It was sophomore year of college and I had just surrendered my puppy Mary Jane to the humane society because at the time, I just couldn't take care of her. If you've ever had a puppy, you know they're just like a baby. She was a handful and I soon realized I had bitten off more than I could chew. I figured that someone out there could dedicate more time to her and give her the life she deserved. I do miss her dearly and think about her almost every day and I pray that she went to a loving family. I severely regretted having to give her up and I was heartbroken for a while. I saved her name-tag and put it on my keys and I still have it to this day. A few months had gone by and on April 4th, 2019 I received a text from a friend of mine. He was trying to find a home for this little black pit bull. It immediately hit a soft spot in my heart because growing up we had a pit bull named Koko. Pit bulls have never had a good reputation and I knew that from personal experience. I proceeded to ask him what would happen if I couldn’t take her and I was told that she would go to the pound, I guess I was kind of a last option. I knew she wouldn’t do well there, and she was about a year and a half old and most people tend to want puppies, so I told him that I would foster her until I could find her a good home. He brought her over later that day and me and my roommates all fell in love with her immediately. But with me still being upset about Mary Jane, I just knew that I couldn’t do that to another dog, I didn’t have it in me. I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship, so I was very broken at the time. Her name was Mona Lisa. A few weeks went by and I found myself growing more and more attached to her. I stopped looking for someone to take her, and went from a foster parent, to a full-blown mama. Even though I had dogs growing up, I never bonded with them to the extent I bonded with her. This was MY dog. MY responsibility. My grandmother had helped me take care of Mary Jane, but when I got Mona, I was terrified to tell her that I had taken on the responsibility of another dog. So, I kept her a secret. This was the first time a dog was my full responsibility with no outside help. I had heard of the whole “man’s best friend” thing but had never personally experienced it until her. I felt like she really understood me, and she came at a time when I needed a companion the most. Our bond grew stronger and stronger and she was slowly mending my broken heart. I soon realized that she was a huge blessing in disguise. I was severely depressed, I wasn’t eating, I couldn’t get out of bed, I didn’t leave the house, and I found myself with terrible social-anxiety. Mona pulled me out of that dark place. It wasn’t about just me anymore, I had a whole other being to take care of. My motivation to get out of bed in the morning was to feed her breakfast and take her on a walk. Getting out of bed got easier with time, and when I would run into people while walking her, she seemed to ease my anxiety. I was no longer alone, I had her. When I would cry, or be in a terrible mood, she knew. I have bi-polar disorder and she also recognized that, she was there for the highs and the lows and she acted accordingly. She would lay her head on my chest when I would cry, and I would just hold her tight. I brought her literally EVERYWHERE with me. Every time I hopped in the car; she was there. If I went to a friend’s house, I always asked if she could tag-a-long and the answer was always yes. All of my friends had grown to love her just as I did. I even took her to parties! It got to a point where it was just assumed that she was coming, we were a package deal. It was no longer just me; it was always me and Mona, and everyone knew it. I felt like we had grown so in sync that she understood English, because I would ask her specific things, not commands, and I swear she understood every word. My roommates at the time really weren’t really big fans of dogs, but Mona was different. They ended up loving her just as deeply as I did, and they gained a whole new perspective of dogs. She not only changed my life, it seemed like she changed the lives of anyone she came in contact with. I still have her to this day and plan on keeping her as long as she lives. Mona is my best friend. *Harry Nilsson - Best Friend starts playing* She has shown me nothing but unconditional love and I believe that everything happens for a reason. The universe knew what it was doing when it brought Mona to me. I knew that I couldn’t keep her a secret from my grandmother forever so one day I just came out and told her, and of course, she was furious at first. But soon after, I came home to visit and had to bring Mona with me, it didn’t take long for her to grow on my grandmother. She even came up with a silly little nickname for her. She calls her “blackie”, and Mona loves my grandmother because she gives her loads of treats. Friends have come and gone, but at the end of the day Mona is still there. I am forever grateful for her and I never could've imagined her to have this big of an impact on my life.