Dallas’ first walk went about how you would expect a toddler’s first walk to go.

He was hot, tired and clumsy, so when he walked over into the creek and stretched out in a big muddy puddle, I knew I had my hands full. Dallas is my 2-year-old pit bull, and he, like other dogs, loves to go for walks. It wasn’t always that way, though.

I rescued Dallas from the pound in May 2018 right after finishing up my junior year of college. I had a rough year, struggling with my mental health and school, and I had just moved into my first apartment. I needed a friend. I needed a companion to lean on, so I took a faithful trip to the animal shelter before work just to see what dogs were there.

Dallas looked up at me with those big eyes, and I knew he was mine. He came home a few days later, a little tired and drowsy from his neutering surgery.

We stretched our legs and started off on a walk to see just how far the dogs would go. I was accompanied by my roommate, her boyfriend, their dog and my two best friends.

Dallas started off strong, but by the time we had made it halfway through our half-mile walk, Dallas slowed down. It was the middle of May, but the temperature felt closer to the middle of July.

My dog-mom-mind-reading skills had already kicked in so I knew exactly what my new pet was thinking.

“It’s hot. I want to go lay on the cool stuff.”

He obviously meant the kitchen tile.

We turned around and started back toward the apartment. That is when the dogs saw a puddle of water. His ears perked and he cocked his head, pondering what would happen if he plopped down in the muggy water.

Nate, my roommate’s dog, made the first move, walking over the bank into the creek to test out just how cool the water was. He took a drink and turned to Dallas.

I think he said, “Come get a drink. It’s nice.”

Dallas stumbled over the edge of the creek and slid into the water on his belly. He was soaking wet, covered in mud with his tongue hanging out of his wide grin.

He looked at me with big eyes as he laid there, soaking in the cold water and the shade, happy as can be. Dallas has taught me a lot of things, but the first was to never say sorry for taking care of yourself.

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