My best friend Gary got his name from the Jimmy Fallon skit “EW” featured on the Tonight Show. Jimmy plays a 15 year-old girl named Sara and she absolutely cannot stand her step dad Gary. Every time Gary comes downstairs to check on the girls, Sara freaks out in frustration and embarrassment and screams at Gary to leave. “Get lost Gareh!!!”
I instantly fell in love with this skit because I love Jimmy Fallon and I love the way he screams “Gareh.”
Ever since I started college I always wanted a dog of my own. One day, when I still went to Gonzaga University, I found myself in a pet store. And that’s where I met my Gary.
Gary is a Yorkshire Terrier- weighing in at a whopping 9 pounds and is about 10 inches tall.
As a 21 year-old I had never experienced being a mother, but I treated Gary like my child. We literally did everything together. I had never experienced the love I felt for Gary ever before.
The year before I got Gary was the hardest year of my life, and his companionship was exactly what I needed in order to keep going in life. Within that year I had been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, I witnessed the passing of my Grandfather who was like a second dad to me, and my dad lost his job.
Since my dad lost his job, my mom’s salary as a high school teacher wasn’t going to be enough to continue my education at Gonzaga. I was left with a difficult decision; do I continue my education at Gonzaga and be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, or do I transfer? This was the hardest decision I’ve had to make in my life, and believe it or not, Gary helped me make my decision.
My junior year at Gonzaga I lived in a house with four other girls and they all loved Gary. But as time went on one of my roommates started to constantly get mad at me for little things that Gary did. He was a puppy, he definitely made mistakes, and I definitely wasn’t always a perfect dog owner, but he didn’t deserve the treatment that my roommate gave him. Gary’s presence eventually caused a big rift between my roommate and I.
The Big Decision
In October of 2014 I fell and split my head open and had to go to the ER. I was diagnosed with a severe concussion and I was not able to do anything. At this time, I was training for the Seattle Marathon, taking upper division PR classes, and working. Due to the severity of my concussion, all I was supposed to do was rest. I was no longer able to run or exercise, which is one of the only ways I am able to cope with my anxiety. I wasn’t supposed to stimulate my brain in any way- which included doing schoolwork or going to class. The only thing I was allowed to do was rest, and the only person who was truly there for me during this experience was Gary. I became extremely depressed during this time and Gary’s presence really was one of the only reasons I was able to get through it.
After a couple weeks my symptoms were not improving so I went back to the doctor. I was diagnosed with post concussion syndrome, which basically means that my symptoms were going to be persist longer than normal. Then after about three more weeks of these prolonged symptoms the doctor suspected I had internal bleeding, so I had to go in for an MRI. Thankfully, I just had a little bit of swelling in my brain but no internal bleeding or tumors.
At this point the friendship between my roommate and I had completely dissolved. This was the first falling out I had ever had with a friend and it was really tough for me. We had been best friends since freshman year of high school, but she was no longer the same person I knew and loved. Living with her became unbearable and her constant complaining about Gary was the final straw.
I knew I wanted to transfer schools and I knew that it was the right decision, but I just didn’t know where to transfer to. I decided to visit my friend who went to Central in January of 2015. I instantly fell in love with the school, the town, and the people. After visiting, I knew that I wanted to transfer to Central. But none of my friends at Gonzaga supported my decision and neither did my parents. They didn’t understand why I would want to transfer from a prestigious Jesuit school to a public university. So this made my decision even harder to make because I value the opinion of my friends and parents so much. I knew though that transferring would be the best decision for myself- for my education, for my monetary means, and for my own sanity.
During this time the only person, and yes I am referring to my dog as a person, who supported me was Gary. I might sound like a crazy dog lady- but Gary gave me the love and support that I needed in order to make this life-changing decision. Without him I wouldn’t have realized that Gonzaga was not the right environment for me. He helped me figure out who my true friends were, and I definitely wouldn’t have had the courage to transfer without him by my side.
A Family Man
Unfortunately, when I transferred to Central I wasn’t able to bring Gary with me because my landlord doesn’t allow pets. Gary lives at home with my parents and my two female Weiner dogs, Mickey and Malo ages 9 and 12. Gary could not be happier. Although we’re not together everyday like we used to be, he loves living at my parents house. He has brought a new wave of love into my parents house and I am so grateful for that. He brings out the youth in my two older dogs and he showers my parents with love and companionship.
I do miss Gary immensely and I know he misses me too, but I know he is happy that I have found true happiness at Central. Because of Gary, I was able to find where I am supposed to be in my life at the moment. I haven’t felt as happy and comfortable as I do at Central in years. I have made great relationships and friendships at Central and I like the PR program a lot better at Central than I did at Gonzaga.
When I graduate from Central Gary and I will be able to live together again and I couldn’t be more excited. He motivates me every day to continue to make decisions to ensure my own happiness regardless of what others may think. Gary taught me how to be mature and let go of things and people in my life that are no longer beneficial. Gary showed me what it means to love unconditionally which has liberated me from judgment and unhappiness.
Without Gary I would not be where I am today. He showed me how it felt to be truly happy again.