Having a dog isn’t easy, but dog lovers know that true love never is
By Leslie Phelan
Some of us grew up with animals, some of us think long and hard before adopting or buying a puppy and some of us bring one home on impulse. Having a pet is a big undertaking for anyone, but especially a single person who will have to care for the pet single-handedly—which I can attest will be as rewarding as it is at times frustrating. But however we came to acquire our new best friends, one thing is the same in every case: your life changes completely.
1. You schedule your life around their pee breaks
In the morning before work, even if your pantyhose are half on and you’ve hardly had a chance to down a yogurt before running out the door, the dog needs to be taken out and you’ll have to wait while he finds the perfect spot to do his business, lest he make a mess on your floors and carpets while you’re away.
2. You come home straight from work
When you have a dog waiting for you at home, you begin to feel a slight nagging guilt if you’re away for more than a few hours at a time, and a deep, devastating guilt if you’re away any longer than that. Bye bye, happy hour drinks and activities! Be warned – you aren’t the free agent you once were; you now have a plus one and that one has Marrowbone breath.
3. People start buying you breed-specific gifts
People can’t help but identify others by the company they choose. Got a pug? In comes the pug paraphernalia. You cannot get around this one, and you must accept these gifts graciously because the people who give them to you thought you would really, really love them. Be prepared for every corner of your home to hold evidence of your new dog lover life.
4. People start giving you gifts that are actually meant for your dog
Don’t be surprised when it’s your birthday and your friends are giving you presents from PetSmart. Gift cards to Topshop turn into gift cards to Timmie Doggie Outfitters. They think of you, they think of your love for your dog, they gift you accordingly.
5. There is dog hair. In, on, around, everything
You’ll need to keep a stash of lint rollers on deck.
6. You will hold warm poo in your hand
The absolute least glamorous side of pet-having: the poop & scoop. Welcome to the world of people who have little plastic bags in the pockets of every coat they own.
7. You’ll have to get in the habit of keeping things out of reach
When they are puppies, you’ll have to keep your shoes out of reach because they might chew them, and your coats and purses out of reach because they might pee on them. But for the entire time you have them, unless you have them impeccably trained not to eat things they shouldn’t, you’ll have to keep your food up high and away from them. It’s like having permanent toddlers in the house that are far more resourceful, mischievous, sprightly and hungry.
8. You’ll become acutely aware of the passing of time
I admit, the years all meld together since getting my pugs. Nevertheless, I am ever aware that time is indeed passing, and am reminded every time I look at their faces that were once so googly-eyed and puppyish, that are now still very googly-eyed but with the white hairs of age sprinkled all over their chins and eyebrows. They are getting older, and so am I.
9. You will look around your home and see more pictures of your dog than of your friends and family
Since your dog is obviously the most hilariously photogenic friend you will ever have, it stands to reason that their smiling face will stare at you from every corner of your abode, leaving little room for other smiling faces – unless they are posing with your furry top model.
10. Your heart will one day break
We don’t have to think about that day today, but it is an inevitability of life, and one we can begin adjusting ourselves to accept right now so that we are prepared the day it arrives. We get them when they are so young and full of life, and say goodbye to them one day when they are old and their time is up. At best, the average dog’s life expectancy is about a tenth as long as our own; they are like flowers that bloom, flower, begin to wilt and eventually pass on right before our eyes. We can choose to be sad and cry that it is unfair, or we can choose to see that the beauty of their life and their love for us lies in the fact that it is all so preciously temporary. So enjoy them! Be the person you decided you wanted to be when you decided to bring them home. Go for that run with them, even in the rain, even if it means you’ll have to shampoo the mud from their fur all over again.
Having a pet is never a convenient thing, but seriously – name one time that true love ever was.