I Often Wonder What Thoughts Ramble Through My Dog’s Mind

I Often Wonder What Thoughts Ramble Through My Dog’s Mind

Does she think I'm crazy? .... Probably.

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I often wonder what thoughts run through my dog's mind. Is she content? Is she sad? Do I treat her well? Is she thinking about any of the same things as I?

I recently moved into a new house. My dog – Cheyenne – went from living with my parents to living with me. About a week after moving, I took Cheyenne back to my parent's house for a Christmas Day visit. On our way home, Cheyenne sat quietly in the front seat. She merely sat there and watched out the window. She watched cars go by. She occasionally glanced at me. All the while with a blank expression.

I couldn't help but wonder what she was thinking. Would she rather stay with my parents? She lived with them for 10 years, after all. Is she content living with me? I work a lot so I don't have as much time to walk her. I do my best to give her as much attention as she needs.

She doesn't always eat her dinner. She paces the house at night. She anxiously licks the fur off her leg. I do as much as I can to socialize her and maker her comfortable but I'm afraid it's not enough.

So when she was sitting quietly on the front seat that night, I couldn't help but wonder what she was thinking. And as much as I'd love if she could tell me, I'm also grateful she gives me silent companionship when I need her to listen. As long as she's happy, I don't need to know what she's thinking.

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5 Ways Impulsively Getting A Dog Saved My Mental Health

Those four paws are good for a lot more than just face kisses.

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Shortly before my husband and I officially moved out onto our own, he surprised me with a puppy in hand on the morning of our anniversary. Moving out, tackling college, and everything in between, I thought another huge responsibility was the last thing I needed. However, in reality, Oakley, the lab/Australian shepard/collie mix, was exactly what I needed to get back to "me."


He provides emotional support

One of the most obvious reasons is how much emotional support dogs, (and other respective animals) can provide. His paws have been accidentally stepped on, and he certainly isn't a fan of the forced flea/tick medication doses, but less than 30 seconds later, he is without fail immediately by my side again, tail wagging and ready for more kisses. Although he is not trained or certified as an ESA, it's without a doubt he has effectively (and unconsciously) combated random anxiety attacks or feelings of being alone.

He requires being cared for

You'll heavily judge every crazy fur mama, as did, I until you become one. Getting Oakley immediately got me consistently back on my feet and forced me to ask myself, "What does he need today?"Even simple, easy tasks like taking him out to run/go to the bathroom had me excited and forced me to find a motive in the day to day activities. I loved no longer having even the mere choice to be unproductive. Don't want to start your day? Well, Oakley needs his day started, so let's get moving.

He serves as protection

It's no surprise how far a dog's loyalty will go to protect their owner. For decades, specially trained dogs have had life-saving responsibilities assigned to them. Even being married, my husband and I's schedules vary significantly to where it is not uncommon for me to be alone. The slightest sound or shadow from outside our door immediately initiates barking. In the bathroom taking a shower? He's there. Knowing that Oakley is looking out, even when I get carried away with tasks like cooking dinner, always calms my nerves.

He's become something to look forward to

The nice thing about having Oakley is regardless of how my day goes, I know exactly how it is going to end. Whether I passed an exam with flying colors or got the lowest grade in the class, I know what waits for me when I open the door at home. After a long day, nothing resets my mood like walking into a face that is just as happy and excited to see me!

He encourages bonds with others

If you want your social interaction to sky rocket: get a puppy. No, I'm serious. You'll have people wanting to come over and visit "you" (let's be real… your puppy), like it's your last day on Earth. For me, this was exactly what I needed. Getting Oakley had family members constantly checking in to see how he was growing, learning, etc. Not only did this encourage more interactions with family and friends, but it also "livened" my husband and I's home life. Instead of the "normal" weekend nights consisting of Netflix and MarioKart, (which are enjoyable in their own respective ways), spending our nights playing Monkey in the Middle with our new four-legged friend has proven much more entertaining.

So ideally was it the right time to get a dog? Probably not. However, adding Oakley to my small little family combated anxiety and depression in ways I wouldn't have ever thought possible.

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What It's Really Like To Have A Dog In College

The challenges of pet-ownership on a student schedule will be difficult, but worth the rewards.

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This is Peppa. She's 20 pounds of pure angst, sass, and soft belly. The first day I took her home she was 4 pounds. She was so small and pure, my heart grew like the Grinch's on Christmas, but having a pet can be a little more complicated than man's best friend.

She whined all through the night for a month straight; it sounded exactly like a baby crying. I had to wear earplugs and take her out every two hours so she could go potty, then bring her back up so that she could whine even more.

Having a pet in college at all is no easy task. Dogs are especially difficult because they're so dependent on their owners.

Be prepared to wake up early. Be prepared to pick up poop, clean pee out of the carpet, and be prepared for the costs of damages your puppy will cause to your apartment if you aren't careful. There were days when my patience was close to cliff-diving, but her sweet little Peppa face always reminded me that it's worth it to have her around.

Also, be prepared to have a new best friend. This animal will depend on you as a protector. It will want to spend as much time with you as possible, so leaving it home alone for prolonged periods of time is not exactly ideal. I leave Peppa home alone a maximum of 4-5 hours at a time. If you have a busy schedule and can't make it back home for 8 hours at a time, it probably just isn't feasible at this moment in your life to adopt a dog.

The feeling of being responsible for Peppa is both amazing and high-stakes at the same time. There are days when I wish she could make my life a little easier, but life without her would be ever-so-boring. She brings me joy and everyone always stops to say hello to her on walks.

Yet despite the challenge, there is nothing more comforting than knowing that your dog is full of love for you.

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