5 Things I Learned as a Dog Owner
I've always been a dog lover - or, more specifically, a Golden Retriever lover. Growing up, our family dogs (except for one spunky Chocolate Lab who we loved just as much) were Goldens, and I knew I would have my own one day.
After living together for a few years, Adam one day, out of the blue, agreed to a Golden Retriever as an inside dog. He grew up on a farm, with outside dogs which he enjoyed, but needless to say he wasn't so keen on having one in the house. So, once I got that "yes," I knew we had to act fast.
Within a few days, we had found a litter and 7 weeks later we brought our little Chevy home. Suffice to say, life was never the same. I know life will change once again when our human baby arrives, but Chevy will always be our first baby. And, he really taught me a lot about life and, dare I say, motherhood. Here's what I learned.
1. Dogs have unique personalities
After growing up with Goldens, I was pretty sure I knew what to expect when we got Chevy. But, while I knew the basics, I was surprised by his unique characteristics and oddities. For example, our old family dog was super sweet, but extremely food motivated. She would eat whatever she could get her paws on, including a fully cooked Sunday roast that she stole right from the countertop. We all learned to keep our food out of her reach pretty quickly. Chevy, however, is a little better behaved when it comes to food. I'd love to take credit for that and say I trained him well. But, the truth is, while he loves his treats, he won't take food that isn't his unless we give him the go ahead. I'll count that as a win since it seems we scored a dog with manners.
He's also super sensitive. When we get home from work, he buries his head in our laps because he's so excited to see us. I never want to forget that trait about him because it really is the sweetest thing.
2. Dogs are impatient
Despite being good natured and mild mannered, Chevy, like most dogs, lacks patience. When he knows I'm getting ready to take him for a walk, for example, the whining is incredible. Luckily, dealing with your dog's impatience will improve your own patience - at least it did for me.
3. Dogs are intuitive
Case in point: When we put our coats on and we haven't told him he's coming with us, he trots right to his playpen (where he stays when we go out). He senses we're leaving and knows what to do without being told (most days, anyway)!
4. It's totally worth the messy house
I've always been somewhat anal about having a clean house. I'm not a complete neat freak, but I like things to be at least somewhat clean and tidy. Now, though, if I have dog fur on my clothing (97% of the time), it rolls off my back. Chevy comes in with dirty paws after I've mopped the floor? I'm breezy. The joy he brings to our household is worth the bit of extra mess he makes.
5. Dogs bring us closer together
Adam and I have always had a tight relationship, but after Chevy was added to the mix our bond strengthened even more. We had this overwhelming sense that we had to take care of him, and we were able to navigate that role well in order to "parent" him together, compromising when necessary. He really tied us together and made us feel like a family.
The same is true for our parents, who are the best when it comes to helping us take care of Chevy. Everybody loves him.
Chevy bear, I couldn't imagine life without you :).