The Just Love Project 017: Thanks, Einstein

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“He makes the bad days great and the best days perfect.”

Those adoring words belong to human Billy about his wire-haired dachshund, Einstein. Today, the love between the two is massive, but their story unfortunately begins at a moment of heartbreak.

After a long-term relationship came to an abrupt end, Billy had decided that once the dust settled, he’d adopt a dog. He did. Hours into the experience, he recognized it was a rash, void-filling decision – not a responsible, thoughtful one.

He brought the dog back to the shelter the next day. Equal parts dismayed and determined, Billy made a vow to the shelter’s staff, “I’m going to be a fantastic dog owner, but this is not the time. The dog needs a better home than I could give it right now.”

The shelter understood and thanked him for ultimately making the right decision.

Months later, the dust did settle. Billy kept his adoption radar open and came across a scrappy, sweet-eyed dachshund that’d been found wandering along the Texas-Mexico border. Billy once again had a strong gut feeling but the good kind this time.

“He looked like a Muppet, and I knew immediately – this is my dog.”

The shelter agreed.  For years prior, Billy’s preparation for doggy-dadhood included two clear frontrunner names for a girl or boy pup: Zelda and Yeezey, respectively. Not for this Muppet tho. With a ruffled white mohawk sitting atop his slender head, the answer seemed obvious – Einstein

Less than two years and a lifetime of lessons later, Einstein’s lived up to his name. Starting on day one. After a trip to the pet store led to Einstein wiggling free from his harness and darting towards a busy highway, lesson #1 was clear.

“He’s a wiener dog, and weird-shaped dogs need weird-shaped harnesses,” Billy says.

That day, the lesson for Einstein was also clear. “I gave him a little speech,” Billy remembers, “I told him ‘you’re gonna love me more than anything, because I’m gonna love you more than anything . . . so don’t ever do that again.’”

It worked.  

“He’s changed my life completely,” Billy says, “in too many ways to count.”

Einstein helped him figure out how to be comfortable at home again. How to relish Sunday breakfasts in the neighborhood. How tortilla chips can play a key role in overcoming irrational fears around the home. How the idea of inside jokes with dogs isn’t a joke at all. Even how being completely honest with yourself is always the right route, even when it means becoming the thing you claimed to hate.

“I always used to mock crazy dog people. But, I just didn’t realize how much I love dogs.”

The two have come a long way. Einstein traveled some 1,400 miles from the desert to a loving home in Chicago’s Logan Square. Billy is now miles from his brief but enlightening misstep in his first adoption experience.

It’s a perspective that was made even stronger when Billy & Einstein attended a tiny-dog racing event to raise money for that same shelter, where he encountered the same staff members the first-time around.

“I never thought they’d remember me, but I explained who I was, and they absolutely did,” Billy recalls.

Einstein was as happy as a clam, and it showed. Armed with his usual backpack of dog toys, supplies, and a relentlessly optimistic attitude, Billy was undoubtedly thriving in his new role of  ‘fantastic dog owner.’ Promise fulfilled.

“I’m a man of my word,” Billy says confidently.

As for the future and any potential new love interests, Billy has a new benchmark for the affection a creature could possibly show him.

“Any girl I meet, if they love me 20% as much as Einstein does, I’ll be happy. Anything more than that might be a little creepy, to be honest.”

Thanks, Einstein.

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