Melanie Repella - President 4 Paws Ohio State

“Atlantis”. I stared at that name for what felt like days during my initial 4 Paws orientation. Today I have sat through more than six orientations and I could probably give the orientation if I ever needed to. I could see his crate against the side of the room and the corner of a big white cone sticking out. “I would get the dog with a cone on his head” I thought to myself. Finally, we were allowed to meet our pup and even though I’m sure it goes without being said, I fell in love.

And then the orientation was over and I was leaving 4 Paws with a dog. I went to a meeting and strangers just handed me a dog; I was nervous, excited, and thrilled. I had no puppy sitters, hadn’t gotten to know Lynn the other foster on campus yet, and was an hour away from 4 Paws for Ability. What in the world had I jumped into?! Atlantis was a challenge. A loveable, goofy, adorable challenge and he was mine. Atlantis had this thing where he didn’t always like walking. And by that, I mean he would lay on the sidewalk in the middle of February in 10 degrees and just stare up at me. And that was that. There were days I was so late to class I picked up my fifty-pound dog and carried him from South to North campus because no amount of treats or encouragement was enough for him that day. He had a bad habit of pooping on the sidewalk and loved to jump up on people. So throughout the semester we worked on our commands, walking, pottying, and everything else.

Then, all of a sudden, it was time to give him back. I cried. My boyfriend at the time drove me to drop him off. On the way home he kept telling me things such as “you did a great thing, don’t be sad”. After about five minutes of his positive, sympathetic comments I lost it screaming “I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT JUST LET ME CRY AND STOP TALKING”. Thankfully silence ensued and I cried because in one day I lost my first dog and my best friend and I couldn’t even explain to him what was happening. That someone who needed him more was going to get him and be so incredibly happy. I couldn’t tell him that our arrangement had only been temporary all along, but that I would love him forever.