Meet my best friend Kona
At the top of my list of things I love the most: My dog. I know this is a travel blog, but a lot of the local travel I do is with my bestie: Kona.
I adopted Kona on a total whim in 2016. I worked at a mortgage company and helped organize a holiday donation drive to one of the area shelters. I went with a group of coworkers to drop off the donations and there she was. She was so terrified in the back of her kennel - head down, sad eyes, hating how loud it was. My heart hurt for her. I took her into a room to show her some affection and she was the sweetest angel I had ever met. Gave me all the kisses, wanted all the pets. I hesitantly filled out the adoption application thinking that it would take a few days - a.k.a. give me time to change my mind. I was wrong. They looked over the application front and back and asked what time I was coming the next day to pick her up.
That's how I ended up with my dog.
I will say - she was a total nightmare when I brought her home. She destroyed two dog beds, she ate the plastic tray in the bottom of her crate, she LOVED eating the garbage, she pooped in the house at least a dozen times, and her separation anxiety was at an all time high. On top of that, Callie (my cat), despised Kona.
The day I brought Kona home, all I could think about was how much of a mistake I had made. After a few hours, I crated her up and went to the bar to drown my sorrows. I was SO torn on what to do. I never had a dog growing up. We were always a cat family (and bunnies... a parrot...) but never dogs. I was not prepared for the kind of responsibility that comes with a dog. You can't leave them at home for 3 days unattended like you can with a cat. They require much more attention, more at-home time, more activity, more everything. I was 26 years old at this point and quite frankly I felt like adopting Kona was going to be the end of my social life.
She had been abandoned twice already, and I couldn't bring myself to be the third. I decided to stick it out. It kills me when people adopt dogs and don't give them a fair chance to become part of the family. We had a rough couple of months, but eventually, we found our groove. She no longer has separation anxiety, she hasn't had an accident in the house in almost 6 years, her and Callie (my cat) are best friends, and she is fine to stay at home alone for up to 10 hours. If I would have brought her back to the shelter, I don't know where I would be today.
Kona absolutely changed my life the day I adopted her. She changed it for the better. She made me grow up and forced me to become more responsible. I stopped staying out all day and night because I had to be home to take care of her. A few months after her adoption, I literally bought a house with a fenced-in backyard for her. She has made me a more active person by being the reason I need to go outside for a walk(s) every day.
26 didn't seem young to me at the time, but looking back at the 6 years we have had together, we have accomplished a lot. She has helped me through some really dark moments by allowing me to snuggle with her in bed all day but still requiring her daily walks. Fresh air helps on the bad days.
I always make sure to include her in things whenever I can. We go on road trips just the two of us; I take her out for ice cream and cheese curds. We play hide and seek in the house when crappy Wisconsin weather strikes. And we share a bowl of popcorn together on our Friday movie nights.
The dog is literally my best friend. Want me to cry on command? Talk about the fact that she won't be here one day. I want to make sure that she has the absolute best life while she's around. She loves hiking and going on car rides just like her mama - which is why she's the perfect travel partner.
When I began writing this post, I had intended it to be a list of my favorite places to walk Kona. Instead, it ended up as a Kona appreciation post. I'm ok with that because she deserves it. You'll get the list next week.