Years ago, my niece Sophie coined a phrase that still resonates with me. “Aunt Mary, Off Topic.” It was directed at me. I know I have shared once or more that I go off on tangents quite often. I am way more focused at work. In uniform, I am able to make a quick decision, negotiate with savvy, drive Code 3 without plowing into the seemily immortal high school students at lunchtime. When I am off duty, I get off track. Think I just did it again…

Ok so, my family got a 8 week old puppy in November 2015. I flew down to San Diego and picked her up as a surprise for our daughter. Not wanting to have an animal companion named after a candy or cookie, we gave our 8 year old three names to choose from. She picked the name Olive.  

I forgot to mention that someone promised our child a puppy before that December Holiday season. I think I rolled my eyes, sighed, crossed my arms on my chest and stomped my feet all at once. An over 50 tantrum. I felt it wasn’t a great time, for those 2 maybe, but not for me. Do you know how much an 8 week old puppy needs to go out to pee and poop? In the wee hours too?!  Training? I knew it was going to be my gig. “You are so much better at that stuff honey.” ” But I promised her…” 

The last couple years haven’t been easy. My resiliency has waned. My capacity to compartmentalize has taken a dump as well. Age? Length in the job? The overall policing and political climate in recent years? Yup, definitely some of those and a whole bunch more. 

I started to joke that our little Shitzu is my emotional support animal. I have given to “Paws and Stripes” and watched media pieces about service animals and emotional support animals. I truly get it now. There is something so simple and so wonderful about petting an animal. Holding Olive. I adore the exquisite way that Olive rubs her sweet little head against my leg, the way she stares up at me when I scoop her up, and the meditative way in which she scurries out across the yard to fetch the ball over and over. The unconditional love.  I feel my anxiety soften and my mind slow.