I had a conversation today with a friend who also recently acquired a new dog. Although our situations are apples and oranges—she adopted a very young puppy; I got a house-trained adult—we had very similar feelings about the idea of committing to these new members of our families.
The conversation made me think about the reasons—the real reasons—why I didn’t get a dog for so long. As people know, I’ve been saying basically since I moved out of the dorms how much I wanted a dog. But, looking back, I didn’t want the commitment. What does it mean to have a dog?
- It means I’ll never again sleep until 10 in the morning.
- It means that no matter how nasty the weather is outside, I don’t get to cuddle up and avoid the world.
- It means that if I have something going on after work, I need to swing home first and take him out.
- It means I can’t just take off for the weekend with no forethought about another being.
- It means cleaning up doggy landmines (poop) about once a day for the next 10-15 years. More often if you consider I also scoop the Cat’s litter box every day.
- It means that I may very well end up with fleas in my home at some point over the decade, not to mention muddy paws, annoying baths and the associated high pet deposits at apartment complexes.
- It means the risk of chewed carpet, furniture, shoes and (god forbid) walls.
And all of those things really, really suck.
- But it also means playing fetch and teaching tricks.
- It also means conversations with neighbors and smiles from strangers, pleas to pet the dog.
- It means snuggling up when it’s cold outside.
- It means long walks on nice days—and not on a treadmill! It’s a companion (and a bit of a safety net) to explore new paths and trails.
- It means puppy play dates with friends.
- It’s a copilot on those weekend trips, a copilot who helps me explore the world, think differently.
Getting a dog is a big commitment, not one to be taken lightly. It’s a lifestyle change, and not one you can pick up and drop whenever you feel like it. Someone once told me there’s never a right time to get a dog. I agree with that, but I also say that there are a lot of wrong times to get a dog.
I really believe this was not the wrong time to get my dragon. But even if it is, he’s part of my family now, and I’m committed.