The other side of Fear

March 16, 2016

I’ve acquired a lot of nicknames in my life. From “Elle-Belly” to “Boo” to “Cheeks”, I’ve learned to respond to what feels like hundreds of forms of my name. However, I never thought I’d ever be responding to “Mom” at the age of 19.

No, I don’t have an actual kid of my own. Surprisingly, it is my roommates who started this trend. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I obtained this title, but I really seemed to fit the definition. The nickname especially stuck when I brought home a dog from the humane society! Now let me back up, for this wasn’t an easy decision!

When my roommates gave me the nickname originally, it stemmed from the joy I received in caring for others. In college, I found myself wanting to find the peace that pleasing others brought me. I craved offering others my “mom” like love, and I felt that volunteering somewhere would help satisfy such thoughts. This is what brought me to apply to become a volunteer with the Coulee Region Humane Society.

Well, okay… You caught me. It wasn’t by chance that I chose to volunteer my time with adorable puppies! However, the job wasn’t to be taken lightly. Going into my first orientation session at the humane society was slightly intimidating. There was a lot to remember, and I didn’t really know what to expect! The one thing I never expected to happen that first night was for my life to completely change.

After we had covered the logistics of the job, the volunteer coordinator took us on a tour of the shelter. We made our way around the building with our last stop bringing us to the dog kennels. That’s when I saw Jaxon. He was sitting nicely in the corner of his kennel looking at me with his big puppy-dog eyes (literally and figuratively). It only took one glance for me to know he was mine and I was his.

Now, adopting a dog is a HUGE decision. There are countless expenses and commitments. I spent four days contemplating every pro and con with anyone who would listen. I shied away from the idea of being responsible for another living being because I was afraid. I knew adopting a dog would change my life, except I couldn’t predict or plan exactly how Jaxon was going to change it. But I had this feeling in my gut that I couldn’t shake. It was a good feeling that I didn’t want to let go of, and I knew the only way to keep it was to be brave, embrace my fears, and take the next step forward in my life.

So, I did it! I adopted a dog, and I became a real “mom” to a 7-year-old beagle/blue heeler. I may have been shaking out of nerves when I first brought him home, but now I can’t imagine a day without his never-ending love and energy. It’s hard to imagine that I almost didn’t take the leap to bring Jaxon into my life! It’s all too easy to succumb to your doubts, but you never know what opportunities will present themselves once you choose to overcome your fears.

Don’t get me wrong – you don’t need to do something as drastic as adopting a dog to be brave! It worked well for me personally considering my “mom”-like personality. Go sign-up for that dance class you never thought you’d be good enough to do well in. Try out that new hairstyle you thought might be a little out of your “comfort zone”. Text that cute guy you’ve always admired from afar and ask him to coffee. Maybe even look into volunteering for that organization you’ve always thought was pretty cool! Turn-off the doubts in your head and GO FOR IT. Who knows? It could change your life.

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