Except when the "cute" wears off.....the "snuggling" turns into total bed takeover....and humor falls victim to the simple desire to once, just once, get a nice, peaceful night of rest during a thunderstorm.
These harsh pet realities are present in all species, but in my humble opinion, there is no greater assault to the senses, no larger clan of defensive owners, no greater misuse of sparkly pink travel carriers, than that of a dog.
Yes folks, this is where it starts to get ugly. I have a feeling I won't get the best reaction out of this post, but hey hey! Nothin' I've never seen before, right? ;)
Cuz you see, I am that person.....the one who doesn't fully understand "dog people."
Hear me out.
I've owned dogs on and off throughout my life. My mother is crazy about dogs and had we not lived in apartments for the majority of my youth, she would've had a dog in the home at all times. At one point I would run around the neighborhood, picking up "strays" to bring home with me. These dogs may or may not have been in people's yards when I "found" them, but hey I was
The very first dog I ever owned was a Pit Bull I cleverly named Dasani (yes, after the water bottle). She was sweet and in need of a good home. She ate my underwear (weird) and had an issue with humping the other dog in the house (weirder), but hey! She was pretty and I loved her. I had her for about 6 months before I got pregnant.
Now anyone that's had a Pitt will tell ya - they will die for their owners. They will do whatever they think will make their owners happy - it is an inherent quality in their genes. But this dog didn't see me as her owner yet. She saw me as a friend.
This is pretty bad news for anyone expecting a little one.
I knew I couldn't keep her...knew I wouldn't have the time/energy to dedicate to her training. She ended up back with her previous owner and I later found out she was given to another family who loved her very much. Happy ending for everyone, right?
Nope. You see, I didn't know it at the time, but me giving my dog away because I wanted to do what was best for my future child? That was Phase I of the Destruction of Jen the Dog Person. Phase II revealed itself not long after my first little angel was born.
Picture this: Me and New Baby are playing outside in the grass on a nice summer day. My neighbor brings over her friendly pug, a dog I always got along with and was happy to introduce to my little one.
"Oh hi sweet puppy :) :) :) So glad to see y.....wait...wait, puppy no....no we don't climb on the baby.....uh, wait, what's all over your paws? NO, puppy. NO PUPPY! OMG stop! HEY! GET AWAY DOG! GET AWAY YOU HORRENDOUS THING! CURSES UPON YOU, SPAWN OF SATAN!!! GET AWAAAAAAY!"
Phase II of the Destruction of Jen the Dog Person: Pet nasty ain't cool no mo'. Don't bring your slime my way...I have viruses to worry about. If this baby gets sick again I'm going to commit myself.
Flash forward a few years. I'm broke as a joke, trying to make ends meet for me and the wee one. I'm working all the time, sleeping about an hour or two a night because my baby has colic and I'm alone. So. So. Alone. I finally pass out sitting against a wall when *BARK* *BARK BARK BARK* *BARK*......
Phase III of the Destruction of Jen the Dog Person: I hate your dog's noise. I hate it. Stop making noise, dog. Don't wake me up. Never wake me up.
Flash forward a few more years. I'm "folding laundry in the living room" (read backstory here) and I hear my big girl, now 6, screaming. I race to the window to see her barreling up the driveway, an unknown dog at her heels. I vow to punch the dog in the skull with the power of a thousand doom fists.
Phase IV of the Destruction of Jen the Dog Person: Your dog's an a-hole. Your dog is not as important as the life and safety of my child. I know at least one of you doesn't agree....which is why I don't get you, dog person.
And then let's come full circle to present-day. I adopted my second dog, Zeus, about three years ago. He is sweet, so good with the kids, and most importantly, scary looking. I didn't adopt him for companionship. I didn't adopt him for his pedigree or temperament or to teach my kids how to be responsible. I adopted Zeus for one reason and one reason only: home protection.
Phase V of the Destruction of Jen the Dog Person: My dog's greatest benefit to me is his utilitarianism.
I love my dog because he protects my home. Once he ceases to protect my home, he will cease to be of any use to me. Harsh, right? Are some of you crying right now? Don't - I assure you, I am not a coldhearted witch.
I love my dog. He stinks, he keeps my entire family up at night when there's lightening and thunder, he gets diarrhea, has Doberman skin problems, is terrible on a leash, and is dumber than a box of rocks, but I love him. I feed him. I wrap his blanket around him at night. I brush him. If he cries out in pain because his terrible Dobe hips are killing him, I go to him.
But hear me clearly: he is my dog....."dog" being the keyword there.
We had a tornado touch down in our area last month. I woke to the sound of Zeus scuttling around my bed...and when I checked my phone I realized I'd unknowingly received an alert telling us to seek shelter immediately. I woke my husband and we went to get my two girls. My husband took my 8 year old, I took the 2 year old - both sleepy, heavy dead weight in our arms, and we headed quickly to the basement.
Arms full of kids, stairs steep, we left Zeus standing on the landing. He couldn't come down the stairs with his bad hips. He cried after us. My heart broke a little...."What if this is real?" I remember thinking. "What if that's the last time I see my dog?" But then the little chubbo in my arms stirred and said, "G'morning Mama! How's sleep?" Might as well have screamed, "PRIORITIES" in my face.
My love for my dog stems from an appreciation for his animal self....his instincts, the way his brow furrows when I make weird noises, how his eyes say "owwie" when his mouth can't. But I have no delusions about the fact that he is, in all reality, an animal. He will forever be prioritized behind my children, my marriage, my job, my money, and anything else I need to keep my family safe and secure.
True dog people would never say that. Nope. Their dogs are their family. They are better than family, even. They are better than humans. I can empathize with this mentality...remember, I was a dog-lover once. Perhaps one day I will be again, once my kids are grown and I'm looking to fill that caretaker space in my heart....but until then, I have to admit, I have a hard time fully relating to a true, gung-ho dog person.
So, Doggie Lovers, what's with you? I realize my perspective is only one of millions so please, take the floor. I want to know what you love about your dog and how you balance your doggie love with the day-to-day demands of life.
And you too, fellow non-dog-lovers. Am I alone in my thoughts and priorities? Has anyone else experienced Dog Lover to Non-Dog Lover transformation like I did? What caused it? Think you'll get that Dog Lover mentality back?
I'd love to hear both sides in the comments down below! And as always, my lovely readers, thank you so much for reading :)