By today's share-everything-online standards, I've been a bad pet parent. My Raven turned one year old almost two months ago, and not nary a social update was made. To make up for it, I'm sharing the random story of how she became my fur baby.

My pibble mix (part Pit Bull, part Labrador Retriever) was found all alone in a ditch on the side of an unpaved road, near the small town of Dothan, Alabama. In early March (2015), an animal lover was driving by and scooped her from the cold. Since the pup was super friendly, and probably hoping the woman had food, she didn't even try to run away. Instead, she let the woman take her home, feed her, and introduce her to their five other dogs. Yep. FIVE.

The family had a lot of pets, which is why they couldn't permanently take on another one. So the daughter, Rebecca, took to Tumblr for help finding her a furever home. As fate would have it, I was randomly scrolling the #puppy tag on Tumblr that evening, because c'mon, who doesn't love looking at puppies just for fun. I came across Rebecca's post and was instantly smitten. She was the cutest thing!
"Hey followers! I don’t have many of you but I’d like a little help. My mom found this puppy a couple days ago on the side of the road. I’ve started calling her Raven. Anyway, we can’t take on another animal. We have too many as is but we can’t take her too shelter because she might be a pitbull. Raven is a little shy at first when you meet her but then warms up to you. She doesn’t like being alone because she was most likely dropped off and left. She needs needs a good home. Keep in mind that Raven is a puppy and requires a lot of work. I live in the state of Alabama near the city of Dothan. Help me find this puppy a new home."
Out of curiosity, I googled how far Dothan was from Atlanta: 3.5 hours. For the life of me, I don't know what possessed me to reach out. I was in no way prepared to raise a puppy. I wasn't even searching the #puppy tag in hopes of finding a puppy for myself. I was living alone (not married yet) in a one bedroom apartment, had never, ever owned a pet (unless goldfish count) (?), and I didn't know the first thing about house training, crate training, vaccinations, etc. All I knew was, I had lots of free time on my hands, Raven was cute, and she wasn't that far away.

Well... one thing lead to another... and that weekend Meredith and I drove to Columbus, the halfway point between Dothan and Atlanta, to meet Rebecca and Raven. She was a wild one at first. It was clear she had no real or formal training, and she was huge. I took her to the vet, and they estimated her to be 4 months old according to her teeth. At that time, she was already 40lbs. Thankfully, she received a perfect bill of health from the doc, and we were on our way to becoming best friends. Or so I thought...

Raven was a tough puppy to housebreak, and crate train, and get to calm down. She was thee most stubborn puppy! She definitely has an alpha personality, and it took a while for her to learn she's not in charge. I'm not going to lie, there were many times I contemplated getting rid of her. I looked into Paws Atlanta, the Humane Society, and Craigslist for a way out of the puppy mess I got myself into. And by mess I'm speaking figuratively and literally; I've cleaned the carpet more times than I can count. But eventually, the good days started to outweigh the bad, and she finally learned who's boss around here (and to let me know when she has to go potty).

She's still extremely hyperactive, so I've been trying to get better about our daily walks, but in general she's calmed down significantly. I'm so glad I decided to ride it out. She's the sweetest, most loving and protective little (read: big) thing, and she's surprisingly good with kids. Raising a puppy is NO JOKE, especially big ones. At one year old, she's around 85-90lbs, and according to the vet she might not be done growing. Apparently larger breeds aren't considered adults until at least 2 years old. Another thing I didn't know before deciding to adopt her. You live and you learn.

This was a much longer post than I anticipated, but I realized I never shared the story of how she joined the family. (Imagine how long the "birth story" will be for my first kid, which isn't coming any time soon, btw. Although everyone around me keeps checking for my ovaries). One day I'll have to recap the story of How I Met My Husband ;)

ETA: I'm absolutely LOVING the 50mm 1.8 lens. I also can't believe my model sat still long enough for me to snap these. #winning.