Senior Column: How I Learned the Importance Of the Joys of Man’s Best Friend

by Liam Kennedy ’19

I had such a hard life growing up. I never had a childhood dog. Instead, I had a cat that lived until it was 19, whose bitterness only grew as it got older. Sure, it was nice having a pet and it occasionally allowed me to lay my eyes upon it, but all my life I only wanted one single thing: a dog. Well, maybe not only one thing, but a dog was pretty high up on the list. As I saw my friends talking about their dogs, I couldn’t help but feel left out. However, everything changed that one fateful day: my birth.

Ok, let’s get this straight. No, I did not lie by saying I grew up without a dog. My birth caused me to get a dog. Moreover, a condition of my birth directly (or indirectly) resulted in me getting a dog in the future. I was born with a condition called pectus excavatum that caused my sternum to curve inwards and create a concave shape. As you can imagine, this ended up being fairly uncomfortable, so during the summer after my freshman year, I had surgery to push my chest back out.

Not to worry, I went through the surgery just fine. In my groggy state after surgery, my mom mentioned a possibility of finally getting a puppy, never expecting for me to actually remember. I can’t remember a single thing from that time except for that simple utterance of my mother’s. I held her to her word. As soon as I was physically able, we went to as many adoption events as we could and made a few visits to the shelter. Eventually, we decided on our dog, Taffy, who is a Dorgi (half Dachshund, half Corgi).

Taffy stands at a towering one foot and weighs an astounding 25 pounds. Despite her territorial behavior, devotion to food, and idolization of my mom, she brings joy and laughter to my family on a daily basis, all thanks to an inverted sternum