The day that I moved into my first dog-friendly home in Jackson, I didn’t waste any time. I adopted baby Otter the same day. Boxes still unpacked, feeling slightly crazed and tired, my boyfriend and I picked up Otter to start our new life, in our new space, together.

To some, this might sound impulsive and insane. My boyfriend was a little more hesitant to make the leap right away. But I had been talking about, wanting, and waiting for the right pup to come along for years and I knew in my gut that Otter was the one.

Not only did I spend years wanting a dog, I spent months preparing for the day itself. I took puppy owner friend’s out to breakfast to pick their brains on training. I read books. I did research on breeds. I learned about socialization. I made lists. I made plans.

But sometimes your plans change, and unfortunately, Otter didn’t make it past 15 weeks of life. Sadly, on March 21 while on a walk, Otter died suddenly of what the vets believed to be poison. What was supposed to be the happiest time of my life, quickly turned to the most tragic.

Despite only having had Otter for 7 weeks, she made a big impact on my life and the life of those around her. She was an adorable fluff full of energy and sass. She knew what she wanted and she’d vocalized that. She was very smart and was learning from her trainer really quickly. I felt supported during the time that I had Otter. The AAC made me feel like I had the tools to be the best mom possible. They introduced me to an incredible vet (shout out to Dr. Joe Weinman and his staff at the Jackson Animal Hospital) who put up with my incessant questions and calling. She was loved by the staff at the AAC and they were so quick to give her a squeeze and a kiss. She was loved by those around her – both human and pup.

I would never trade my experience with Otter. She taught me how to be more patient, read dog cues, and think beyond the limits of human behavior and see the world from her eyes.

And now, when asked if I want to get another dog, I know the answer is yes. I want to be a successful puppy mom. I really did love everything about being Otter’s mom. From the highs to the unforeseen lows. So thank you. Thank you to the AAC for introducing me to Otter. Thank you to my friends for loving her too. Thank you to my boyfriend for supporting us. And thank you to Otter, for making me a dog mom, forever and always.