A new dog brings with it a lot of learning, love, and laughter. And also hair… So, so much hair.
You will call your dog by eight thousand different names, none of which is actually engraved on his ID tag.
It is a well-known fact that dogs can only understand English when it’s spoken in a high-pitched, ridiculous voice (ideally paired with absurd facial expressions).
You swore to your parents that you would help. This was a lie.
On your clothes. On your food. In your eyes. You will go from shock to disgust to eventual, grudging acceptance.
This item will be chosen very deliberately and destroyed beyond salvation. The dog will be unapologetic.
If you get a dog from a breeder, the rescue crew will judge you. If you get a rescue, the breeder crew will judge you for assuming you’re judging them. Some dog owners will judge your use of the term “dog owner”. You cannot escape it.
These strange and illogical people are somehow bothered by the heavenly notion of our elevators, restaurants, and offices being overrun by hairy, slobbering animals. Weird, right?
Leave a lame party long before it’s socially acceptable! Fart with reckless abandon! Chew up your boyfriend’s shoe! With a scapedog around, nothing ever has to be your fault again!
Whether you learn you’re the strict disciplinarian type or the overly attached helicopter parent, prepare for some alarming discoveries. Bonus points when you get a dog as a couple, because you get to scare both yourselves and each other.
Not only have you just learned that you would likely be a terrible parent for one reason or another, but you’re also seeing the challenges of planning your life around another creature—one who is one-millionth as high-maintenance as a human child is.
You will be mid-sentence, complaining about all the baby pictures that your friend posts on Instagram, when you catch your dog doing something adorable that simply must be posted on Instagram.
Even the slightest change in color or consistency will not escape your attention. You could probably pick hers out of a lineup, should it ever come to that. (Let’s hope it never comes to that.)
There will come a time when you are actively involved in pulling something out of your dog’s butt.
Your dog will hurt himself or eat something he wasn’t supposed to or get into a fight or have a weird lump and you will be beside yourself with worry over what’s wrong and consumed by the desire to make it better.
To try to make it better, you will spend more money than you ever expected. You will spend more money than you make. But you won’t think twice about it, and you’d do it all over again if you had to.
Every now and then, you will become dimly aware of the alleged fact that your dog is mortal and that you may one day lose him. Your dog doesn’t dwell on this point, so you shouldn’t, either. Just for the love of god do not watch this movie.
Seeing your dog exploring and experiencing the world, making friends, learning a new trick, or greeting you at the door all wiggly and excited to see you? It’s enough to defrost even the iciest of hearts.
Somewhere in your third consecutive hour of intense conversation with your best canine buddy, you will begin to wonder, “Is this normal?”
“Are you clicker training?”“What are you feeding her?”“Does she sleep in bed with you?”“What do you think of fish oil?”“Which vet do you go to?”“Have you tried that Himalayan yak milk thing?”“Talking to them is totally normal, right?”
You’ll learn the name, age, and food allergies of hundreds of dogs you meet at the dog park. As for the humans you’re talking to when you learn all this? They will forever be known as “Bandit’s parents”.
Not only is your dog the best dog that has ever existed, but you are also the best dog owner that has ever existed. (Again, troubling implications for raising human children…)
Dogs are loyal, adaptive, and optimistic. They appreciate the simple pleasures in life and take them as they come. The more time you spend with your buddy, the more these qualities will rub off on you—and you’ll be a better person for it.
And you wouldn’t want to.