One Year of Mekko!


A year ago today, I walked into an adoption van on Atlantic Avenue on a whim and came out with a dog. It wasn’t really anything we’d planned aside from vague “someday” musings, and we never had any expectations that we’d end up with a Pit Bull. But all of a sudden, that day, it was real. All of a sudden, we were responsible for a life. All of a sudden, we had a squirmy, cuddly, insane bundle of muscle, fur, and a set of jaws that I’ll admit to finding a little intimidating.

After the forms had been completed and the leash was handed over to us, I naively asked the rescue worker if he knew her birthday. “Today,” he responded.
“Really?” I replied gullibly.
“It is now,” he said.

So we went with it. If Mekko was 2 when we got her (though I think she was a little older), then today she is 3. And she’s been with us a year. Madness.

Pit Bulls are challenging dogs, and Mekko is no exception. They’re wonderful dogs, too—fiercely loyal, disconcertingly intelligent, kind, and more empathetic than most people. Pit Bulls just have a certain spirit about them, one that allows them to bounce back from whatever bad they’ve experienced and accept all the good that can be. We have no real idea what Mekko’s past was like—only that she was an “owner surrender” to the ASPCA when she was around a year old—but you’d never know that she’s been anything but loved and cared for and treated well. It’s remarkable and—I dare say—pretty inspiring.

Mekko is a great dog. She’s kind and cute and curious, a little anxious and a lot of crazy. She keeps us on our toes, makes us beam with pride, frustrates us, and makes us laugh everyday. She’s perennially happy and the best little spoon I’ve ever had. But mostly, she’s the thing that turned us from a fledgling couple trying to figure it all out into a family. And that makes me really, really happy.

Happy Birthday to my favorite Itty Bitty Pretty Pittie Baby.

If you are in the NYC area and looking to adopt a dog, please consider Sean Casey Animal Rescue. And if you’re in the giving spirit, please consider donating to help aid their rescue efforts.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 1.28.13
    Ilenia said:

    happy birthday mekko! x

  2. 1.28.13

    Happy birthday, Mekko! I love you. xx

  3. 1.28.13
    susan said:

    dammit. I *knew* I shouldn’t have read this at work. Here I am at my desk trying to hide the fact that I’m crying. Happy birthday to a wonderful dog. I LOVE the pic of her on the 5th row, second column. What a love.

  4. 1.28.13
    Beth said:

    Happy gotcha day Mekko!

  5. 1.28.13
    Jamie B. said:

    Mekko! Happy birthday! Today is also the day I finally get to bring home my new baby, a pretty kitty from a rescue group. (Poor sweetie had kittens at age 7 months – Teen Mom! – so I had to wait until they were all adopted and she was spayed.) I guess that makes today her birthday too. Birthday buddies! :)

  6. 1.28.13
    Meg said:

    Mekko, Mekko, Mekko! What a sweetie! Happy Birthday to you, you little cutie!

  7. 1.28.13
    Annika said:

    Yay for Mekko!
    Beautiful pictures, the love shines though! :)
    I’ve just spent the first week with a new addition to our family, baby-cat Hugo, I wish everyone got to spend some time with a tiny animal, the feeling is so great…

  8. 1.28.13
    kay* said:

    dogs are the bestest friends ever. happy happy birthday to mekko!

  9. 1.28.13
    Jill said:

    Mekko! Happy birthday! Lots of treats and snorgling to you today!

  10. 1.28.13

    Happy Birthday to Mekko! Long distance, virtual kisses!

  11. 1.28.13

    Happy Birthday Mekko!! Pit bulls are the best – sooooo loving and sweet, and the only thing they want is to please you and love you.

  12. 1.28.13
    bluelaugh said:

    Happy Birthday. The thing I would like to kno is how you keep your place dog friendly but yet maintain that classics style of the apartment? Do you find yourself cleaning the place all the time because of dog realated things like hair? What is the balance?

    • 1.29.13
      Daniel said:

      Ha! Well, the dogs are allowed EVERYWHERE, so it’s really important to us that our house isn’t too fussy or precious. Neither of the dogs shed very much at all, so I don’t think I clean much more than a normal person. It helps that pretty much everything we own can just be thrown in the wash (like our duvet cover and couch cushion covers), so keeping stuff clean doesn’t become a huge hassle. Honestly, though, I’m much more likely to cause a mess than my dogs are…

  13. 1.28.13
    Alice said:

    Ohh what a sweetie… now I’m all teary eyed! Happy happy birthday x

  14. 1.28.13

    she is gorgeous – stunning portraits of her
    there’s nothing better than a life with dog(s)
    happy birthday Mekko xo Sam & Winnie D

  15. 1.28.13
    Gillianne said:

    Awww, gee…. Beautiful face, beautiful spirit shining through. Happy birthday, Mekko. Here’s a sweet animal pals story you might like–tired old hound dog and orphaned orangutan:

  16. 1.28.13
    VickyA said:

    Happy Birthday Meeko and congrats to you both for finding it in your heart to adopt.I’m a cat person (I have 3 former strays) and talk about family. Cat fights and all.I’m so glad they came to me.

  17. 1.28.13
    Christie said:

    Wow! Happy Birthday Mekko!(Also, I read that and thought “wow! it’s been a year already?”. Your blog is too interesting. Subconsciously, I feel like I know you. It’s probably not good.) Anyway, congratulations on a year of awesome!

  18. 1.28.13
    LP said:

    dogs = love love love. Happiest Birthday, Mekko!

  19. 1.28.13
    Jamje said:

    Happy Birthday Mekko — Your adorbs face makes me act stupid and desperate for a dog :)

    Like Christie, I too thought, “Waitwhat–it’s been over a year since I started reading Daniel’s blog? When did this happen?!?” I love your blog — wonderful writing style, amazing design style and oh-so-handy (in an apartment, no less) — thank you for sharing!

  20. 1.28.13
    Adriana said:

    Wow, I was literally just reading your original adoption post the other night. It’s one of my favorites. The image in my mind of her throwing her arms around you is so touching and awesome. So glad for all of you that you followed your heart. Here’s to many more years of love and fur everywhere!

  21. 1.28.13
    terreur said:

    *true story* i was just about to leave a comment stating how wonderful & funny dogs are when mine stepped on my power cord, shutting off my computer. they’re also dumb at times. anyway!

    congratulations on your first year with your dog! your story with Mekko is so inspiring. I can totally relate to the challenges that come with adopting an adult dog that already has, ahem, character. On the other hand, they’re such great companions & they’re hilarious! I had no idea until i lived with one full-time. since i “met” Mekko last year on your blog, I’ve become more interested in pit-bulls and I plan on adopting a rescue as soon as I’m “allowed” another pet. Not until our four-legged girl behaves a bit better though.

  22. 1.28.13
    Jo said:


    Happy Rebirthday, Mekko! I am so glad you guys found each other.

  23. 1.28.13
    Joy said:

    Happy birthday, Mekko! Congrats on your beautiful, loving family.

    As for Sean Casey Animal Rescue, I am so happy to see your shout-out in this post. They do *amazing* work and real rescues. We got our cat there, and they take on animals that are considered beyond rehabilitation, spending years working with them. Three cheers for Sean Casey!

  24. 1.28.13
    Sara said:

    Absolutely terrific! Happy Birthday Mekko! I know the love of a rescued pup and it is the most wonderful love indeed. She is one lucky girl, but you two are as well, right? It’s so wonderful you found each other.

  25. 1.28.13
    Nancy said:

    Happy Bday Mekko baby!

  26. 1.28.13

    happy birthday to your pup! aren’t animals amazing… without even a word they can just reach into your life, grab hold of your heart and make you feel something you never thought possible for a bundle of fur.

    we met our little cat audrey when she was just two weeks old and had been abandoned on the vet’s doorstep. now i can’t even imagine our life without this little heartbeat.

    i wish you all many more happy birthdays with your animals.


  27. 1.28.13
    Ali said:

    I’ll admit that your posts about Mekko have changed my opinions of Pit Bulls. She’s a gorgeous dog and is lucky to have fallen into a great family.

    I adopted a Cocker Spaniel 5 1/2 years ago… a month after I moved to South Korea. Like you, it wasn’t planned. I went to the shelter to walk some dogs and there she was. I knew as soon as I saw her that I was done for. She was approximately 4 when I adopted her and she has brought so much joy to my life. I love, love, love her.

  28. 1.28.13
    Keith said:

    That’s one merry Mekko. (Ha! See what I did there?)

    Best to you all from Chicago.

  29. 1.28.13
    Christa said:

    Awwww, I still remember that first post about Mekko. DOG DOG DOG DOG DOG! It was so funny and sweet and as a dog owner I completely relate. Kisses to Mekko and Linus too.

  30. 1.29.13
    Farah said:

    Happy birthday, sweet Mekko! :) Transatlantic kisses from me, Tina, and Bagel!

  31. 1.29.13
    Luna said:

    Joyeux anniversaire Mekko!

  32. 1.29.13
    Jack said:

    Wow! Seems like we were all reading about Mekko’s arrival just last week, really goes to show how time flies! Happy Birthday Mekko!

  33. 1.29.13
    Judy said:

    Happy Birthday Lucky dog, lucky to be so well-loved.

  34. 1.29.13
    Tina said:

    Happy Birthday Mekko!
    This is a great post about the unyielding love and affection that Pit Bulls give their family ( I won’t say owners, because seriously? They own us). Every person that has had the luck of being owned by a Pit Bull feels exactly the same that you do.
    I foster a cuddly, loyal, scarily fierce about walks Pit Bull, Ariel. She literally is the love of my life. She was 5 when I picked her up, and only knew the basic commands, er, rather she only knew sit. Within a week, she mastered down, paw, bark, and started running on a treadmill. It occurred to me that in her former life she was never given these challenges, and was just left to sit around inside a house ( or left in a backyard). This girl flourished with all the new things she was doing. She became a whole new dog, a better Ariel. It is those types of changes, however slight, that makes my heart gush about Pit Bulls. They are SO freaking resilient, and we could learn a thing or two about letting go of the past, and embracing the future full force.

    • 2.8.13
      Claire said:


      Your comment made me cry! I am a huge lover of pit bulls after my family adopted a son+mother 6 years ago. They are the most amazing dogs and the amount of love they have brought into our lives could never be quantified.
      My husband and I are rescuing a 5 year old pittie girl next week and reading about your sweet Ariel reminded me of our situation. We have no idea what her past was like, but the fact that she ended up on death row in a high kill California shelter can never be a good sign. I can’t wait to meet her and help her blossom into her best self! I just want to tell her, “only good days from now on…” Thank you for sharing your sweet story and I’m sending lots of love to Ariel!

  35. 1.29.13
    Maureen said:


    The AT 2013 Homies has started. I noticed that Max posted last year’s winners, and your blog was not listed.

    • 1.29.13
      Daniel said:

      Hi Maureen! That’s because I didn’t win! A blog called Bower Power did. (I came in first in the semi-finals round.)

      Maybe this year! haha.

  36. 1.29.13

    What a touching story. I just blogged about adopting my dog. We got her just one week before you got Mekko. You can read about it here

  37. 1.29.13
    Jenny said:

    I can’t believe it’s been a whole year! Seriously, it just seems like you got her a few months ago. Nuts! Happy Birthday Mekko!!

  38. 1.29.13
    Emily H said:

    Happy Birthday Mekko! Love this post, very well said – dogs turn even the happiest of couples into a true family. I’m happy you guys found her and vice versa :)

  39. 1.29.13
    Lourdes said:

    Oh my gosh, I think we may have seen Mekko before he joined your family! My husband and I were walking home from Trader Joe’s and walked by the adoption van (it had big, showcase like windows, unlike most adoption vans that are more school-bus-style). There were a lot of beautiful dogs there and being pit owners ourselves, we were admiring a couple of pits/pit mixes. They are the most loving, loyal dogs and yes, they are the best snugglers.

    Happy Birthday, Mekko! I knew you when (maybe), before you were a mega doggie celebrity! :)

    • 1.31.13
      Daniel said:

      That’s so crazy, Lourdes! You could be right!

  40. 1.29.13
    Galahad and Yvaine said:


  41. 1.29.13
    Charlotte said:

    Happy birthday, Mekko! We love you!

  42. 1.29.13
    sherri said:

    Your dog knows how much she is loved, seriously, just look at her face when she is being hugged.
    You guys have done a wonderful thing.

  43. 1.29.13
    Lilly said:

    Mekko’s coat looks beautiful, easy to tell he is well loved and cared for. Happy Birthday. boy!

  44. 1.29.13
    nicolezh said:

    Happy Birthday Miss Mekko!

  45. 1.29.13

    She is always so gorgeous! I always love seeing photos of her and how you are always sneaking photos of her into even non-Mekko related posts. I never expected to end up with a pit bull either, but they really are such amazing dogs. Congrats!

  46. 1.30.13
    Erin O'Grady said:

    You guys are too cute and gorgeous for words – Happy Birthday Mekko xx

  47. 1.30.13
    Ali said:

    you guys are awesome! happy birthday Mekko!

  48. 1.30.13
    Juliet said:

    I’ve got something in my eye. (sniff sniff) What a beautiful celebration of the love that is a pitbull! Your family is adorable, Daniel, and I am so happy for you. Thank you for rescuing Mekko and promoting animal rescue. We have two pitbulls, and the female one is a little anxious too, but she is an amazing snuggler. In fact, I’d call her an aggressive snuggler. Her nickname is “snuggle rhino.” XOXO

  49. 1.30.13
    Paul said:


    Has your sex life diminish after bringing the dogs into your bed? This happen to me and my boyfriend and sometimes I resent it. However, I can’t bear the idea ok not sleeping with my beautiful dachshund in the middle of us.

  50. 1.30.13
    Juliska said:

    Happy birthday, Mekko! Like everyone else, I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since you brought her home. Lovely pictures, all of them. My favorite is the last one, in which they both appear to be saving you from frostbite! If you or Max ever need yet another side job, I suggest pet photography.

  51. 1.31.13
    CindyE said:

    Hi, This post just warms my heart – what a lucky. pretty girl is Mekko – I wish all dogs could have such a happy home and be so loved.

  52. 1.31.13

    Is your other dog a yorkie poo? I have been on the fence about rescuing vs. purchasing a pure bred. This post has made my decision much easier. Thanks for posting!

    • 1.31.13
      Daniel said:

      We think he’s a maltese/poodle cross (maybe), but we really don’t know…he was a stray and all little white dogs look more or less the same to me!

      And yes, you should absolutely adopt! It’s a very gratifying experience, and there are so many dogs in need. (plus, you don’t necessarily have to choose between rescuing and purebreds! There are MANY breed-specific rescues out there, and plenty of purebred dogs show up at shelters as well.)

    • 2.8.13
      Claire said:

      Please strongly consider rescuing! allows you to search by breed. A friend told me that he had to get a Golden Retriever from a breeder because they are such an “in-demand” breed. However, a quick search on petfinder yielded ~1700 Golden Retriever purebreds and mixes of all ages for rescue. So many people think of dogs, esp. purebreds as accessories that can be discarded at will. They deserve to be rescued. Thank you!

  53. 1.31.13
    Tess said:

    Meeko is adorable,but I’d love to kidnap the lil furball (the best before and after EVER). I have a rescue, that I got as a Chihuahua mix, and ended up being a Rat Terrier. Lots of doggie sharp like needles fur everywhere. Do you guys have a routine for dog fur removal?

    • 2.4.13
      Daniel said:

      No real routine, no…Linus doesn’t really shed at all and Mekko only sheds a little bit, so all we really do is routine sweeping/vacuuming to keep everything in check. We have Dyson, which has been awesome!

  54. 1.31.13
    Anna said:

    When I picked Sylvie out at the pound, I didn’t know that “Staffordshire Terrier,” which was what was written on her cage, is actually code for “Pit Bull.” We had three young sons in the house at the time and friends of ours were a little freaked when they learned we had adopted a pit. But here we are 11 years later, she’s the only chick left in the nest, and is widely adored by all her know her.

  55. 2.1.13
    Melissa said:

    Hi, Daniel. Happy Birthday to Mekko…she is beautiful! About Linus. I am pretty certain he is a Bichon Frise…if not pure Bichon then maybe a Bichon/Poodle mix. I have a Bichon and work in Bichon rescue. The spots on his belly tell the tale!

  56. 2.1.13
    Patt said:

    Happy Birthday Mekko!!!

  57. 2.2.13
    Monica said:

    A few days late, but none the less a very Happy Birthday to Mekko! Love the photos.

  58. 2.2.13
    Sam said:

    Happy Gotcha Day, Mekko!


  59. 2.3.13
    Sophie C. said:

    You’ve got a beautiful family. I love to see your stories, DIYs and pictures…Thanks (from France) for sharing all this stuff with your readers :)

  60. 2.3.13
    Stephanie said:

    I can’t believe it has been a year! I loved that first post and the love that poured from it. Mekko is a lucky dog! And Linus too!

    Dog Dog Dog Dog Dog!!

  61. 2.4.13

    Happy Birthday! We love rescue dogs. Our very own Husky Go-Go (yes named by our young children) is a great dog, and we adopted her last year around Thanksgiving. All dogs just need some real love, and they’re usually terrific pets. Thank you for recommended adopting pets rather than buying them from a breeder. Also, love the name! Does she have a Marimekko print dog bed? I’ve seen them, and they are very cute!

  62. 2.4.13
    Dusa said:

    And sorry, Mekko, I just want to be that ‘aunt’ that flaps those lil jowly lips.

  63. 2.4.13
    Elizabeth said:

    I fell in love with a pit bull a year ago last month. A break up prevents me from seeing him but this post made me laugh/cry/smile and I thank you for that. Happy birthday to Mekko and happy anniversary to the beginning of your official family. I love this blog and just voted for you on Apartment Therapy. <3

  64. 2.5.13
    Rachael said:

    I was linked to your blog from a facebook post by plenty of pitbulls, a rescue group in FLA. Your original adoption post just made my day. Mekko looks to be a pit/boxer mix and I have one of those too. =) Thanks for adopting her, and thanks for sharing her story.

    Incidentally, I’m loving your blog, just in general.

  65. 2.5.13

    One of our friends has a pit bull and shes 16 or 17 this year- what wonderful companions those dogs are!

  66. 2.5.13
    Rebecca said:

    Wow! The first day that I happen onto your blog, and I see a wonderful pit bull. Pits won my heart long ago, and it is always great when they are shown in a positive way. Pits are great family pets, and perhaps someone seeing Mekko fitting in your family so nicely will be encouraged to adopt a pit when looking for a pet. May you have many more years together!

  67. 2.6.13
    Beth said:

    Happy birthday to your sweet Mekko.
    Sean Casey Rescue is an awesome place.

  68. 2.7.13
    Carrie said:

    I cannot believe it has been a year! I remember the post you made about adopting her and how giddy I was that someone I liked (even though you don’t know me from Adam I still really like you!) and who had a voice adopted a pittie!
    This “Pit Bulls are challenging dogs, and Mekko is no exception. They’re wonderful dogs, too—fiercely loyal, disconcertingly intelligent, kind, and more empathetic than most people. Pit Bulls just have a certain spirit about them, one that allows them to bounce back from whatever bad they’ve experienced and accept all the good that can be. We have no real idea what Mekko’s past was like—only that she was an “owner surrender” to the ASPCA when she was around a year old—but you’d never know that she’s been anything but loved and cared for and treated well. It’s remarkable and—I dare say—pretty inspiring.” couldn’t be more true. I know a little bit of my Django’s past, know that someone found him in a dumpster (although he could jump over the moon so it wouldn’t surprise me if he launched himself into that dumpster), know that when he found us he was soaking wet, covered in ticks and his bowl movements were just gravel (TMI? Sorry. It’s the harsh reality.). I was a little intimidated at the idea of having a pit when I already had an akita mix (also considered an “aggressive” dog) but never was I scared of him. He showed me what pits are. He is my son, my best friend, my little stalker, my snuggle bug. He is light and laughter and love. He is a challenge yes, and pits are high energy and that isn’t for everybody. But never have I been more enveloped in love. My other dog, Leila, she loves me, she is a good girl, she is my baby too. But Django worships the ground my feet walk on. And he loves everyone that way. Wholeheartedly. I try to be more like him everyday.
    I’m so glad you rescued Mekko. And so glad she made you a family!

    • 2.8.13
      Daniel said:

      Aw, this description of little Django is so perfect, and so much like Mekko! Thank you for taking him into your home and saving him!!

      (Mekko’s vertical leap is also INSANE. Girl can clear couches, coffee tables…it’s madness.)

    • 2.23.13
      Carrie said:

      Truth be told he saved me. He and Leila were my motivation to get out of a very dark place.

      Pretty sure Django can and will jump over the house one day….

  69. 2.8.13
    ramona said:

    Did you know that Pitbulls used to be babysitters?

    • 2.8.13
      Daniel said:

      Yes, I did know about the Nanny Dog thing, but I’ve never seen so many fun pictures! Thanks for the link!

  70. 2.9.13
    Janet said:

    Congratulations to you all. Well done for giving a needy dog a loving home. Our first rescue also helped to consolidate us from being a couple into a family. Shadow was a 9 year old lab x pointer when he joined us. What a difference a dog makes. :D We’ve had 3 others over the years – each left us with treasured memories and no small amount of hair to vacuum. A fair price for all the love they gave.

  71. 2.9.13
    Shannon said:

    BLESS you both for rescuing this sweetheart! Have two rescue dogs myself and just went to an event with my mom today so she could adopt another hound. So many dogs, so many homes needed. Glad to see one NY pittie found the right couple. :)

  72. 2.11.13
    Sadie said:

    Love that you have an adopted pittie (I’m the proud owner of two!) It’s great to find other blogs that proudly represent rescue dogs, and show the real personalities of pit bulls, thanks for that :)

    ps-here are my girls:

  73. 2.13.13
    Daphne said:

    I know I jsut commented on another post, but the fact you rescued this amazing dog it wonderful. We adopted our staffordshire bull terrier mix from Battersea here in London. Their personalities are like no other, she is my big fur baby and not a day passes when she isn’t doing something funny and ridiculous. If you are interested she is on my instagram daphne_ldn.

    Whenver I come across other rescuers it makes my heart sing, x

  74. 2.22.13
    Inga said:

    Yay, what a totally unusual and cool name for a dog! Not sure you are aware of the fact that ‘mekko’ in Finnish means ‘a dress’? :)

    • 2.22.13
      Daniel said:

      Yes, we are! We originally chose it based on a shortened version of Marimekko, and then someone told us what it meant! So appropriate for our very ladylike beast :)

  75. 3.27.13
    trinidad said:

    i cried. i hope you’re happy
    i know how it feels. we also went from a young couple trying to figure it out, to a family when we adopted our cat kika
    kika, sadly, is no longer with us, but one day, out of nowhere, a dog that belonged to no one in the hood, decided to adopt us, and nina is now with us
    big hug to the four of you :)

  76. 4.17.13
    Lynn said:

    I am new to Pinterest. You are the first Pitbull lover that I saw. They are amazing dogs! I have two- Diesel- a 95lb lover that I adopted two years ago when he was two yrs old and Belle- a 55lb lady that I adopted three weeks ago- she is three. They are both the biggest and most loving dogs that I have ever had. Thank you for your story!