My dog year and the transformation that followed

By Natasha Tynes

Those who know me know my story know about how 2019 was one of the most challenging years of my life, and how in a few hours, many things that I worked hard for just collapsed, and my projected success took a fatalist turn.

I’m not going to bore you with the details, and honestly, I don’t want to reopen the wounds; instead, I want to focus on the healing journey and how a black lab mix we named Fiona saved my sanity and put me on the right path.

“Don’t get a dog,” many said when I threw out the idea at the beginning of the pandemic year of 2020. “You already have three kids. Are you crazy?”

“You’ll end up doing all the work,” they told me. “Dogs need so much work.”

I did not listen, well, because stubbornness is one of my vices. I went ahead and gathered the family in our minivan, drove two hours and a half to Pennsylvania, and adopted a lab mix 4-month old dog from a rescue shelter (all the local shelters were out of dogs thanks to the pandemic!)

As soon as I put my eyes on her, I immediately knew she would be the one and that there would be no going back. Our family just grew. Fiona had just become part of the Tynes clan.

A year and many chewed shoes later, Fiona has sprouted into a 75-pound dog that makes people turn their heads at the sight of her. “Oh, she is so big, so beautiful.”

Aesthetics aside, Fiona has not only has brought me joy but has dramatically improved the quality of my life, a life that was briefly marred by unfortunate circumstances,

Here is how:

  • Getting fit: Fiona is what you call a high-energy dog, or to use a more politically correct term, she is “spirited,” requiring regular walks, averaging around three miles a day. And yes, the naysayers were right in this regard, as I ended up doing most of the work.

Getting a dog revamped my life. It gave me the chance to get fit, reflect and connect with others. The trifecta of mind, body, and soul and made me a better person. I now work as a project manager for a government contractor, run my side business that offers digital media services, and I have my own podcast! I’m more fulfilled, healthier and happier.

If you are struggling with a lousy pandemic year, or you want to understand the meaning of your existence, get a dog, you will fall in love, and it will change your life.

Natasha Tynes is the founder of Suburban Media Group. She is a veteran communications professional with over twenty years of digital communications experience. Tynes has led digital strategies at the World Bank Group and managed global media training programs at the International Center for Journalists. She is a regular contributor to many publications inside and outside the United States. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Elle Magazine, Nature Magazine, The Huffington Post, Esquire magazine, Aljazeera, and others. She has appeared on several national and international TV programs, including Larry King Live, PBS, Paula Zahn show, CBS’s Morning show, Scarborough Country, ABC News Live, BBC’s Up All night, among others.



Writer. Journalist. Words in @washingtonpost , @ElleUK , @esquire . I write about: ✍🏼 Writing 📲 Creator economy 🌍 Mideast

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Natasha Tynes

Writer. Journalist. Words in @washingtonpost , @ElleUK , @esquire . I write about: ✍🏼 Writing 📲 Creator economy 🌍 Mideast