Adopted Dog Teaches Pet Mom to Stop and Smell the Roses (or Rabbits)

Paris shows Nicole the path to mindfulness by taking time to enjoy each moment.

Nicole + Paris

Paris loves to slow down and soak up every moment, and she’s helping pet mom Nicole learn to do the same. Together, they are enjoying the little things in life.

"Paris makes my life better by giving me small daily reminders to stop and enjoy the ordinary, peaceful moments in life. When the alarm goes off in the morning, Paris takes a minute to stretch and sigh before jumping out of bed. Instead of rushing through a walk, she pauses to roll in the dewy grass and soak in the morning sunshine."

As someone who has a “type A” personality, I often describe myself as being high strung, stressed, anxious, and always on the go. A few years ago, I learned about the concept of mindfulness. I’m no expert, but I’ve read a book or two about it, and essentially it boils down to being present in the moment. Being mindful means slowing down, stopping your racing thoughts, and taking time to notice your surroundings. Becoming aware of the sights, sounds, and smells around you makes it a little easier to enjoy the little things in life. I loved the concept, but I wasn’t any good at implementing it. Until I met and adopted an adorable little Hound dog named Paris.

I met Paris by volunteering at my local animal shelter, Orphans of the Storm. For almost a year now, I’ve spent several days each week walking dogs at the shelter. Behind the building, there is a field that is always mowed and maintained for the walkers. I’ve been pulled around that loop along the edge of the field by more energetic and excited dogs than I can count, but Paris was the only dog that ever went to the far end of the field, stopped, looked through an opening in the trees, and noticed a creek running nearby. Then she just sat down, faced the creek, and watched the water go by. And I joined her. In that moment, she reminded me to be mindful. We didn’t need to run around that loop as fast as we could. We had a much more enjoyable time by listening to the water bubbling over the rocks, feeling the breeze on our faces, and appreciating one another’s company. That was the moment that I fell in love with Paris and knew that I needed to bring her home.

Paris makes my life better by giving me small daily reminders to stop and enjoy the ordinary, peaceful moments in life. When the alarm goes off in the morning, Paris takes a minute to stretch and sigh before jumping out of bed. Instead of rushing through a walk, she pauses to roll in the dewy grass and soak in the morning sunshine. When I pull on the leash to head back inside, she lazily rolls over and asks for a belly rub first. When we go for walks, Paris reminds me to stop and smell the roses — or in her case, the rabbits. I can always count on her to point out the beautiful things around us that I otherwise wouldn’t notice. Paris has shown me fawns grazing nearby and rabbits hopping off in the distance. She even found a raspberry bush along a trail and picked a few ripe berries by herself! Paris has taught me that when I slow down and am mindful of the moment, then the morning sunshine feels better, breakfast tastes better, and our walks are more beautiful. My whole life is better because of Paris.

Each year, the Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes campaign invites adopters to share stories of how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Nicole won Orphans of the Storm in Kittanning, Pennsylvania a 2020 Holiday Wishes award.