Pretty much everyone I know has always wanted a dog (assuming there are no allergies or fears of them). Of course, I’m no different. Pretty much everyone in my family has at least had one dog in their life and I have had too many to count. Flash forward twenty years into the future and you can see that filter through into my fur babies now. Despite worries of being too stressed for a dog, I finally decided to get one and keep her at college with me as an Emotional Support Animal. I expected the stress, but what most people don’t tell you are all the nuances that come with raising a dog.
Let’s start with the obvious one: Dogs are too cute! My puppy was 13 weeks old when I got her and I don’t think I wanted to put her down one time in the first week of having her. I had never been more amazed and scared at the same time than in that exact moment that I realized she was relying completely on me to take care of her. Looking back on it, I see that people are just looking at everything puppies do with the world’s biggest rose-colored glasses. Why do you think Facebook is just full of puppies doing literally nothing? Don’t worry though, I’m not complaining about that! I’ll still be sharing each one, and just as shamelessly crying over how cute they are. But sometimes the cuteness is overwhelming. It is as if each moment that I am not seeing her do something, is being wasted.
Secondly, you become way too protective. Just as much as you don’t want to miss any moments, it’s almost as if you don’t actually want to see them either. Every trip, every fall, everything they do sends you into panic mode. I don’t even have the same fear for my life as I do for this beautiful four-legged creature in front of me. The puppy may just make a tiny noise and I am moving at unfathomable speeds in order to reach the source of potential pain.
This however, hasn’t changed with age at all yet; I once threatened my sister with harm if something were to happen to my dog while I was out with my fiancé. The first time I had to bring my dog into the vet for a real problem I was so worried. Soon after that, I adopted the mindset that I could do better; I could protect her better; I could prevent all types of harm before they could even materialize beyond the point of a thought. When you first get a dog you begin to take on everything, even an act of nature can be prevented if it means no harm will come to the dog.
As time goes on many people think that these feelings will pass, and am I here to tell you that you’re wrong. Sure, as time passes those feelings may dull down. Life begins to pick up a pace and routines are established. You may even go on a new adventure alone, but when the dust settles and you find the routine of your new adventure, you come to realize the constants in life. As we get older, so do our dogs and it’s almost as if the entire concept of mortality is so much more present when you’re staring into the eyes of your animal best friend than when you look at other people. Perhaps that sentiment is extreme and it’s just my dog mom side coming out, but really that’s exactly what it is. I may not have experienced motherhood and can’t sit and compare, but what people don’t tell you is that when you get a dog you’re getting all the ups and downs and emotions of taking care of a life. Especially for someone like me who throws his or her emotions into someone or something, getting a dog is like carving out a large part of your heart specifically for that beautiful animal. That means for every positive, for every little tail wag, nose kisses, happy bark, there are equally as many moments of fear.
Getting a dog means you have to love and loving means fear, and sometimes pain. It’s not as simple as taking really cute pics for Instagram and Facebook and thinking about how cute your baby is. When I got my dog I got immense love, unwavering trust, and a best friend all for nothing in return. For that I am thankful and am always ready to give my dog my life. So heck yes I’m a dog mom, and I’m proud of it.