When You Give A Girl A Dog

When You Give A Girl A Dog

You're giving her a best friend.

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You're giving her a protector.

You're giving her the world.

I've grown up with dogs my whole life so they've always held a special place in my heart. There was Bailey, the chocolate lab my parents had when I was born. There was Molly, the black lab I had as a child. Then Lucy, our first rescue dalmatian. And finally, my main man, Charlie.

We adopted Charlie when he was only a puppy from a rescue group. He was a goofy, hyper pup who brought a lot of joy into our family. Lucy had a lot of cancer and eventually started having seizures which resulted in us putting her to sleep, so it took a while for us to get another dog. Charlie was what we needed to be complete.

He brings us so much laughter.

He brings so much love.

A couple of months ago he started having health troubles that we've somewhat concluded has to do with a disk or a nerve in his neck. He wasn't eating. He wasn't moving. He was in constant pain. I was terrified of what could possibly happen to my best friend. We still don't totally know what's going on, but we're able to manage his pain and his days are more good than bad.

May also happens to be National Pet Month.

National Pet Month is a celebration of the benefits that pets bring to people's lives - and vice versa. It is observed annually in the United States in May and during the month of April in the United Kingdom.

What's your best pet story?

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15 Ways Having A Puppy Will Prepare You For Parenthood

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We all love dogs. Even if you are a cat person, there is at least some small part of you that tears up when a dog dies on screen.

I'm a dog fanatic. I've wanted a dog of my own my entire life. My first dog was a beautiful German Shepherd named Cassie. We bonded immediately because that's easy to do when a dog vomits on you while you're in your car seat.

Our next family dog was (and still is) Reese. A tiny little peanut we call a "chewiener:" half wiener dog, half chihuahua. I begged my parents for this dog, promising up, back, and down that I would take care of her. That lasted one night because I slept through her whining to be let out to potty. I was useless as a seventh grader, ok?

So, this past August I turned 25. Ancient by most standards, let me tell you. I felt the pull of getting a puppy more than ever. I wanted a snuggly little pup to wake me up early, get me outside and active and something to be happy when I came home from work. I always thought my first dog would be a German Shepherd Lab mix, but somehow I ended up with a Golden Retriever. The most common dog, ever.

My coworker announced that her puppies had puppies. Seven adorable, fluffy, little bundles of love that I could not wait to meet. So, I just, "went to look," and wound up taking home the non-snuggliest, independent, laziest, funniest runt of the litter, Rory. She was a source of agonizing decision making, but in the almost three months I've had her, I've realized I didn't adopt a dog, I adopted a child.

Now, to you mothers out there who aren't happy that I'm comparing my dog to your human, let me get through my 15 points and then you can tell me how your day never has one of these 15 things happen.

1. I am constantly picking up after this dog.

If only Rory was this helpful. My afternoons consist of playing with her, then attempting to teach her to put the toys back in the basket. Which results in more toys everywhere and me picking them all up while she has a snack. Vicious cycle.

2. Potty training is a nightmare.

We don't even need to elaborate on this one. I think we can both agree.

3. When they do potty in the right place, you feel so proud.

When they poo in the right place, you better believe that we tell them how proud we are in hopes they will do it again and again.

4. Speaking of potty, you'll never pee alone again.

"Hi, what are you doing? Are you using the potty? Can we play fetch? Can I sniff you?" Close the door you say? Yes, because I like replacing doors after they are pawed at and scratched up...

5. My purse is bursting with treats.

You humans call them snacks. My little bundle of joy gets treats when she learns tricks. I have a never-ending supply, much like Mary Poppins with household items in her bag.

6. Cleaning with them around is a nightmare.

This is similar to number 1 but different in the way that every house needs cleaning. Sweeping, vacuuming, dusting and dishes to name a few. These are all things we have to do on a regular basis - except if you're a college student, you'll later learn what these things are. Sweeping is now impossible at my house. Replace the cat in that gif with a dog and you basically have what happens nightly at my house.

7. Dogs get sick.

I wasn't ready for was things like my dog getting pink eye and a runny nose. Really? I had no idea that they could get pink eye. The worst part is watching your little bundle of joy suffer.

8. The first one will either make you want another or make you want to die.

How many times have you babysat or watched friends' children and thought, "Wow, these guys really should have stopped after the first one?" Admit it. We have all thought it about a few children. This is also a phenomenon with pets. I got incredibly lucky to have the world's laziest puppy ever. She doesn't bark, whine or keep me up at night. This means that as badly as I want another puppy, I know I will end up with a demon child because that's just how it goes. Oh, but wait... look how cute they are playing together...

9. Silence is NEVER EVER GOLDEN.

Especially with a Golden. Have you ever stopped and said, "Ah, what a quiet afternoon...Wait...where is my child? What are they eating? What are they doing? Did they pee somewhere? Are they chewing on something they shouldn't be?" Now, honestly, as a parent, you can't say you haven't had those exact thoughts.

10. Making friends is awesome, but sharing is difficult.

We all know that one kid in the friend group who refuses to share. Animals are no different. If another dog gets Rory's beloved lion, she will not stop until she has it back. So, yeah, that's my kid. The non-sharer.

11. Other parents are THE WORST.

I don't want you to tell me how to train my dog or that my dog isn't a genius. Say it again, I dare you, and I'll show you 9,000 more pictures of my perfect princess.

12. You can't wait to dress them up for Halloween.

Whether you have a family theme or just want to dress them up for fun, it never gets old watching your child run around looking like a complete goof and not knowing.

13. Shopping has become all about them.

Shopping is no longer a fun thing you get to do for you. Now, you have all your money no longer going to cute shoes, but to treats and toys that your dog doesn't need, but you think they deserve.

14. Getting out of the house on time is now impossible.

In your mind, change the boy to a dog, and you have the exact picture of what my dog does every single morning. Granted, I was not the most punctual person before getting a dog, now I just have an excuse. I also now have so many things in my car I never thought I would. Gallons of water and dog bowls. Chew toys. Extra treats. Dog food, just in case. You get the picture.

15. Dropping them is what your nightmares are made of.

Are they ok? Are they having fun? Do they miss you? Are they getting enough hugs and treats while you're away? No matter how blissful it is to have them out of the house so you can sweep without them attached to your feet, leaving them never gets better.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Johnston

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To My First Puppy, I Miss You

I miss you every day.

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Just less than a week ago, I got the horrible news that my sweet boy, my first puppy ever, passed away. I was, and still am, completely heartbroken. It came completely out of nowhere and not even the vet really knows what happens. One second I'm celebrating taking my last final and finishing my freshman year of college, and the next I'm sobbing after hearing the news that my dog passed away.

We got my puppy, Steele, a little over two years ago, and I've never been more excited. I've always wanted a dog, but it just never seemed to happen. When my dad first told me and my sister we were getting a dog, more specifically a husky, we were beyond excited. We counted down the days until we could have him and I went to the airport to get him myself. He was so small, literally shaking in my arms after the plane ride. He was my puppy and I was so happy.

He seriously had such a personality, so goofy and silly. He wanted to be friends with my cat so badly, but she was not interested in the slightest. He was so friendly and always happy to see me. One of my favorite parts of visiting home from college was knowing I would be able to see him and he would be excited to see me.

In just the two short years that I knew Steele, he became part of our family. He literally became, as my dad says, our brother. I can't even fathom the thought that I'm actually never going to see him again. I'll never be able to hug his fluffy body or attempt to hold his "hand", which he absolutely hated.

It hasn't really hit me yet that he's gone. I haven't been able to build up the courage to even go to my dad's house yet because I know he won't be there and I'm not sure if I can handle that.

He wasn't even three years old, but I hope we were able to make him happy in the two and a half short years we had him.

I love you, Steele.

Ally O'Rourke

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