Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The First 24 Hours of Owning a Dog.

Remember how I mentioned that I may or may not have a furry companion come Sunday? Well, I may, and I do. His name is Einstein and he's a mix of a Yorkshire terrier and who knows what else, and he is already 100% bonded with me. He's the sweetest pup in all the land, but in the last 24 hours, I've come to a few conclusions:

1) He is not a poodle. No duh. But I've grown up with poodles my entire life. Poodles [generally] have a kind, non-territorial demeanor. Terriers are territorial, probably hence the name of the breed. He is pretty protective of me, and needs to be introduced to new dogs and most new people in a neutral setting. He's not going to be everyone's best friend right away, or even at all, and that's fine. 

2) He is a responsibility. I don't think it fully sinks in for many people before they adopt a dog or a new puppy that, to them, you are their whole life. You have to plan your nightly outings around when they have to do their business, and you have to be realistic about how many hours straight you can leave them to their own devices. I saw this on Pinterest, and the biggest part that stood out to me was "You have your work, your entertainment, and your friends. I only have you." It's so true. They spend a good chunk of their lives waiting for you to come home, to play with them, to take them for walks. It won't always be easy. But similar to having a child, they must be your priority.

3) He is overwhelmed. While he's new to me, I have an idea of what's going on. I know that I adopted a pup, he's going to live with me, and he's going to be mine for the rest of his little life. All he knows is that his previous owners left him outside, matted and full of fleas, and he's been hopping between shelters and foster parents, and who knows how long this home will last. Like most dogs, he lives in his happy-go-lucky present, but he's a smart dog. He's had a rough past, and it's my job to make sure he knows the 'rough' bit is dunzo.

4) He is forever. Most adoption contracts mention this before you sign, but it doesn't ring true until you have your happy little friend home with you. Short of your dog biting off your face, once he's yours, he is yours. I brought Einstein over to my parents' place today and while he's phenomenal in the car, he sat in the passenger seat and looked at me with pleading eyes, and I could almost hear his little voice asking, "You're not taking me back, right?" Dogs require unconditional love. Again, much like a newborn baby or toddler, you can't 'send him back' because he got into the trash, or because he barks at strangers. Well, you can, but you'd be an asshole for doing it. Like humans, dog make mistakes. It's our job to be firm, but always, always loving. 

I've had dogs all my life, but this is the first time a dog has been my dog. It's been two days, and I'm exhausted. But as my boyfriend continues to assure me, it's going to get better. And it will. But as they always say, patience is a virtue. It's not always easy, but he's worth it.

PS: Here's a picture of the little man - XO


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