The Just Love Project 009: A Six-Legged Journey into the Unknown

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Meet Travis. Or ‘Muzzy’ as those who know him best might call him.

Like dog nicknames often seem to, Muzzy sits in that sweet spot between “it’s just perfect for him,” and “I actually have no idea where it came from.” When then Travis-less Lindsey Gruber moved to Chicago in 2016, bouts of anxiety and homesickness sat in that same spot. Very real but not always easy to put words to.

“I would come home from work and have a panic attack because I was alone. I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Lindsey recalls.

She hopped online in search of advice on treating anxiety. It didn’t take long to arrive at a common home remedy: Dogs. Even the idea itself was a welcomed wave of something familiar. 

Lindsey grew up with dogs and always wanted her own. So she took to Pet Finder, and in her words “mostly pretended I hadn’t already made up my mind about it.”

The pup-soon-to-be-known-as Travis was pictured in a bow-tie. “They just told me he was 2-years-old, in need of a new home and was going to be at an adoption event in the suburbs on June 10th.”

“What do I do next?” Lindsey asked the event staff, after meeting Travis for the first time.  

“Walk around and meet the other dogs.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

Some more sniffing, belly scratching, a leash, collar, and name tag later – Travis was welcomed into his new home in the big city. Sure, there may have been some sidewalk standoffs with a mailbox or two. And some weary walks around the block. And a couple of Harry Potter books turned into slobbery confetti. But what started as some anxiety towards his new environment quickly gave way to a sense of confidence that was contagious.

This past November, Lindsey and Travis came out to Montrose Dog Beach for a special event Mutt Jackson hosted with Saltsox and Dark Matter Coffee. As conversation gathered around a table, Travis wasted no time making his presence known, planting himself atop it in a single bound and a delighted expression as if to say, ‘you guys all saw that, right?’

“I’ll never forget that,” she says, “he had just come a long way in a short amount of time.”

So had Lindsey. Uncertain weekends were replaced with warm days under the sun at Montrose Dog Beach. The once unfamiliar city was now filled with familiar, friendly faces who shared the same love for their dogs.

“It was an instant game changer. You realize quickly how much you have in common with people if you put yourself out there. I think Travis was 100% the best treatment choice that I could have made.”

“I think I’ll go find a table to jump on,” Lindsey says confidently. Sometimes the words do come easily.

Lindsey and Travis’ story is part of Mutt Jackson’s THE JUST LOVE PROJECT – our blog series dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary bonds that exist between humans and their dogs. Every Wednesday, we’ll be sharing a new piece – so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss an installment! And, if you or someone you know think that you have a tale to tell, please shoot us an email at ILuvMutts@MuttJackson.com – we’d love to hear from you!