Who rescued Who?

One of the great questions with no definitive answer for this Man and his BEST FRIEND.

Within thirty seconds I knew he was coming home with me, I’d have to figure out the particulars as we went along. Conan is my best friend, an incredibly handsome Pit-Bull/Husky mix who has accompanied me during the latest growth phase of my life. We have explored a tremendous chunk of the country together, encountering every kind of weather, many different wild animals, terrain from desert mountains to snow capped Rockies, and oceans on both coasts. Not bad for a couple of souls in search of purpose and belonging.

When we met I was beginning to heal after a breakup had completely knocked the wind out of my sails. I was forced to spend some time addressing deep wounds I must’ve glossed over even in my years of sobriety and self discovery. Simply put, I had been disastrously heartbroken for over a year prior. I was healing for sure, beginning to feel better and NOT beating myself up over things nearly as much. Profound anguish of rejection and my lack of ability to love myself were subsiding. Journaling in a new way, therapy which I always shied away from, vigorous exercise, and daily trips out in nature became instrumental in boosting myself to relative sanity. I learned where the roots of a lot of my anxiety stemmed from and was able to address it. The guidance of my therapist combined with consistently delving into the healing I personally needed got me on track to restoring my self worth.

On a whim one day I wanted to adopt a Husky, which I found out was not all that simple. I grew up with German Shepards as well as little dogs like CockaPoos, Shih-Tzu’s, and Yorkers. To me, there was something incredibly pure about Huskies, they are beautiful and are known to love the outdoors, which was a my main reason for wanting a dog to begin with. I poked around several Husky rescue websites and honestly, for my ADHD brain it seemed like it was too much work, the process would take too long. I will say, that all the background checks and paperwork should be in place, it just happened to deter me. I reached out to a family friend who deals a lot with pet adoptions to see if she could steer me in the right direction or at least help speed a process along. It just so happens she had recently recovered a Pit-Bull/Husky mix and would be trying to find him a home.

Admittedly, the thought of a Pit wasn’t even a consideration. I was not a hater, but part of me certainly thought there was something to the rumors about them. He was described to me as shy, not well fed, and afraid of men by my friend. “Maybe I should I wait”?

She simply said you’re ten minutes away, just stop by. Fair enough, if nothing else a few minutes with a puppy never seemed like a bad idea to me. She texted over a couple of photos, he was incredibly unique looking so my curiosity piqued.

I pulled up and the minute I locked into his half-brown/half-blue eyes, this full-of-life creature bolted straight over hugging me with his extra large white-socked paws as he gave my face a good tasting with his excited lapping tongue. That was it, there would be no turning back, it was as if we were waiting for each other for several lifetimes. Instantly there was a connection that I still have a hard time describing. I knew I wanted a dog, but in that exact moment I realized I needed him and that feeling was mutual.

That afternoon I took him to one of my favorite hiking trails. During the first quarter mile we were passing a guy who stopped us to tell me how beautiful my puppy was, pointing out how proud and confident he walked. My fellow hiker’s observance has stuck with me since that moment, an hour before we got there, this beautiful dog was timid and unsure of himself. We trekked around 3 miles that afternoon, through streams and scaling rocks and around a flowing waterfall. We could’ve went further when a storm rolled in, dropping buckets of rain on us until both of were drenched like a couple of water-logged renegades. We were ready to take on the world, to explore and grow and learn together. To seal the deal I came up with his name, Conan; Gaelic for Little Wolf.

Conan is my best friend, there is extraordinary truth to that old saying. Have you ever had that friend who everyone finds attractive and charming? Traffic will literally stop and everyone stares? Well, that’s him. It makes it relatively easy to bring him to the vet or the groomer or the dog sitter when I work my twenty-four hour shifts in the firehouse. Humans want to be both with him and seen with him. The cool part is he doesn’t really let it get to his head, he’s always the same mischievous, loyal, kind hearted mush with everyone and triple for babies and children. He likes to see what he can get away with sometimes, but likely I taught him that. Mom always said, “I hope you get one just like you someday”.

He has been a great companion on long weekend trips to the mountains and our five hike a week habit. After a good hike, run, or day at the park, he sleeps so hard that he twitches and snores.

Our big trip across country, which will be detailed in a future post as well as my upcoming memoir was one of the highlights of our lives so far. Jersey to California and back, with stops in some of the most breathtaking areas of the country. I simply love the West Coast, particularly LA and Southern California. I thought he should get a chance to visit there too so we packed up and went. Had I not had him, I’m not certain I would’ve made that trip. I owe him one and highly recommend anyone lucky enough to make a vacation out of seeing The USA, do it!

If you can do it with your best friend who rescued you… I promise you that it’ll be one of the most fulfilling moments in your life.

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Writer, Actor, and Professional Firefighter. Resiliency, sobriety, fitness, hiking, traveling, and generally a life enthusiast.

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