Who doesn’t love dogs? Growing up, I begged and begged for a dog of my own. Sure, we had dogs, but we never went looking for them. We found one* running around my family’s business. We loved each other, but I could tell he loved my dad just as much. I wanted my own dog. Not a puppy. A big, slobbery, furry dog was all I wanted. So best believe when I signed my first lease, the first thing I did was adopt a puppy. People who didn’t know me thought it was a terrible idea. People who knew me weren’t surprised at all.
It was hard. He was the biggest rascal puppy I have met to date. He wanted to be around me and my roommate all the time. He’d knock over my wine if I wasn’t playing with him. When I’d bake, he’d sneak onto the stovetop and steal 1 cookie at a time so I wouldn’t notice. One night, after about six months, I went to New Orleans and asked my roommates to keep eye. That MF chewed up my brand new pair of royal blue Jessica Simpson pumps! And yeah, Jessica Simpson pumps were out of budget when I was 19! Part of me believes it’s karma for being a hellion in my youth, but I would not want him any other way.
But… Five years later… He has been there for me. Can’t say I was the best mum. He held his bladder when I was too drunk to take him out. When I was a senior, someone tried to break into my house. Banging and trying to kick it down. Smokey lost his mind and scared them off. He will literally come sprinting from anywhere in the house if I start crying, hop in my lap, and lick until I laugh. He gives me licks after I feed him as a “thank you.” He shivers with joy when I return from a trip. He’s my (really terrible) running partner. He’s my best bud.
*Side Confession- this poor thing (Nesta Mojo) was about 15 lbs underweight, missing skin, and had a serious rope burn around his neck. Apparently when my mom took him to the vet, he had a chip in him, which means he had a home. We kept him. Not sorry at all!*
It made me develop a backbone.
Imagine this- you are all alone in the world. You are taken from your mom and dad and siblings. You can’t see or smell for a few weeks. And you have to potty outside… Having a living thing depend on you can get intense! But you’re going to have to develop that backbone sooner or later and man, did mine come in STRONG.
They teach you responsibility.
When all my other friends were staying out till 3 or not coming home at all, I had to be a big girl. No matter how tired, happy, or crunk I was, I had to go home.every.single.night. And if you know me at all, this was NOT easy. Not only do they need to go potty, they notice when you’re gone. Don’t be a dick.
You learn how to budget.
Puppies ain’t cheap. We’re talking hundreds of dollars worth of shots in the first few months. Two shots per year until they are 3 or so, then, yearly shots about 100-300 for the rest of their lives. You also have to pay for dog food.
They force you to create a schedule.
If you’re new around here, you might not understand how naturally free-spirited I am. If there are any ENFPs out there, you feel me on this. When they are young, you have to make sure to get them either outside or on the puppy-pad every 3-6 hours.
Keep in mind…
If you’re thinking about getting a puppy, pay attention to where you plan on living. Many dogs, referred to as “attack breeds” are not allowed on many apartment complexes. Pitbulls, German Shepherds, and Dobermans are almost never allowed. Out in San Diego, I even had issues with Smokey being part bloodhound.
Yes, you can get them registered as your “emotional support animal.” However, in many places, your dog has to pass the Good Canine Citizen Test. It’s not that easy!
If you want a puppy, you should NOT get one. If you want a dog, you should. They will live (HOPEFULLY!) 8-16 years. That is a serious commitment. I got Smokey at 19. I will hopefully (but realistically) have him until I am 30. YOU ARE NOT THE SAME PERSON AT 19 AS YOU ARE AT 30. Don’t get a puppy because you want a fluffy toy. Don’t get a puppy because your ex dumped you. Don’t get a puppy because you’re lonely. And please for the love of God, DON’T DO IT FOR THE GRAM
Did you have a pet in college? Would you change it if you could?