Contributor:Katie Hyland, sophomore Cal State San Luis Obispo

Hi. My name is Catherine “Katie” Hyland. This is about my dog “Zelle”. She is a six month old German Shepherd mix adopted from Monterey County Animal Services. More importantly, she is an Emotional Support Animal. I got her with the intention of helping with anxiety that I developed during the first year of college. I thought that by adopting her, I could save her and give her the life that she deserves while also giving me a loving companion.

She’s ended up saving me in the process. When I first met her, it was love at first sight. I went into the shelter looking at another puppy, but when she looked up at me with those beautiful puppy eyes, I melted.

She was three months old, which I thought would be beneficial because I could train her easily. However, I didn’t take into consideration that I was adopting an animal with the brain of about a two year old human. When I brought her home, I was overwhelmed with emotions, both good and bad.

I was happy that I was getting a companion that would love me unconditionally, but I became very anxious that I would not be able to provide the kind of life that she deserves.

I even thought about returning her to the shelter a few days after the adoption. I decided to stick it out, even with my doubts. Now, I can say with 100% confidence that keeping her and raising her has been one of the most grueling, yet rewarding, adventures that I have experienced. There have been many ups and down. I’ve never had to raise and train a puppy. I had no idea what I was doing, but after many google searches and YouTube videos, I think I’m doing pretty well. I’ve taught her things like “sit,” “stay,” and “come,” yet she’s taught me how to be a better person. She’s taught me the values of patience, responsibility, and compassion, but most importantly, she’s taught me that even though there will be times that are difficult, nothing is too difficult to overcome.