In light of it being Pet Appreciation Week, I wanted to shine a little spotlight on my furry best friend-Andie. Andie is my family’s little four year old morkie, who has been with us since the beginning. My husband and I welcomed her into our family right when we got married. The first time I met her, I knew she would make the transition to the military life a much easier one.

To give you a little backstory, I grew up with dogs throughout my entire childhood. We treated our pups like one of the family. My grandparents had a dog named Maggie, a sweet and loving border collie. She would tirelessly follow my grandpa as he was mowing the lawn, and would sit on the grandchildren’s laps at family parties. At our childhood home, our favorite dog was our Sheltie-Claire. Claire was by my mom’s feet at all times. At least once a day, one of us would nearly fall flat on our faces, while Claire frantically tried getting back to my mom. There wasn’t a time we didn’t know where Claire was, because no matter what she was by her side.

My husband, on the other hand, didn’t grow up with dogs. So it was very surprising to see him so ready to add a new furry member to our very new family. I think,after I told him countless stories about the family dogs, who helped shape my childhood, he knew having a dog would give me that same comfort during this very new phase in our lives.

Marriage is a very big life changing event, but having to leave your whole life behind for a completely new one, like for all military spouses, was major for me. Having Andie there on our long drive to Oklahoma, eased my worries. I knew, when my husband had to be away, I always have her for those late nights and long deployments. We took her to parks to meet new people, and have been on many walks around our neighborhood. It’s funny to see how easy a conversation can be with your furry best friend as your icebreaker.

We made great friends because Andie was there with open paws and a wagging tail, just waiting for a belly rub. After I noticed the joy she brought to those we met on our walks, I started bringing her to military outdoor community events, too. One day, I was moved by how she lifted the spirits of the soldiers we met in passing. They hadn’t seen their own family pet, back home, in a long time. This led us to our journey to have her become more than a companion for me, but a comfort to those who really need it most.

Many classes later, she is on her way to becoming an official therapy dog. Andie is not only my furry best friend, but a friend I hope to share with each and every community our military adventure takes us.

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