If you follow us on Instagram… You have undoubtedly seen Evergreen (@pnwonderdog) show up in our photos and stories. A lot. She joins me on most of my daily adventures throughout our region and is always by my side. This is a little look into her story and how she became Pnwonderdog!
My wife and I are huge animal people. Throughout our lives we adored and cherished the special relationships we had with our family pets. They played huge roles in our lives, taught us so much, and provided the ultimate friendships. I can never seem to find the right words to explain how much they mean to us and how positively they impact our lives (and still struggle to this day), but they truly make our lives whole.
As we grew older, we each knew that animals would continue to play large roles in our lives. At that time, it was impossible to have our own with going off to college, traveling, and pursuing different passions. Returning home to wagging tails was always made it a little easier (below is my family's dog, Toula!)… But we both yearned for the day when we could add some fur-kids to our own family.
When I moved back to Oregon in 2014 with my then-girlfriend (and now wife!), we knew it was time to finally add a dog to our family. I was going to be working from home and had the flexibility we needed. We spent a couple months checking out our local shelters and online for the perfect match to our little family. After much reluctance, my wife finally convinced me (she doesn't take no for an answer) that adopting a rescue dog was the best thing to do – and thank goodness for that. She was very, very right. One day…. we came across this exact photo on Petfinder.com. One look into those eyes, and I knew she was the girl for us. We immediately made arrangements to go meet her.
She was in Aberdeen, Washington at a rescue called PAWS of Grays Harbor and we were in Albany, Oregon, over 200 miles away. That was not a barrier for us. We hopped in the car and drove through a huge rain storm to make it to her. When we arrived at the rescue, she wasn't there yet - so we waited with an equally huge amount of anxious energy.
When I first saw her (similar to right now as I am writing this...) my eyes welled up with tears. We pet her through the metal crate that she was in and she shoved her entire body up against the side so that she could get closer to us. She looked at me with those beautiful eyes that I had only seen in a single photo and they told her entire story. All she needed was a change for a family to love her. My wife and I took her for a walk in the pouring rain and it was a disaster - she pulled so hard on her leash and was barely even walkable… but it didn’t scare us away. We completed the paperwork, and just like that… Evergreen joined our family. We picked out her name prior to arriving and it couldn’t be more fitting - she was a perfect match.
We weren’t sure how she would do traveling in the car so we brought a large crate with us for her to ride in… That didn’t go as planned. There was no chance of us getting her inside of it. We struggled for quite a while, still in the pouring rain, and eventually thought we would see what happens with her just riding in the back. I still am not sure if it was right then or later that night that it clicked in her brain that she was now with her people, her family. But look at this derpy smile….
We drove back down to Oregon and she very quickly settled in right between us. This is still her favorite way to sleep while we travel.
Later that same evening, my wife’s family was celebrating Christmas. We brought Evergreen to meet everyone and she got her first Christmas present, the alligator! She was so happy, so excited, and also felt so safe and comfortable that after all of the commotion, she promptly fell asleep at our feet. Her face is so expressive, I have never seen a dog that smiles quite like her, and that night… She was all smiles.
After that, the hard work began. Although Evergreen had the sweetest demeanor and personality, she had a lot that she needed to work on and overcome. She was found by PAWS as a stray, so we did not know what kind of life she had lived prior to making it into our home and hearts. Moments would come up that indicated clear experiences of trauma. She had fear of small spaces, loud noises, basements, and stairs. She had zero training and did not even know how to sit. She needed more socialization and more than anything, just a lot of consistent love and trust.
We immediately starting doing training classes with her and she had so much energy that I brought her to the dog park twice a day. We brought her everywhere we could to meet new people and dogs, have new experiences, and help her understand that she was in a very safe environment. We of course cuddled her up every chance we got too.
As she continued to get more comfortable and confident, you could see the past trauma slowly fade. It was no longer a part of her. This took a lot of time, a lot of love, and a lot of work. She is truly a different dog than when we first met her.
And now…. Evy is fully settled into her amazing life. She plays every day, has doggy besties, 3 brothers (2 cats and another dog) and my bond with her is stronger than with any animal that has ever been in my life. She has helped me through difficult patches in life and is always by my side. One of the greatest joys in my life comes from bringing joy to hers. To see that expressive smile on her face just fills me up with happiness.
She gets to join me on so many fun adventures and truly inspires us to enjoy the rainy days, mud puddles, and stop and smell the salty air. She earned her nickname, Pnwonderdog, and is now a lead content creator and promotes wonderful lives for all dogs over at @pnwonderdogs.
I am so thankful that we decided to adopt and rescue this sweet thing that just needed a chance. What I wrote here only scratches the surface of our time together and how her story has become a part of us – and to think it has only been a few short years so far. We are so excited for each day that we get to spend with her - she has changed our lives for the better immensely. More so than I ever could have imagined.