Fish takes up SO much of it. I felt a lot of pressure, too, to give Chips all that his previous owners couldn’t … stability, structure, immense amounts of love and attention, etc. [His foster Mom, Kiara, was amazing and so was her mother! They took good care of him after his abandonment, I will say that!] I didn’t want to let him down and, at the same time, didn’t want to hurt Fishs’ feelings.

Needless to say, the ride back up to Jacksonville Beach was a long one, full of racing thoughts and desperate prayers. I needed reassurance that I had made the right decision as doubt was certainly setting in deep.

Kristan, my best friend, met me at my car when I got home to help me carry them both upstairs to my apartment [that I lived in last year]. I sat the kennel down on the ground. Fish was sniffing at the door to the kennel, wagging his tail, and Chips was pawing at it, wanting out. I unlatched the door and Chips BOLTED out. Y’all … THEY RAN ALL OVER THE HOUSE AND PLAYED NONSTOP FOR A SOLID HOUR! They wore each other out and eventually fell asleep on the same little bed, butt to butt.


I don’t know about you but I’d say God responded, with his usual wink, giving me all the comfort and reassurance I needed in that moment.

HAVE YOU HAD ANY BEHAVIORAL CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH RESCUING DOGS? AND IF SO, HOW DID  / DO YOU HANDLE IT?

When I first got Fish, he had REALLY bad separation anxiety. Anytime I left him in his kennel, I would come home to find everything in his kennel completely ripped to shreds and his little nose with an pink cut on the top of his nose where he had rubbed it against the crate door trying to get out. My heart was absolutely broken seeing how my absence affected him. I read up on separation anxiety online and took the recommendations that so many had said worked wonders for their dog. I would get fully ready, grab my keys and then … instead of leaving when Fishs’ anxiety would naturally begin … I would sit on the couch with him for 5 or 10 minutes before leaving. Next, I would put him in his kennel and only leave for 5 minutes. I’d stand outside for that amount of time, then come back in put my keys down and do some stuff around the house but not make eye contact with Fish. He would be whining, of course, but they need to learn that you WILL let them out of their kennel when its time. So, after about 3 minutes, I’d let him out and give him lots of love. You’ll want to extend the amount of time away each time you do this practice. While we were working on this, I would do my best to only be gone for short amounts of time. They just need that reassurance that it’s okay for you to leave [by getting fully ready then sitting with them after they clearly know you’re about to leave] and that you’ll come back for them. It takes time but that really worked for Fish. The separation anxiety would flare up ANYTIME we moved to a new place but putting that system back in place until he was settled in his kennel worked like a charm!

Another behavioral challenge I’ve had with Fish is his leash aggression toward dogs, not people. He LOVES other dogs if they’re introduced to him OFF a leash but if we’re on a walk and he sees another dog, he goes nuts and I honestly have never found anything to keep him from this behavior. I’ve brought a little buzzer on walks with me to break his attention and that DOES help but then I think I lost that in the move … great job, Haley! *face palm* So, yeah, if you have any tips – I’m all ears!

Chips has had different behavioral challenges than Fish. One that we’re still working on is HIS separation anxiety. Honestly, Chips never has to be without ANYONE. When he goes to his puppy day care, he’s with all of his puppy friends. When he’s home with me, he has Fish as his companion – even when Mom goes to run errands. So, when he’s put in his kennel by himself, he does NOT know how to be okay with it. So he whines and whines and whines. We’re working on this. Chips can also be extremely stubborn about where he’ll go to the bathroom. He takes his SWEET time to find a place to poo sometimes and I’m like seriously .. we’re going on 22 minutes [in addition to the 12 minute walk I usually take them both on together] .. you HAVE to figure it out!

One behavioral challenge I’ve had with both of them and that I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with and trying to correct is their natural inclination to mark in the house. Fish doesn’t do it anymore but he did when he was younger and it drove me nuts. Chips does it from time to time and I literally have to tell myself to count to ten. Every dog mom knows this frustration. But, I think we all know it to different degrees. Neither of my boys’ were neutered before I got them and they were both between 10 and 18 months of age when they got neutered. My veterinarian warned me that, at those ages, because they’re a little older, they’re more likely to continue to mark for much longer than if they had gotten neutered a little younger. So, that’s been fun, especially when they go outside four times a day and pee PLENTY. I’ve been very diligent about keeping them on a schedule. Chips was, I think, always a little uncertain and nervous about when he’d be taken out so, when I first got him, literally even before my feet would hit the ground, he would jump off the bed and not give me anytime to put my contacts in before he would find a spot to pee. *** YES. I KNOW. It was tough! *** Now, though, he knows our morning routine. Mommy gets up, puts contacts in, goes potty, washes face, brushes teeth, puts decent clothes on for a walk, then we go outside to pee real quick, then breakfast, then long walk. But, I will say, Chips still seems to save a little for a box in my office or a random spot on the carpet in my room from time to time. I’m just trying to be patient and I do my best not to react to it just in case he is doing it for attention. I just clean it up quietly when he & Fish are playing.

With all that said …. these are the only experiences I have with owning dogs. I’ve never owned a dog that I’ve had since it was 8 weeks old from a breeder so I can’t say if that experience is ‘easier’. But, it would be unfortunate if my honest account of taking on the privilege of being a mom to rescue animals discouraged anyone from wanting to do the same. The truth behind behavioral ‘issues’ in rescue dogs is that most of them stem from fear, anxiety and wanting to feel loved & wanted more than it is the fact that they’re ‘bad dogs’. [TAKE NOTE: I’m not discounting the fact that there are animals out there who display aggressive behavior toward humans and that, of course, requires special people to assist in correcting and / or decide what should be done to correct the behavior. That is something people have experienced, of course, but I wouldn’t say aggression is a majority of rescue dogs’ behavioral tendency.] Both of my boys were abandoned by their initial owners who they had grown to  LOVE very much, I’m sure. Chips was given away without any regard by his owner for the time they had spent together in his puppy stage. Fish was dropped off in front of a neighborhood gym. Think about what that does to people when they’re little. It stays with them. It becomes a part of them and leaves them feeling so many things. Dogs are smarter than we think so it’s important that you don’t enter into adopting a rescue lightly. It takes WORK and patience and diligence. You can’t give up on them. No matter how frustrating they are. I have absolutely cried my eyes out at how hard it has been sometimes to be their Mom, and especially doing it solo. It’s hard but … it’s also worth it.

HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO TRAIN THEM?

Training requires diligence, consistency and … standing your ground so they know who the boss is! The last part, by the way, is the part I struggle with!

Fish, for the most part, learned all of his commands through repetition and reward. Training Chips has been a bit more challenging. He’s more impatient than Fish and, therefore, is a wiggle worm the SECOND he realizes he could get a treat. Over time, though, he knows he won’t get it until he calms down, sits and listens so patience on our end is key!

Don’t get me wrong! They’re not perfectly trained by any means. They know basic commands but, they’re very much dachshunds … where they know what you’re saying but they don’t care enough to listen or obey the command so, this is something we work on daily.

HOW DID THEY ACT DURING YOUR MOVE BACK IN SEPTEMBER OF LAST YEAR?

They were both a little confused by all the boxes that I was packing up but they weren’t too worried, for whatever reason. Due to Chips’ mischievousness and the fact that I don’t always have someone around to help me corner him when he gets something in his mouth, I decided to board him for a few days after the move to give me just a few days to unpack a little more efficiently. I took Fish to his little day care to play for the day and brought him to the new townhouse that afternoon. Both he and Chips had a lot of fun exploring the new house and figuring it out. It’s a lot more stairs than is good for a dachshund but I help them as much as I can.

ARE THEY NEEDY BEING THAT THEY’RE SMALL DOGS?

Honestly, Fish is the most easygoing pup in the whole world. All he ever wants is to be fed, given treats from time to time and a blanket to sleep under or a body to sleep next to. Chips, on the other hand, is a little more demanding and needy but, I honestly think we’ve made a lot of progress this year. He definitely seems more at peace with where he is and I know he loves and trusts me and feels secure in our home. We are still working on a few things but slow and steady wins the race!

HOW DID FISH HANDLE HAVING CHIPS AROUND IN THE BEGINNING?

I never realized how laid back Fish is until I got Chips. When it was just him, I honestly saw a much bossier side to him but, since getting Chips, he’s almost retreated and let Chips take over the dominant role. I can tell Fish’s feelings get hurt by Chips sometimes when Chips takes whatever toy Fish is playing with … mostly chew bones. But, in the beginning, honestly, Fish was cool, calm and collected about having Chips around. I think he quietly does try to ensure he gets ‘me’ over him getting me sometimes, if that makes sense. I’ll get in bed and Fish is really quick to slip under the covers and roll up in a ball in front of my stomach. That’s his spot and he silently protects it. It’s cute.

HOW DO YOU MANAGE MAKING SURE THEY BOTH FEEL LOVED BY YOU?

This was something I most certainly had to learn with time. When you welcome a new pup into your home, you obviously want to do everything you can to make him feel safe, secure, taken care of and, of course, loved. However, they don’t know you and you don’t know them. It’s a process and it takes time. The quote “nothing worth having comes easy” comes to mind when I think back on this last year of being a Mom to both Fish AND Chips. It has taken me months to understand how Chips tells me something compared to how I’m used to Fish telling me the same thing. Just like people, two different dogs can express the same message in a completely different way. They express and receive love differently, as well. So, what I’ve made sure to focus on is how I know Fish likes to receive love and DO those things as often as I can and to spend as much time with Chips as I can so I know what HIS needs are from me and how HE wants me to show him love.

Fish …. wants PHYSICAL TOUCH and TIME. He wants direct eye contact with me on his level along with as many kisses and scratches as I can muster … which isn’t hard because, I mean, look how adorable he is! He’s such a little lover. If I sat with him under a blanket all day, he would feel the so loved … and we’ve done that many times in our eight years together 🙂 Closeness and physical touch is key.

Chips … wants ACTIVITY [which isn’t an actual love language, according to Gary Chapman, but let’s go with it] and GIFTS. He wants long walks and for me to throw the toy incessantly and chase him around the living room. Once that’s all done, he want me to give him a toy that’s indestructible that he can chew on endlessly right next to me … especially if the toy also has treats associated with it. He’s my little extrovert and he’s a little exhausting for an introverted momma, but it’s brought me so much joy to see how happy he is when I do all of those things with him.

Some other things I am sure to do is to let Chips go to puppy daycare by himself some days so that Chips gets to expend his energy and play, which he loves, and Fish gets to spend quality one-on-one time with me, who he’s been used to having to himself for years. And, then so that Chips get some extra love from Mom and some one-on-one time, I will walk both of them together around the neighborhood. Then, I’ll drop Fish off at home and will walk with Chips for another 20 to 30 minutes because I know he just loves being outside! I’m also looking into a dog park that I might start taking him to from time to time!

HOW DO YOU KEEP THEM FROM GETTING BORED WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT HOME?

They’re little lucky ducks, to be honest! I’m a homebody and don’t leave much, especially since I work from home, but when I do, they hop in their kennel. Fish would probably be okay to leave out. I think his separation anxiety is at bay enough but, due to Chips’ marking and the potential for destruction of my carpet or anything else, I’m just not comfortable enough to let him stay out. Fish LOVES his kennel and Chips likes it if Fish is in there with him.

CHIPS SEEMS TO BE AN ENERGIZER BUNNY. HOW DO YOU HELP HIM GET HIS ENERGY OUT AT HOME?

Whew! This has been something that I’ve spent the last year figuring out. One thing that I’ve done … is come to peace with the fact that I alone cannot be the only thing or person to help Chips get his energy out. I know all you momma’s out there deal with some serious Mom guilt and I hate to compare myself to y’all because I know you deal with so many more things than I do with my puppy children but … I do feel REALLY bad handing Chips off for the day to play somewhere and get his energy out. BUT HE NEEDS IT. So, Chips goes to puppy day care three times a week and, ever since, I have seen the improvement in quite a few of the challenging behavior Chips has displayed since getting him. I’ve noticed less destructible behavior and less pent up frustration and aggression directed at me [aggression = barking, not biting in this instance] due to boredom. So, it’s been really good for him. He’s so happy when I pick him up and after he eats his dinner, goes on a walk with me and plays with Fish for a bit … he snuggles up next to me and sleeps. It’s been one of the best ways to love him because, even though I work from home, I can’t spend all day helping him expend ALL the energy this little guy has. He has Jack Russell in him and omg, he’s like the energizer bunny.

On days when he is home, I am sure to walk him for at least 20 minutes in the morning and 20-25 minutes after dinner. He and Fish play quite a bit and then Chips will occupy himself with THIS toy or another chew toy, like a Nyla bone. He puts himself in a chair and will go to sleep, too, now that he’s comfortable here and knows it’s his home.

It’s been an adventure trying to figure all of this out but every dog is different and this is what I’ve found to work best for Chips. 🙂

DO THEY EVER FIGHT OVER FOOD OR TOYS?

Chips will sometimes get a little mean about a toy that he’s currently obsessed with. I’ve learned to gauge when these little outbursts can / will happen and I immediately take the toy away. He’s never hurt Fish but he’s definitely scared him and made him sad. Sharing is one of the things we’re working with Chips on and he is getting much better than he used to be.

WITH YOUR TRAVELS, HOW DO YOU ENSURE THEY’RE COMFORTABLE WHILE YOU’RE GONE?

So, this took a bit of time to figure out. Obviously, as I’ve shared, Fish and Chips have different needs so I really struggled to find a place where they could both get their needs met. As I said, Fish needs love and comfort and Chips needs fun and activity. I boarded them at their puppy daycare and I just didn’t feel right about continuing to keep them there for long periods of time because, although Chips loves it, I know Fish and he doesn’t want to be outside all day. He wants to be lounging, snuggled up next to someone! A play day once or twice a week for him is fun but more than that is torture. So, my stepmom had always raved about her dog sitter to me and highly recommended her. She told me how her dog sitter runs a small dog sitting company with a few other women that she’s really close with and they only agree to taking care of 3 to 4 dogs at a time, which I LOVE. Fish doesn’t want to be around a bunch of craziness. They also only take care of dogs that are similar in size to their own dogs. So, one of them has labs so she takes the big dogs. Another has a medium size dog, so she takes the medium sized ones. And the other has a small dog, so she gets all the little ones! So, I applied and the boys got matched with a woman named Jaryn, who is literally a God send. Her & her husband are the kindest people on the planet and they literally consider Fish & Chips family. They love having them around. Chips and her dog, Pip, are the same age and have the same energy level so they play ALL the time. Fish and her oldest son, whose a senior in high school, have a sweet bond so he’s either lounging on their couch or snuggled up next to one of them. They get walks and fed healthy treats and I get pictures and videos everyday while I’m gone. I can tell they are being offered the same quality of life that I provide them on a daily basis and that they feel comfortable and happy while they’re there. It’s scary to leave your babies and I always miss them terribly … Jaryn knows … but it’s crazy how comforted I feel knowing they’re with her while I’m away.


 My hope with this post, and all of the honesty and vulnerability that lies within these answers, is not to discourage anyone who might want to adopt a pup from a rescue facility. It’s also not to be super negative. It’s just that I think there is enough ‘fluff’ and ‘perfectionism’ being put out there these days on social media. What I want you guys to know is that you’ll always get the truth from me … and, I think being honest about our struggles and hardships is what makes us feel less alone. I’ve committed to being a blogger as well as keeping my integrity and my heart for people intact. Sure, I’ll share pretty pictures on Instagram but I refuse to hide the fact that I’m a real person whose going through life just trying to do the best she can, and although I can’t control how my content is viewed by everyone who comes across it, I hope if you choose to try and get to know me through my posts, you’ll see that my life is not perfect but I’m still choosing to enjoy it!

With all that said, I cannot believe it’s been a year since I adopted Chips! I have to send a HUGE shout out to my assistant, Justine, who gets to love on and experience my life with the boys probably more than any one else! THANK YOU for loving them like your own and for all the help with them 🙂

Last, but certainly not least:

Thank you, Jesus, for these sweet boys. They are both blessings, chock full of lessons, and a true extension of your selfless love. I dread the day you take them from me but will treat every day with them as a gift from you.

Please leave me a comment below and either 1. tell me about your pups and any struggles y’all may have had or 2. let me know if you enjoyed this post that shares a little more insight into my heart, what I go through outside of the blog, etc! I’d love to hear your feedback! xo.

ALSO, HUGE THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO FILLED OUT THE SURVEY AND ENTERED TO WIN THE SONY A5100, A PROTECTIVE CASE AND 32GB SD CARD! CONGRATULATIONS TO kbocamp@aol.com!  hillkels3@gmail.com PLEASE EMAIL ME WITHIN 24 HOURS OR I’LL HAVE TO PICK ANOTHER WINNER! THANK YOU!

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thoughts?

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  1. Oh man this hit me in the feels. My dog is a mut. Our vet thinks he’s a lab/pit/boxer mix. He’s a giant sweetheart. He honestly sleeps all day, eats alot and loves to cuddle and play. But we don’t go around other dogs, the dog park, or let him play with our neighborhood dogs because people are so scared of him. He looks like a lab with a pit head and people seem to think he’s going to attack them or their dog at any moment. When we go on walks people will deliberately cross the street to avoid us. It’s definitely hard and I totally get what you’re going through.

    But, I love the verses you chose and I appreciate your sharing your heart for Jesus. I hope your jaw and hand are feeling better. Have a great week. : )

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  2. Lauren wrote:

    I just want to give you a big hug! I have a golden retriever and have been single the last few years. I had her with someone else and it was a big change! Now with the winter being so extreme this year I feel my patience wearing thin when she wants to go on these hour long walks but her unconditional love keeps me going! Dogs are the best:-)

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  3. Jennifer wrote:

    I honestly cried reading this for many reasons. I know the seasons of loneliness well and how difficult it can be. I also have my very own “Chips”! My Chips is a 60 lb rescue and I think they would be BFFs if they met. But have wonderful hearts and both are wild and crazy. So I related to so much of this post.

    Thank you for sharing and reminding me that I’m not alone. Life is beautiful and sometimes we all needed to be reminded of the beauty.

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  4. alex wrote:

    love love love getting a little insight in your home life with chips and fish? i love whenever they make a cameo on your snapchat! looking forward to these more personal post and thank you for opening up!!!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  5. Sherry Pan wrote:

    I will always remember this blog post. I cried, smiled, and laughed the entire time I was reading it. I absolutely LOVED this post. You guys are so lucky to have each other and you guys deserve the world. You are such a great puppy momma! I have a dashshund and chihuahua mix and I could not live without her. She’s a sweetheart, loves belly rubs and all the cuddles.

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  6. Ashton wrote:

    Love love love this post! Thank you for giving us insight into your life with Fish and Chips! As a dog momma I can definitely relate on so many levels. They truly are our children! Looking forward to future heart talk posts!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  7. Andrea wrote:

    Love this! Made me tear up but it’s so true! You are giving those dogs what they need, love and attention. You know what makes them tick and it’s amazing. Keep up being a good momma to those dogs!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  8. Ashley Severn wrote:

    Oh my gosh, I loved this post!! Thank you so much for sharing such personal insight so that I know I’m not the only dog mama who goes through these struggles!!! I have 2 small dogs and they have been through SO MUCH this past year. My husband was gone for 9 months (military assignment), I moved into his parents house, hubby came home and 3 weeks later we left Phoenix and drove to my parents’ in Los Angeles. From there, my dogs were left with my parents while we flew to Germany. My pups finally just joined us in Germany after staying with my parents for over 2 months. To say they’ve been confused would be the BIGGEST understatement ever! My puggle has always had a little bit of separation anxiety but nothing bad at all. Well, now it’s 1000x worse. But can I blame her?! 4 homes, 2 US states, 2 plane trips and 2 countries in a single year! I took the trash out the other day and broke down hearing her crying on the other side of the door. It was as if she thought I was never coming back! It was so heartbreaking! I sat outside my house, waiting to see if she would calm down and just started bawling because so much frustration with her behavior has built up and this was the top of the iceberg. Not sure what my German neighbors thought was worse: the American girl hysterically crying on the sidewalk (they think we are all a little nuts) or the dog shrieking inside (that would probably result in an angry call from my landlord/neighbor). But, as I sit here writing this, she snuggled up next to me as if I’m the most important, wonderful person in the world to her and someone who makes her feel completely safe and loved. She’s my loyal little sidekick & worth every second of hard work! And, as they say, God spelled backwards is Dog 🙂

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  9. Annaliese wrote:

    I’m not a dog owner myself but I would love to get a pet within the next couple of years when I’ve finished my school loans, so I loved this post! I am also single and have been for a very long time, so I could totally relate to that part of the post. Thank you for sharing your heart! <3 You are lucky to have two beautiful pups- I always smile when I see them on Instagram!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  10. Diana Gonzalez wrote:

    I couldn’t help but tear up reading this… I knew I should have waited until I got home considering I’m currently at work and had to pull myself together. I absolutely love your pups! And how you care for them, seriously it’s so inspiring.
    It’s like you took the words straight out of my heart I have gone through a really rough break up here lately and it’s been the loneliest I have ever felt.. then the fear starts to set in when you think it might never get better and then it’s an absolute torment. Getting through the day is tough because you don’t have someone there to champion you through the difficult moments or laugh with you through the happy ones. I get worried that I won’t find someone who I feel understands me or that I care about as deeply as I do him. And lately it’s been absolutely devastating.
    Thank you for this, thank you for being positive, thank for loving life you have no idea how much you encourage me to not give up.

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  11. Jenny Dunton wrote:

    I absolutely LOVED this post! I love hearing about your pups and real, everyday life and I loved how you incorporated scripture in talking about how you handle it all. That is so relatable and can be used to inspire others in so many ways. Our dog has been dealing with really bad allergies since December and so when we put him on a particular medication it makes him CRAZY!! So, I get the temporary moments of madness and crying when they do things that are just so frustrating. Keep your head up and keep writing because you are so refreshing to follow! Love 🙂

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  12. Bethany wrote:

    Oh GIRL! I already love this new series! First one and I already cried. lol Thank you for being open and honest. I think that’s what the blogging/instagram world is missing…those are the posts/people i’m drawn to or relate to and enjoy following.

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  13. Jessie wrote:

    LOVED the post!! You have such an amazing heart! You’re a great mama. Cut yourself some slack. Those boys are lucky to have you!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  14. Carol K wrote:

    Wow, let me start by saying I have two sister Dachshunds who will be 5. It was not my idea to get them since I had just let my Cookie also a Dachshund go to St. Francis and I had her for 15 years. My husband insisted on shopping for puppies on the weekends with my two little girls. Yes, I’m still bitter about that. We got them and two months later he deployed to Afghanistan. I had two little girls, two puppies and A house/yard to keep rolling for a year on my own in a city with no friends or family. One of the pups insisted on digging up the dripper system to our plants which was the cause of two surgeries to remove rocks out of her intestines. Not only that I had a has been telling me don’t let the trees die so I quickly turned into a sprinkler person! My point is there is going to be really cute moments and there is going to be total chaos moments. I love your blog and I remember reading all about Chip when you got him. You’re doing a great job keep going, you’re touching more people than you know.

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  15. Leigh Ann wrote:

    Hey Haley, you should try puppy bumpers. Not sure it would help with crawling under the fence, but I had issues with my dog slipping through the bars of the fence and the bumpers keep her from fitting through. Now I can let her out in the yard without having to worry she’s getting into the neighbor’s yard.

    https://www.amazon.com/Puppy-Bumpers-Bumper-Rainbow-Paw/dp/B008P1PHKE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517349041&sr=8-1&keywords=puppy+bumpers

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  16. Jennifer wrote:

    Not gonna lie but I cried a bit while reading your post! I feel you with the frustration of training. I try to hard and then my puppy does something terrible and I feel like an awful mommy. Reika likes to attack the front door when ANYONE leaves, she doesn’t like it. She also likes to herd people when outside with her. It’s the sheepdog. Reika is so affectionate but also suffers from separation anxiety. I’ve tried everything too and I can’t seem to fix it. I know she does eventually stop barking when no one is home because she is usually when when I get back. But if I go to the gym in the morning, I usually get a text from my sister telling me she hasn’t stopped. I also have a kitty who I’ve had since he was 5 weeks. Charlie is 7 now and I felt terrible when I was getting Reika but I still show him so much love. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  17. Jessica wrote:

    I loved reading your post! We adopted a dog from a shelter, not having any idea what her background was, but her rough paws indicated she spent a lot of time outside, and possibly was abused as she cowered a lot when you came near her. She had A LOT of separation anxiety with us. We did a lot of what you mentioned in your post with Fish, and after almost 2 years, she loves her crate, doesn’t really mind when we leave the house, and has calmed down a lot. She is the greatest gift to me and my husband and it was worth all of the work, time and money spent when we first got her getting her health and anxiety under control.

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  18. Sara wrote:

    Loved this! I cried reading it. You are a wonderful dog mom and I can so relate having two dogs of my own. I have two shih-tzu’s. A boy and a girl. The boy is like Fish in the way that he just wants to cuddle all day. He’s also very friendly to everyone! Then we have Lily, his polar opposite. She is super energetic and well just plain crazy! She’s also sensitive, very shy and curious at the same time.

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  19. Erica wrote:

    Deeply loved this post. Ugly cried through it, to the great concern of my sweet rescue pup currently licking my face. Sending you an email as well because I have some local recommendations to share!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  20. Becca wrote:

    Haley,

    I have always admired your honesty and openness to sharing your true feelings. It makes you “real” and relatable. I think this is why I (and many others) continue to come back again and again. This post made me cry. I am a puppy mom too and can relate to some of the same frustrations.

    Your part “Simply put, nothing worth having comes easy.” Reminded me of a recent personal development talk I went to at work. The speaker said “Most people have uphill dreams, but down hill habits.” It was the most truthful thing I had heard in a long time. Choose the tough road and you’ll be rewarded for your persistence.

    Keep truckin’ on puppymom 🙂
    -Becca
    http://www.lexiandlady.com

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  21. Anna D'Amico wrote:

    I absolutely loved this post and could relate to it so much! I recently adopted a dog and was nervous about it. I had so much doubt that I wouldn’t be able to give him all of the love and attention he needed. His name is Lincoln and he is a super affectionate dog, but is having some problems making doggy friends. This devastated me because I have friends and family with dogs that I want him to be able to get along with I feel like people are scared of him when they ask if he’s friendly towards other dogs and I have to say “no”. It almost makes me feel like a bad dog momma, BUT the other day he met a dog and everything went AMAZING! It’s nice to know that someone else has similar dog socializing problems. Sorry, long rant/comment but felt like I had to share 🙂

    You are a strong woman and will conquer any struggle that comes your way! 🙂

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  22. Stacy wrote:

    I needed to read that tonight! Thank you , it’s hard to not settle sometimes when everyone around you is matched up ; or always on your case about “finding someone and setting down “ love reading and seeing Fish and Chips! I know when I adopted my pup it’s insane how I never knew How much I needed her until she was with me!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  23. Leah Davis wrote:

    I really enjoyed reading your post about a different part of your life. I’m a single girl & it’s always good to hear another person’s perspective about dealing with the tougher times. I’m also looking into getting a puppy hopefully in the near future.
    My sweet little dog was hit by a car and killed a few years ago & I’ve just now recovered some from it, as well as moved into an apartment that allows dogs.
    Thanks for sharing your real life and especially your how your spiritual life gets you through different times. It’s so good to hear and not feel like I’m the only one!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  24. Reagan wrote:

    Loved and needed this post in so many ways! Pisces, feel way and care so much, but you are an awesome dog momma to Fish & Chips!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  25. Stephanie Fuqua wrote:

    Beautiful, informative post! Love your pups!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  26. Monica S wrote:

    Oh girl, I can relate on all of the dog issues. I wish I had advice, but I don’t. My dachshund has so many of the same issues! ????‍♀️ Yoey doesn’t like all dogs (triggered because he was literally engulfed in the mouth of another dog as puppy- requiring lots of stitches) but the dogs or people he does like and want to play with— he barks at constantly, so they think he is a monster or going to bite them. Breaks my heart because I want him to have a “friend” so bad! He also has separation anxiety and if he hears the keys jingle, sees you putting your shoes on, or say the word leave or bye he starts barking non-stop until I’m out the door, then he is quiet. He also gets upset with me when I leave, not every time, but I usually come home to find a “present” on the floor- despite having him just outside to take care of business. So frustrating, but the love they share just can’t be beat. My sweet little guy always knows how to melt my heart- even if behaving badly.

    I’m a poorly practicing Catholic, but I love the verses you shared and how you relate to them. A different perspective, but one I appreciate and agree with! Sometimes hearing those words are just what we need. ❤️

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  27. Catherine B. wrote:

    Fish & Chips remind me so much of my rescue, Sawyer! He is a beagle/daushund mix (we think). He actually seems like a mix of both of their personalities… spunky & fun but anxious too. So just two weeks ago, he ruptured a disc. He very quickly lost use of his back legs… now after surgery and a two week hospital stay, he’s showing signs of improvement. Even wagged his tail a few times!! Our biggest hiccup at the moment is getting him to pee…. having to take him into the vet a few times a day for their help. Which is time consuming and costly. Hoping he continues improving. We have another rescue too (Stella, boxer lab mix) and she’s so upset 🙁 breaks my heart to see her reaction to him. Rescues are the best and worth every moment of stress. I love your openness in this post, keep it up!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  28. Lizbeth wrote:

    My husband and I have always had English bulldogs and we’ve had our ups and downs with them. Just a few days ago one of my males (Gaston) passed away from a heart attack and it never gets easier ); They are such a high maintanece breed but are the most loving and kind dogs we’ve ever had. I always seem to struggle with potty training as for some odd reason they ALWAYS pee on their bed as puppies. It’s so nice to get another side from you and be able to connect on a deeper level than just fashion. (:

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  29. Jessica O wrote:

    Our dog is 7 and we got him at 7 weeks so we thought we had trained him so well! One day (around the age of 4) our neighbor started complaining about his howling and since we live in an apt in dc we had to make him stop lol At the same time he started taking things and getting destructive when we left. So we thought he developed separation anxiety but a behaviorist told us it’s isolation anxiety aka he doesn’t care who he hangs out with as long as someone is with him. Now we have to drive him to his grandparents house 3x a week when I need to go to my office. It’s annoying and inconvenient but free since they are retired and they love having him over but it causes us stress and feels like having a toddler that goes to day care! It’s frustrating when my husband is traveling and I can’t even run errands without driving so far to drop him off but I have to remind myself that all that matters is that he gets to live his best life and we should appreciate every minute we have with him. I can’t imagine having two fur babies so in my eyes you’re killing the mom game!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  30. Mia wrote:

    This post was everything I needed to read tonight and then some! My rescue pup, Molly, is a lively corgi/basenji mix with a similar personality to Chips. Right down to the part where she gets so excited to see other dogs that people tend to think she’s aggressive.

    I’m in the process of rescuing another dog now and have started to have some doubts if I could take on two dogs and how they would act around each other. I loved hearing about Fish and Chips playing together right away! Combined with the verses you picked for this post it has really helped to put my mind at ease and helped to remind me why I was looking to adopt in the first place.

    From one dog mom to another- you got this!! The small trials are just so little compared to the love you receive from a dog that knows that you saved his life

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  31. Angela wrote:

    Thank you for writing this! This is beautiful. I’m so happy Fish and Chips have you!! I enjoy hearing about every day life because we’re all in it together. Thank you!!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  32. Melanie wrote:

    Haley, you nailed it. This post was so refreshing and contained the exact encouragement we all need from time to time. Single dog mom life can be. so. hard. – but always so worth it. It’s comforting to know other’s can sympathize. Please always continue to incorporate your Christianity in your posts; it’s so needed.

    I started crying halfway through reading and as soon as my pup heard my sniffles, she came over to give kisses and make sure mama was alright. What did we do to deserve them?

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  33. Taylor S. wrote:

    Yes yes yes!! As a nurse, single dog mom to a rescue, and new home owner I have been longing for you to do this! I look up to you so much…your Christian attitude and the grace with which you handle things are refreshing. And I agree social media is terrible but this is a great way to make a difference…people are lonely in this world and need to be reminded of the love of God. Thanks Alyson!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  34. Jessica wrote:

    I LOVED this post as I too am single Christian and a mom to two kitties. Both I adopted as older cats from a shelter. Since they are older they have had health issues and it has been a struggle (emotionally mostly but also financially and with regards to time) but it has all been worth it. I have a heart for animals and know that is one of God’s purposes for me. Anyways, I definitely could relate to your post and am grateful for you sharing your heart with us all today! Will keep you and your boys in my prayers. xo

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  35. Ladi wrote:

    Chips is literally my dog in a smaller package. My pup, Lucy, is crazier than we bargained for when we adopted her. The training has been challenging (still to this day sometimes). But everyday with her has been such a gift!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  36. Rachel wrote:

    Love posts like this! I have two rescue pups too and I love them so much it hurts! I enjoyed learning more about your story with Fish and Chips and I can really feel the love you have for them!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  37. Ktie wrote:

    we are in the same boat! I am also a single dog mom to two dachshunds. this post really hit home and made me say “yes, so true” too many times to count! I too struggle with if I am being the best dog momma I can be, especially since I am an accountant that works long hours during tax season.

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  38. Jennifer wrote:

    I usually don’t read long blog posts. But this almost made me cry ????. I also, am single with 2 dogs. Similar to your situation, one older laid back shih tzu and one 3 year old Boston terrier who’s crazy lol i also struggle with days where i just wish i had someone to help. It gets hard sometimes but there’s no greater love. I’m glad to know im not the only one who struggles with being a single dog mom. On days when i feel alone they’re all i have. Anyway, thanks for putting your heart and soul into this post Haley. It’s much appreciated 🙂

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  39. Amy wrote:

    This is exactly what needed to hear tonight! I’m a single dog mom to a 120 pound rescue, and I was feeling defeated today too. He has some anxiety that causes behavior and I’m working with a trainer but today was just one of those days. Thank you for sharing your heart and you’re honesty with us! I will keep this post close and re-read it when I need to while I’m walking through the narrow gate!

    Published 1.30.18 · Reply
  40. I really loved this post gf! It feels so good to get to know more of your HEART, and I love that you feel
    open to sharing with all of us! So sweet how much you care about these sweeties, I feel the same with Maggie because she’s a rescue too. The separation anxiety IS REAL!

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  41. Lauren Jones wrote:

    I love this post.
    I have 2 pups as well. Riley is a boxer and she turns 9 years young this Saturday. I’ve had her since she was a 4 1/2 lb 6 week puppy. She is my best friend and we have been through so much together! I also dread the day she’s taken from me.. I cry just thinking about it!
    Chloe is a 5 year old lab. My husband got her as a puppy, and she has been his sidekick ever since. We were very lucky when we started dating because they get along so well. Chloe depends on Riley for so much, and Riley is very patient and loving with her.
    We are both travel nurses and move every 3 months… So as you know with your moves, this can bring it’s challenges. Riley is very easy going and as long as she’s with us, she’ll go anywhere without any fuss. Chloe, on the other hand, has severe anxiety when she rides in cars… go figure, a dog that has been on multiple cross-country trips, still dreads going for a short ride.
    Although they both have their own challenges, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. As travel nurses, our lives can get pretty lonely. Our girls are definitely our world and our family.

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  42. Jen wrote:

    Beautiful post!

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  43. Rhon wrote:

    What a wonderful post, thank you!

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  44. Renee Parenteau wrote:

    This post was amazing. Thank you for sharing. My husband and I rescued a pup just a little over a year ago and sometimes it is super stressful. Thank you for being so real and raw with everything!

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  45. Judy wrote:

    I loved your post. I can relate to you as well. We have three big dogs. Toby is our chunky monkey , a lab. Sheba is our Blond blue eyed lab, retriever mix and our youngest Tanian is a german shepard, chow, pit mix. They all have different personalities. When we take walks our dogs are always excited to see other people. Our dogs are very social and I’m sad when people walk on the other side of the street when we come. I think they are afraid of Tanian because he looks a little intimidating but he is a big lush and very loving. We also have to cats and he and Oreo are best friends. It’s fun to watch the cat rub on him and he licks him. They also play with each other. I love our fur babies and even though they don’t always listen and I get frustrated some times, I would never want to miss them. Thank you for the verses, they can out things into perspective.

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  46. Jude wrote:

    Many of us know challenges of dog ownership and times of being alone. First the dog part. I had a rescue and with the help of a personal dog trainer, things got better. There are classes too that help but my training was one on one. It makes a huge difference. I lost my girl a few years ago when she was 18. So distraught over her passing but I never got another.
    On the alone part. We all want the partner, family feeling and sometimes end up rushing in with the wrong person. Visualize the man you want in your life and believe it will be. I literally made a treasure map board where everything I posted on it came to be. You have a lot to offer to someone specisl. Hang in there!!.

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  47. Tamara James wrote:

    Haley, I could not love this post more! I laughed, I cried, I could SO relate. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability with us. It’s okay to be human and be overwhelmed sometimes to the point of needing a good cry. It makes me feel better, I know that. Sometimes you just gotta empty yourself so you can refill and refresh with a new perspective and outlook. As for Chips being able to sneak under the fence to the neighbor’s yard, if you’re not able to do anything about the fence itself, I have a funny suggestion…put a puppy life jacket on Chips when he goes outside. They have a handle on top to scoop him up quickly if needed and that way he can bee-bop around at his leisure and without a leash but won’t be able to physically fit under the fence…HA! May be worth a try?! Looking forward to more posts like this. XO

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  48. Jennifer wrote:

    Thank you for your heartfelt post. Just wanted you to know it helped me. And my situation is totally different from yours. I’m married with 2 kids and have 3 other people in the house helping with our new puppy. But I have similar emotions of loneliness and feeling like maybe I’m not being the best mom to my kids. We all have our own struggles but sometimes you’re right….when you look at the lives of others through a social media filter, you can very much feel your life isn’t measuring up. As I’ve gotten older, I try more every year to be true to myself and look for happiness in every day small things, realizing more and more that happiness is an inside job, not something you’re going to ‘find’ one day when the perfect person/job/situation etc shows up.

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  49. Whitney wrote:

    Perfect post. I have a dog from a breeder and a rescue, Gus and Emma. They are Siberian Huskies. I love them more than anything, as I know you love Fish and Chips, but its hard. Emma was severely abused in her old home (“bad home” we call it) and has a lot of weird things because of it. I have had her for 9 years so she is a lot better but will always have some issues like her hatred of boxes (not good for an online shopper like me) and her hatred of all other dogs besides Gus, her brother. It has truly been a struggle but a struggle I would do over and over because she is the best dog in the world and I couldn’t imagine my life without her. I think no matter if we are dog moms and baby moms we will always have some vulnerable times when we feel we aren’t good enough and its refreshing to have you discuss it on your blog so we all know that it happens to everyone. Thanks again for the post. Love your blog, I have been reading for years (first-time commenter) xoxo

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  50. Andrea wrote:

    Thank you for your post! I am single mom to two beautiful girls (10 and 14) AND a 4 year old Golden Retriever. I can relate. Thank you for including the bible passages. Needed to see that today!

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  51. Lindsey wrote:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to know there’s another single dog mom out there in a world of mommy bloggers. I am 33 and have 2 pups as well. One is a Yorkie with a brain tumor and the other is a shihtzu mix rescue. It can be a hand full at times, but they are so worth it.

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  52. Kathryn wrote:

    Thank you so much for the thought, time and energy you put into this post…I LOVED it! I have a little rescue dog who is my entire life. I’m married with no children yet but my husband travels a lot and I live far from family and friends. Everyone around me here has kids so I feel alone in this stage of life. My husband and I adopted a terrier mix last March and she has completely changed my life. She gave me something besides me and my sadness to focus and love on. I will say that she came with a fair amount of baggage -she was found in an abandoned shed with 17 other dogs and spent a lot of time at a pound and then foster home with a lot of other dogs. When we met her, she was SO scared. She shook like crazy and wouldn’t look us in the eye. They told us that several families had applied to adopt her but when they met her they said no. She also had a sister who had already been adopted so I felt like I couldn’t leave this little baby..all she needed was love and patience. 10 months later you wouldn’t recognize her – she is so happy and settled but we still have some struggles with her. All I can do is keep loving on her and accepting her for who she is. All dogs are hard work regardless of where they came from, but I think rescue animals love really big because they know what life without a loving owner is like. Thank you for sharing so much of your heart with us, Haley!

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  53. Ruth wrote:

    You are a genius!

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  54. Loved this post! Thank you for being so open!

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  55. Margaretanne Clinton wrote:

    This is a lovely post. I appreciate the honestly about difficulties and the uplifting message with it. Thankyou for posing it.

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  56. Sarah wrote:

    Beautifully written post!!

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  57. Andrea wrote:

    This is a great blog post. I appreciate your vulnerability and that you are wiling to introduce something new. I have a 4 year old mini dachshund that I have had since she was a puppy and I relate to you so much on that! My dog has the funniest personality but she is the most stubborn thing. It is frustrating sometimes because she can’t be outside for too long without having an eye on her (she eats literally everything…including her poop..its the worst) and she’s not allowed in certain parts of my house bc she can’t be trusted!! It’s tough but it’s worth it.

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  58. Ashley wrote:

    Such a great post!! I can relate to the single thing. There are definite perks to being single, but every now and then the loneliness kicks in and it can be hard. Waiting is hard. Keep your faith and keep doing you!

    Published 1.31.18 · Reply
  59. Crissy wrote:

    Definitely needed to read this! Thank you for always being so open and sharing!

    Published 2.1.18 · Reply
  60. Mina wrote:

    Such a great post! Thank you for sharing! I’m a fur baby mom to an English bulldog named Bowser and could not imagine a life without him despite having to deal with the high maintenance that comes along with caring for his breed!

    Published 2.1.18 · Reply
  61. Anna Bernin wrote:

    I relate to so much of this. I just ended things with a guy last night because he wasn’t a Christian and I knew I couldn’t settle for that. It was the hardest decision that I had to make. Your post has encouraged me and reminded me that I did the right thing.

    Published 2.1.18 · Reply
  62. Emma McAvoy wrote:

    I really appreciate this post. It helps me feel better that I am not the only one struggling with loneliness. I consider myself to be both an extrovert and introvert at different times. I moved to a new city over a year ago where I didn’t know anybody, and I have struggled to make a group of friends ever since, due to working full time and being a full time online grad school student. I completely understand what you mean by being your own cheerleader, and finding the right people to be in your life, but sometimes its just hard physically being alone, but knowing that God is with you always. Reading your post has been insightful and given me courage! Thank you for sharing! P.S. I love hearing about Fish and Chips, I am hoping once I graduate grad school I can look into adopting a dog.

    Published 2.1.18 · Reply
  63. Alyssa wrote:

    Girl, I only have one dog (and a fenced in backyard) and still manage to get frustrated sometimes. But then I have moments like your sweet moment with your pup, and it’s a reminder that dogs see the best in us. It’s not a bad thing to cry out of frustration. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Sounds like you are doing a great job with your little guys!

    Published 2.5.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hey Alyssa! We’re all a little hard on ourselves from time to time. I think it’s just natural! Thanks for reading 🙂 xo.

      Published 2.5.18 ·
  64. Tyler wrote:

    I know you literally just did this post, but it would be so so awesome if you did another one about being singleness and Valentine’s Day.

    Published 2.5.18 · Reply
    • AlysonHaley wrote:

      Hi Tyler! I’ll be doing one on Giving Yourself The Gift of Self Love in honor of Valentine’s Day. My hope is that it’ll be encouraging for ladies, like yourself, who are single and might be struggling. It’s okay to not have someone and it’s okay to not be okay with it but, just remember, you’re not lacking anything just because you haven’t met someone who compliments you yet. 🙂 xo.

      Published 2.5.18 ·
  65. Laura wrote:

    Having a dog can be such a fun experience but also very challenging. I was very frustrated with mine because,like yours, she isn’t good with other dogs and going for a walk was always filled with anxiety and fear that there would be some issue or drama. I found a great trainer who helped me realize that I’m in charge, not my dog. It gave me so much confidence and has made life so much easier. If you found someone to help you it might give you the same relief it gave me and allow you to get even more enjoyment out of your sweet little guys. Thanks for all the great posts. I really enjoy reading your blog!

    Published 2.7.18 · Reply
  66. Nicci wrote:

    I love reading posts like this. I completely understand feeling lonely. It’s one of the hardest things, I think, because you don’t want to be with someone just to be with someone, but it gets tiring. As proud as I was that I could handle things myself, sometimes it was so hard to always have to be the strong one. I think these times help us understand how much we can do on our own and how to tap into that inner strength, but also how to be strong for someone else so they can depend on us. I know there is someone wonderful out there for you, but God must need a bit more time to finish getting him ready for you. 🙂

    Published 2.8.18 · Reply
  67. Julia wrote:

    I thought that my previous post will be first and last but reading this article made me change my mind. I obsoletely love the honestly of this post. As you mentioned, this post makes you more real unlike so much of social media these days. I think there are many people out there who can relate to your struggles esp. being single part. This post really hit home and thank you for being open with your followers, its so rare and personally I appreciate it. It seems that you have a very big heart which is a treasure and I am confident that you will meet that spacial someone who will value having such an incredible women in their life!

    Published 2.10.18 · Reply

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