They can change your life, you can change theirs


Cory Thaxton

Photo courtesy of Kristen Dean
Meet Sadie (photo courtesy of Kristen Dean)

Imagine walking into Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter and seeing a Chihuahua puppy sitting in a glass fish tank with no food, no water and the saddest look on face.

You can’t help but pick him up to hold him. He won’t let you go.

That is what happened to Kristen Dean, freshman pre-nursing major, when she adopted her Chihuahua, Buddy, about six months ago.

Sadie, a tan Chihuahua and weenie dog mix is Dean’s newest addition to the family.

Sadie was rescued from a group that hoarded dogs and they couldn’t take care of them all.

“She was covered in fleas and bug bites and hadn’t eaten for days,” Dean said.

Dean now describes Sadie as the little cookie monster of the family who eats everything in sight.

Some people would say taking care of a dog is just as much work as raising a child because they need love and attention. They need food and water.

They need to be taught the differences between right and wrong. They get sick, have favorite toys and have feelings just like children.

Dean feels like raising her two puppies is just like raising two babies.

“What I love most about my dogs is that no matter what mistake I make, what grades I make, or what I say they will always love me no matter what,” Dean said.

She said they bring joy to her life and they have shown her a “totally different kind of love.”

Annie is a two years and three-month old cocker spaniel.

“Even though I have to spend excess money on daycare, vet bills and food along with making sure I am not gone for more than five hours, the love I get when I get home and the companionship I get from her makes it all worth it,” owner Chelsea Veldhuizen, senior biology major, said. Her life would not be the same without her dog.

Veldhuizen loves that Annie is always so excited to see her when she gets home. Even if she is having a bad day at work or school, as soon as she gets home, Annie makes her feel better.

Ever wonder what your pet would say to you if they could speak? Well, Veldhuizen thinks Annie would say “mom stop” a lot.

“I constantly pick her up, making her take baths and doing things she doesn’t want like going on runs with me,” Veldhuizen said.

Bullet and Bailey, two lab mixes with two totally different personalities.

Ashley Durel, senior marketing major, said that Bullet is extremely hyper and Bailey is laid back, but it is a great balance between the two.

For one, Bullet tends to know when Durel is stressed out or sick, and he will crawl into bed with her and cuddle. Bailey, on the other hand, doesn’t care. She is very independent.

“Bullet is really goofy, every time you give him a treat instead of eating it, he will play with it. Like throw it in the air and bark at it. I usually have to watch over this because Bailey will come snatch it up really quick. She loves food,” Durel said.

Durel’s boyfriend even has voices for their dogs.

He’ll talk to Durel as Bullet and Bailey and, she even responds. “Bullet just says mom a lot and asks her what she is doing.

“Bailey” doesn’t speak much, but when she does its usually just “I love you mom.”

“It’s a very interesting dynamic we share with our dogs, and it is something I enjoy,” Durel said.

One night after Valerie Placke, junior finance major, petted another dog, her German shepherd, Gretel, smelled it and “huffed dramatically and walked in her kennel” and waited until Placke to close the door.

“She opted to sleep in the kennel instead of with me,” Placke said.

Other than the utter disappointment Gretel shows Placke every now and then, she really is a great dog.

She will go to Placke’s daughter’s room every night to check on her before everyone goes to bed.

“My dog was extremely malnourished when I rescued her. She only weighed 30 pounds and was 8 months old. If she could talk, she would thank me for rescuing her from the bad situation she was in…she loves me, I’m hers…She shows her gratitude everyday,” Placke said.

“She makes my life better.”

Placke believes everyone should have a dog of their own.

Dogs are truly man’s best friend.

We love them.

We spoil them.

They’ve really got it made.