Published online: Oct 12, 2020 Articles Emily FitzPatrick
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Getting a dog is something I talked about for years, starting when I was in college. I would have given anything to drag my half-blind family pet out to campus, but she wasn’t really mine. She was a family dog and there were rules preventing that sort of thing anyway.

So instead I chose to frequently rhapsodize about the dog I would get after graduation. My roommates saw more pictures of dapple dachshund puppies then they probably ever wanted, but I couldn’t help it. I was obsessed. 

My obsession peaked while studying Victorian literature. In class, we read about Queen Victoria and her beloved cocker-spaniel, Dash. She not only considered her dog her best friend throughout her childhood, but memorialized him with a poem. In my mind there was nothing more epic than this, so when I returned home, I promptly informed my roommates I would be naming my dog Dash as well.

“What if your dog is a girl?” one of my roommates asked, teasing me.

“It won’t be because I’m choosing a boy.”

“But what if?” 

“Then, I’d name her Dashita,” I said and the room burst with laughter. Dashita quickly became the joke for the rest of the semester. One of those “you had to be there” moments we shared. 

When I was finally established enough in a permanent place to get a dog, I didn’t name him Dash or Dashita. Instead, to the surprise of most everyone I chose the name Atlas after listening to the album of the same name by Sleeping At Last. The album was inspired by some deep topics including the origins of the universe and the complexity of human emotion.

I liked the idea of having a guide by my side to help me navigate those complexities and that is what my miniature dachshund has become over the past eight months. He comes with me most everywhere, including trips through the drive-thru, dog park, pet store and even out of state to visit national parks. Atlas hasn’t started whispering the answers to all of life’s questions to me yet, but his silent presence is more than enough.

Companionship is something that adds to our quality of life, whether human or animal. In Idaho Falls, we love our pets, but our community is also wonderful at connecting to other people. There are so many aspects of both senior living and pets we could have chosen to cover in our area, but this question stood out to me above all else as we gathered content – what can we do to heighten quality of life for ourselves and others? It’s our goal to provide a few possible answers, whether you have a loved one or yourself in mind as you jump head-first into our latest issue. 

Click here to read more of the November issue.


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