Walking home late one night, I was robbed at gunpoint and sexually assaulted in front of my apartment building. I was all of the things you’d expect: sad, devastated that this happened to me, frustrated with the legal system that puts women on the stand to recount their experiences over and over and prove that they are indeed special victims; and really, really scared to go out at night.
I’m from Southern California, where nighttime is magical. I love being out, watching the stars and the moon, feeling the cool air, just enjoying the world. And after the assault, my world was no longer a safe, happy place.
So I moved to a new, safer city; I took a self-defense class for women; and then one day, I got a dog. Or, more accurately, a very sweet, very close friend just happened to have an extra pup (she claimed that her children found it and brought it home, but they couldn’t keep it). So she brought the adorable brown lab mix with blue eyes to my house, and I tested him out for the weekend.
Sebastian Alexander Peters became part of my family, and, in true dog fashion, a best friend to my wife and me. Through the joys of puppy-hood (minus destroying the furniture!) I took Sebastian to doggy training classes, socialized him with other pups and humans, and, when we were both ready, we began walking the hills of our new city — at night.
Those were my favorite times with my dog. We roamed everywhere, talked to neighbors, investigated strange nighttime sounds, and we made friends with the other animals in town. We watched the stars and the moon, and as we bonded, I regained my peace of mind with the nighttime, and my heart slowly began to heal — all thanks to Sebastian.
December 1 marks the second year we’ll be without Sebastian. We miss him every single day, but he’ll always be in our hearts as our first puppy love and the dog that gave me back the night.