Last July, my girlfriend and I got a dog from the local shelter. He was brought in from a kill shelter in Texas. Kill shelter sounds sadly contradictory. It’s like they are saying, “we got you… but don’t get too comfortable.” Anyway, the non-kill shelter got him out and we took him in. It has been almost a year since we got him and I learned a few things that I thought were worth sharing:
DO NOT COMPARE YOUR DOG TO A CHILD
I love our dog but he is nowhere near the bond between a parent and a child. Kids are birthed (some act like they were hatched) We essentially bought our dog. That also means that a dog is NOT comparable to an adopted child. Try to watch a parent talking to someone comparing a dog to having a child. Watch his or her face glaze over with pinch of disdain. You can abandon a dog. You cannot abandon a child. I mean you can, but Johnny Law does not look too kindly on it. Even though abandoned children do incredible things (Moses, Jesus, Steve Jobs) Either way, stop it.
BE AWARE THAT YOUR DOG WILL EAT YOU
It is so easy to believe that your dog loves you for you. That is not totally the case. Also, this is not a Blessed Union of Souls one hit wonder. Nobody will get that deep cut reference and I will be content with it. Your dog loves you because you feed it. If you were to die in your apartment with your dog, s/he will eat you when the time comes. It will be a while before they do but it will happen. Take solace in knowing, you will taste better than dog food.
YOU MUST SERVE YOUR PET
Nobody should own a pet if they have a full time job and cannot provide full time care. My mom wanted to get a dog while working full time but she lives alone and the dog would spend a lot of time by itself. You may like your home but if there aren’t activities for your pet, it can feel like a prison. Imagine if your apartment did not have a TV or the internet. Could you sit there and do nothing? Exactly.
BE THE LEADER OF THE PACK
Famed dog whisperer Cesar Millan’s constant catchphrase “you must be leader of the pack” is a real thing. My girlfriend feels that we are both the alphas but I know my dog knows different. As a result, he prefers her company more and I am okay with that. I would prefer that he acted proper with me but cuts loose with her. Discipline is what prevents your dog from acting up. I have so many friends whose dogs act like idiots. I hope they read this and ask me, “was that about me?”
ACCEPT THE DOG IS LOVED MORE
There was this viral video where some guy was asking people if they would sell their dog. No one said yes. Not one. It was hilarious. If my girlfriend had to save me or the dog, I know she would choose me. However, I would never hear the end of it about the dog that I would have preferred she chose the dog. Also, she would be pissed I got us into that situation. Accept you are second place. It is fine. As a result, you won’t be jealous when she gets back from Miami and wants to hold the dog instead of you (or whatever) Also, I am pretty sure my friends seeing my dog over seeing me. That part really stings.
These rules make pet ownership more realistic and as a result, you develop a better relationship with your pet. Your partner may also like you more. Did I miss anything? Leave a comment to tell me you read this.