Friday, July 18, 2014

What's with Those DOG People?

Ahhhh pet ownership. Cute little fur babies. Snuggle buddies for life. A limitless supply of memes and funny pictures. A jogging buddy. Someone who will stick around during an ugly cry. Yes, the benefits are truly endless when you've got good ol' Fido by your side. Or Boots. Or Snickers.

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 17  young and my mother's love of animals understandably spread to my heart.

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!"

Yeeeeep.

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 :)




13 comments:

  1. I always thought I loved dogs.... I had a Basset Hound from the time I was maybe 4 or 5 up through 8th grade when she died of cancer. I can remember long summertime talks with her, when I was lonely or just wanted company. She was pretty amazing. But I've discovered that I am quite afraid of dogs now. I love dogs that I love, but I don't love them all. I know some people also don't get that - - - they say if you're a dog lover, you love *all* dogs. Well, I don't. I think your dog looks scary, so I probably wouldn't like her. lol. I want to get a dog again sometime, but it'll have to be just the right one who's temperment and personality mesh with mine. I know he/she'd be a dog, though, not a human. She wouldn't be my "kid" and I wouldn't take him/him for photos with Santa! lol :)

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    1. HAHAHA Kelly - hilarious. My dog does look scary. He is crazy nice to people, but so, so scary when he's around other animals. Sounds like you're kinda on the same dog-love level as I am, maybe a bit more "love" than me, but still not crazy insane about 'em. So glad you stopped by :) :) :) Happy SITS Saturday!

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  2. I pretty much don't like dogs at all. I've always said that if I wanted to clean up after something and bathe something and feed something and smell weird stuff and take it to the doctor when it's sick...I'd rather have a baby than a pet. And I do want a baby. But that's another issue. :P Maybe that "pet loving" part of my heart is missing. My husband LOVES dogs and cats but is also pretty practical...and allergic to them, so all we have is an outdoor cat, which, I think, is a good amount of pet ownership for us. He gets to play with the cat, the cat actually does a really good job of keeping the rodent population down around here, and we don't have cat hair in the house because it never comes inside. Plus...we're renters, indoor pets aren't even allowed if we did want them. But no, I'm NOT a dog person. I'm slightly nervous around them, actually. I was visiting my in-laws when they had some relatives over who also brought their dogs and there were 6 dogs in the house--barking constantly and being pretty aggressive to each other...and I did not feel very comfortable.

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    1. They can be a bit rambunctious, for sure! It's funny because I'm also not a huge fan of other people's children - which I think is because I don't really like other parents all that much. They don't always jive with my views on parenting, and since I'm so firm in my views, it makes for a really tense interaction. I think the same does for dog parents. I get so pissed when I see dogs acting like idiots and the owners doing nothing to stop it. And I don't think I could ever have 6 dogs in one house. Holy crap.

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  3. The Crazy Dog Lady, that’s me! Always have been, always will be. Being an empty nester pooch one and two are now the primary recipients of my day to day doting care. I cannot imagine my home without them. They are a constant source of comic relief; they can chill me out better than anything. Yet, little people, grandkids, are certainly higher in priority without question. I love my dogs and I learn from them… mostly just to slow down, be in the moment and keep it simple dumbass. Children teach this lesson, too. Love. Loyalty. Companionship. The children, those precious faces, my heart melts at the thought of them.

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    1. :) I love my favorite crazy dog lady!!! I love the slow it down lessons - keep it simple dumbass!! HAHAHA But yes, my kiddos are my lifeline - they are my little golden waves of happy :) Love you!

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  4. Growing up one of my brothers was pretty severely bitten by a dog, so my entire family including myself was/are afraid of dogs. My husband and his family like dogs more than people. It took my husband 5 years to convince me we should get a dog – a handsome strong-willed golden retriever. After about 9 months he was so out-of control my husband put him in a training class and the next thing you know he brought home one of the trainer’s puppies and we now have 2 dogs. We don’t have kids so both of these dogs have added so much enjoyment to our lives along with work and expense. I once told a co-worker (also a dog owner) my house is a dog house where people also live. She agreed and thought that was hilarious. My dogs are now 10 and 9. The 10-year old golden has untreatable acid reflux and vomits almost every day - sometimes in our house. The 9-year old is in excellent health, but he is still 9. Knowing that we may not have them in our lives that much longer we appreciate them more, but my husband did say once they are gone he isn’t sure he wants another dog. They are just too much work.

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    1. That is so funny - you went from anti-dog to dog-lover! Our dog also vomits and poops in the house all the time - he has a very sensitive stomach, so if he even licks something other than his super-expensive dog food we're going to have puke and poop all over in the morning. It's so frustrating! I've never had a dog with such a slew of health problems before - and I'm chalking it up to his terrible breeding. I'm not a fan of purebreds, I guess!

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  5. I am not one of theose weird dog people, but I love my pet's patience and companionship. He is no guard dog and he doesn't play frisbee like my husband would like him to but he does all of the other things that we like and we don't any of the same kind of problems. We just have to feed him, walk him , and pick up after him. He really is pretty awesome!

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    1. That's cool - I know they can be super fun when it comes to hunting and stuff, too. I've always wanted a hunting dog just so I could see it like run into bushes and bring out a fox or something. I guess if I had more time to do stuff outside and to play with the thing I would prolly love my dog more than I currently do. Harley is pretty hilarious tho! He is sweet!!

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  6. I see both points here. I desperately want a dog for protection, but my husband doesn't want to deal with the destructive puppy phase. I don't think you're a witch! Probably another year for us when the kids can actually help care for the animal and then we will get a golden.

    The heartache when they leave us though is devastating...

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    1. Yes - the whole "dog died" thing is another pet ownership truth I didn't even touch on here. Although (nasty, mean 'ol Jen...) I will be alright when we finally need to put Zeus down because he is in such pain all the time...and because then I can finally get some chickens...:) HAHA I'm evil.

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  7. I am NOT a dog person. My husband and daughter want one. I say no. I think they smell and they just bug me. We do have a cat, and he is part of the family, but when he refused to come out from under the bed when we had a tornado siren, I didn't bother to grab him. I wasn't going to risk our lives trying to get a terrified cat.

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