Story Submitted by Darouny Bounsengsay

As a kid, I never had a pet. My mom was (and still is) allergic to dander, dust, pollen etc. and my childhood home had burnt orange 80s carpet original to the home my parents couldn’t afford to change. I had a pet rock for a science project in 7th grade and my aunt’s house had fish. It was as close as I got. I was never able to understand how people were so attached to their pets. My romantic relationships brought cats, dogs, birds, and even the occasional reptile or two into my life and I loved them all, but I still didn’t really get it on a deeply personal level.

One unassuming evening, I picked up the sweetest little black and tan puppy and fell in love. That’s it. One moment. I instantly understood. I was determined to bring her home and did so as soon as I could. It wasn’t even a week. Ellie Mae, you won me over, little lady. Hook, line, sinker.

At the time I was on the tail-end of a tough relationship, and having my girl there for me got me through one the toughest challenges I’ve faced yet. I sat with her for a number of nights bawling my eyes out and she just licked the tears away – loving me until I was crying over how much I loved her instead of what was hurting me.

We’ve been together a year and counting. She’s still the sweetest puppy and I’ve become that crazy dog mommy who posts constantly about her, cooks human food for her, and gives her anything her little heart desires. My parents finally re-did their floors and Ellie has won over grandma, who asks about her every phone call since there’s no carpet anymore to aggravate her allergies.

My love (and best doggy dad ever) likes to joke my separation anxiety from her is worse than her separation anxiety from me, (lol) but I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s my girl. I wake up every morning with her snuggled between us and I would do absolutely anything for this little ray of sunshine in my life. I get it now. I really, truly, get it.