My Pearl

This is going to be one of those posts. The one where a middle-aged guy writes about his canine best friend. If you aren’t down for that, I totally understand, and don’t hold it against you for clicking the back button now.

If you are still here – and I suppose you are if you are reading this – thank you for indulging me. Not many years ago, I was a guy who judged people for talking about their dogs on Facebook all the time, posting pictures in outfits and bows, holding them like babies. It was silly, I thought, to pay so much attention to ones dog, and to nauseatingly fawn over it.

Don’t get me wrong – I love dogs. I had dogs growing up, and I’ve had dogs the entirety of my adult life. When my dog Sandy died I was just eleven years old. I sat with her through the night after she suffered a stroke. I went to the vet the next morning, where we were told she would have to be put down. I cried. Wept. I wept for the entire day. I was gutted.

Less than a month after my wedding, over the 4th of July weekend, I had a pivotal inspiration to visit the Kansas Humane Society with the no so subtle agenda of bringing home a dog. And thus we adopted Kolbe. Kolbe was with us for almost 13 years, and welcomed home all of our children. I often recount how he was so excited and curious when we brought the first one home, but just laid on the floor with the distinct look of “What? Another one?” by the time it go to number 5. When Kolbe went, it was his time, but his death still marks one of the saddest events in my adult life.

We’ve had other dogs – the sweet epileptic border collie/lab, Clementine, and a Australian shepherd, Critter, who was re-homed because he was the wrong dog for the wrong time in our lives. Kolbe has firmly held a place in our hearts though as the “best dog”. We loved him. But…we didn’t fawn over him. Yuck.

The is a long preamble to the topic of my post: Pearl. When Clementine passed away last January, there was agreement that we would take a break from the fur, the pottying, the feeding, the boarding, and all the other responsibilities of owning a dog. To be honest, it was nice not to have the worry. And as sweet as she was, Clementine couldn’t go anywhere with us – after contracting Lyme disease in Wisconsin she was aggressive around other dogs – not a good fit for our Colorado trails.

I was diagnosed bipolar at the end of 2018, and had a few really rough spells over the following couple of years (a post, or posts, for another time). Further, I was alone a lot, having (re)started my design business towards the end of 2019, spending my days in my office in downtown Colorado Springs. There were (are) some days then the interplay of my mental health and time spent alone is not so good.

I had read and researched support animals and service animals with the specific purpose of aiding those with mental illness. Bipolar is covered by the ADA, and a properly trained service animal can be with me at all times. Service dogs can be trained to take specific actions to help their owners, and even notify others if their owner is in danger. Really cool stuff. It took some convincing, but Erin agreed to bringing another dog into our house and lives. (Also, spoiler alert, Pearl is not a trained service animal.)

Since bringing Pearl home in April of last year, she has been a part of my day almost every day. She spends the day in the office with me. She gets me out to take walks and I take her on my hikes – she’s already bagged three 14er’s! I talk to her. Most importantly, when I’m with Pearl, I’m not alone.

Pearl is a smart girl, but sometimes the puppy energy is at war with her desire to be obedient. Last autumn, Pearl spent 5 weeks in a training program with the Colorado Correctional Facilities where an inmate worked with her for several hours a day. The change was remarkable. I’m currently looking for trainers to help with service animal certification in the next few months.

When I was a kid, and throughout my dog-owning adult life, dogs were around. They would wonder around the back yard or nose at you for attention when you sat on the couch. They were always just kind of there, and on the weekend you might have to go out and pick up their poop. With Pearl, the intentionality of ownership and integration into not just my life, but the life of our family has changed the experience in a way I would not have thought possible.

At this point I’ve become overly long-winded, and I think you get the point here. And if you’ve hung around this long, its probably only the promise of cute puppy pictures that has kept you going.

Today is Pearl’s first birthday, and it brings me joy to know that there are many more ahead of us, and that we will continue to work together to become the best companions for each other. I was also elated to find out that Pearl shares a birthday with Joona, a baby girl rhino at the Denver Zoo. Alas, even the word of Daft Punk’s 28 years of sheer awesomeness wasn’t enough to steal the joy of celebrating this beautiful life.

Pearl had a peanut butter banana pupcake and got a new blanket for her kennel, where she sleeps every night. She ate up the attention, right after she was done devouring the pupcake. I think you will see in the photos the smiles she brings to our faces.

Happy 1st Birthday, Pearl!


  1. Patricia Arnold
    February 24, 2021

    Happy Birthday Pearl!

  2. Teresa Marney
    March 14, 2021

    Love your post and she is such a sweetie. What a gift!

  3. July 12, 2021

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all
    is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having
    a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m
    not 100% positive. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  4. July 14, 2021

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after looking at a
    few of the posts I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m certainly pleased I found it and I’ll be book-marking
    it and checking back regularly!

  5. July 14, 2021

    Ꭺfter exploring a hѕndful of the blog post on your
    site, I seriously like your way of wrіting a blog.
    I bߋokmaгked it too my bookmark site list and will be checking baⅽk in the near
    future. Pⅼease visit my ѡeb site too andd lеt me know how you feel.

  6. July 15, 2021

    What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious knowledge about unexpected feelings.

  7. July 15, 2021

    This is a topic ᴡhich is near too mу heaгt…
    Best ѡishes! Exactly where are your cotact details

  8. July 16, 2021

    Hello! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that
    would be okay. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

  9. Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this web site needs
    a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the info!

  10. Hiya very cool blog!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark
    your website and take the feeds additionally? I’m satisfied
    to search out so many useful information here in the post, we’d like
    work out extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.
    . . . . .

  11. July 17, 2021

    Ԝonderfuⅼ web site. A lott of useful information hеre.
    I am sending it to some Ƅuddіes ans additіonalⅼy sharing іn delicious.
    And oƄviously, thank you for your effort!

  12. August 28, 2021

    It’s an amazing piece of writing for all the web people; they will take advantage
    from it I am sure.

  13. August 29, 2021

    Hi there, everything is going well here and ofcourse every one
    is sharing information, that’s truly excellent, keep up

  14. August 31, 2021

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your site.
    You have some really good articles and I believe I would be
    a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some material for your blog in exchange for a
    link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Cheers!

  15. September 1, 2021

    I constantly emailed this website post page to all
    my friends, because if like to read it after that my links will too.

  16. September 1, 2021

    First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question that I’d
    like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious
    to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first
    10 to 15 minutes are wasted simply just trying
    to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Appreciate it!

  17. September 3, 2021

    Wow, this post is nice, my younger sister is analyzing such things, so I am going to inform her.

  18. September 3, 2021

    Your mode of describing all in this piece of
    writing is truly good, all be capable of easily be aware of it, Thanks a lot.

  19. September 5, 2021

    Asking questions are in fact good thing if you are not understanding something totally,
    but this piece of writing provides good understanding even.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *