Almost a year ago, Molly and I decided it was time to think about getting a dog. Knowing there are so many pitbulls who need homes, we decided we would rescue a pitbull from the awesome Northeast Ohio rescue group Live Love Rescue. (I can’t say enough: They are completely great. Support them. If you live in the area, get your next dog from them. There are so many dogs — pitbulls, especially — in need of homes!)

Lola was five months old when Live Love Rescue got a hold of her. She was rescued with her siblings from a house in Columbus. Cops had arrested her “owner” in a drug bust of some kind, and when they saw five pups in a cage, fighting over food that was apparently just dumped on their heads from outside the cage, they called Animal Control. Animal Control didn’t want to euthanize these pups, so they began reaching out to rescue groups. None of the groups in Columbus could handle five pitbulls, so they reached out to Cleveland groups and LLR sent a volunteer to get the dogs.

Molly and I were early in our dog search. We wanted to meet some people from LLR and see what kinds of dogs they might have, so we took my daughter Rose to an adoption event LLR was having. We met lots of cute dogs. We played for a while with Lola’s brother Blue, who was really cute but far too “couch dog” for our tastes. We saw Lola’s sister Apple, who was sweet, but still not for us.

And then we saw Lola. Lola was not with her foster mom or dad like most other dogs were. She was too rambunctious for a leash. She was chained to a tree under a shade tent. She kept using her chain to nearly topple the tent. When volunteers let her play with other dogs, she was uncontrollable. She was within sight of a porta-potty (we were at an orchard), and every time somebody used the potty, she would potty-shame them, calling attention to them by barking. (I found this hilarious.) She was not a settled, composed dog.

Molly, Rose and I went inside the orchard store to discuss the dogs. We unanimously agreed we all liked Lola best. We wanted a high-energy dog, and Lola was most definitely that. We began the adoption process, and a few days later, we had Lola at our house.

At first she seemed unsure. She definitely did not know how to be socialized in a family of people. (And cats!) But she learned quickly. During her year with us, she has become a sweet, smart, funny, playful, obedient, helpful, loveable girl. We adore her. I cannot imagine life without her.

Below: Lola, (almost) a year with us, in pictures.