I met Mac A. Roni through Loyal Rescue in Ottawa. My aunt always had chihuahuas and I knew I wanted one too, especially considering the fact that I lived in an apartment. Mac is half Chihuahua half Pomeranian, but he ended up being perfect. He sheds like crazy!
Before I got Mac, I knew I wanted a rescue. I used to be a groomer and when I took my grooming apprenticeship in Montreal, I worked in a grooming salon that was attached to a rescue, so in addition to grooming clients’ dogs, we also groomed strays and such. That was the best part of my job and it gave me a real love for that.
When I first saw Mac’s picture, I thought he looked a lot like my aunt’s dog to the point where they could be cousins. Mac looked a little nervous and scared on the pictures but they said he was very good and well-trained.
Mac A. Roni is my first dog and although I was ready for a new companion, I had just moved into a new apartment and having had an anxiety disorder my whole life, I was finding the move and the adjustment very stressful. When I applied for Mac A. Roni, I didn’t think the adoption was going to go through as I had applied to adopt a cat in the past and it didn’t get approved because of the place I was living at at the time and the balcony not being safe for pets. However, they kept contacting me asking to come by, asking to see the apartment and suddenly I was there thinking “oh my God, it’s real!”. A part of me was really excited for this, but another part of me was hoping it wouldn’t happen as I was not sure I was ready for this anymore. However, one thing lead to another and lo and behold they decide it’s going to work.
To this day, I don’t know if it was intentional on her part or not, but just before I took Mac in, the lady fostering him told me she was going away on vacation and told me “ you can email me, but I can’t take the dog back into fostering for at least a couple of weeks, so you have to step up”. I had told her about my anxiety and she was telling me I could do it.
When I got Mac, I was emailing her every day.
“I think I’m doing it wrong”.
“I think I should give him back to you”.
“I can’t do it”.
At some point, she just said “look, I’m going on VACATION and I can’t answer all these emails. You have him for at least 2 weeks, you have to get used to it” and just kind of went offline. If she hadn’t done that, I’d like to think I wouldn’t have given him back, but I honestly think the nerves would have probably made me do it and I’m really glad she went off on vacation.
The first days were rough.
I was on my summer break and Mac and I were constantly together. He was nervous about everything.
He was afraid of my record player.
He was afraid of the giant ceramic statue of a cat on my mantelpiece.
He was scared of the elevator.
On top of that, he comes from a very different background with other dogs. He lived in the Maritimes, so in another province, and came to live with me in an apartment which he’s never been in.
He was just a mess.
I, on the other hand, was terrified I would kill him.
I was having nightmares every night where he would die and I would wake up at least 3 times every night to go check on him. I remember calling my parents and crying for 3 days straight. I was taking him out 5 – 6 times a day because he was so small and I didn’t want him to be uncomfortable. I was not sleeping and it was really rough. Eventually, the lady at the rescue told me to pick a schedule, to get both of us into a routine and that he will adapt to it. When I did that, he settled right in and within a month, all the stress went away and I felt like I had him my whole life.
The day I found out the adoption was official, I stayed up all night and tattooed a little macaroni on my arm with the date I adopted him. It was partly a way of holding myself to account because I have a history of quitting things, of giving up when things get hard.
It was a lot smaller, I would say.
I had a lot going on in my life. PTSD, anxiety, medical issues and because of that, I would never go out. I would stay indoors most of the time and when I was living with my parents, I was extremely depressed. I was in my twenties, never had a real job and it was getting to me to the point where I would wake up, lie on the couch and play video games. I was miserable.
When I got this dog, I had to take him out at least 3 times a day so at least I was going outside. When I did start going out with him, people started talking to me because he’s cute and I had to learn how to be social. As time went on, I was becoming more social and using photos of Mac to talk to people, asking them if they wanted to see a picture of him. By the end of it, it got to a point where I’m now wildly busy. We go on picnics a lot and I even organized one for the History Department students, which Mac joined as well.
I have lots of adventures with him, but also without him now. I was able to go on vacation by myself to Salt Lake City to do a lot of art related stuff and I had a great time. I can do things I never thought I’d be able to do before getting him and I’m so much more active as well. Before I got him, I was about 300 lbs and now that I have Mac, I’m about 196 lbs. We go running together, we play outside, he eats healthy so I eat healthy too. I’ve been on and off of therapy for 13 years with virtually no improvement and I get him in 2017 and it’s done more for my mental health than any of the doctors. I’ve actually lowered my anxiety medication since I got him for the first time since I was 13 because what I needed – and I think what a lot of people with anxiety need – was someone to show me that you’re able to do things. Once you know you can do it, it stops being a source of anxiety because you’ve done it. You just don’t want to make that first step, but Mac A. Roni makes that first step for me by going out or making me try new things and it gets me out of my comfort zone.
It’s still a long road and I still have a lot of recovering to do, but there is a light in the horizon for the first time, ever, and I’m really grateful for him. He’s my ray of light. He’s like a happy little sunshine.