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Since anyone who knows me at all would without a doubt qualify me as a full-fledged crazy dog lady, I’m basically an expert in the field of dog parenting. It’s no secret to anyone (and I do mean ANYONE) that I love the crap out of my dog. Regardless, it’s important for anyone considering adopting a pup to know that owning a furry, four-legged pooping machine is definitely not all sunshine and rainbows. Here are the realities of having a dog in your twenties—the good, the bad, and the ugly:
1. First of all, let’s just discuss the fact that there is a living, breathing ANIMAL that will be lying on your couch, eating your food, and sleeping in your bed (if you’re into that).
As cute as puppies can be, they are not just a pretty plaything that you can set on a shelf and take out whenever you feel like it. Dogs are huge responsibilities. This is a fact you must first be aware of before making the leap.
2. Be prepared for all of your social media to be completely taken over by pictures and videos of your new best friend.
You know those parents you roll your eyes at because they post a thousand pictures of their children on a daily basis? Yeah, that will be you. Except your dog is way cuter than that kid, which makes it okay, right?
3. Your obsession with your dog will have the power to both create and destroy relationships.
Example: endlessly talking about your dog with friends or co-workers who don’t have pets (or even worse—are cat lovers) will result in these people to start to carefully avoid you. But on the other hand, meeting a mutual dog lover—whether it be a fellow co-worker or a random stranger in the park—will likely lead to deep, instant bonding through endlessly exchanging stories about your dog-parenting experiences.
4. Dogs are a big financial commitment.
And I’m not just talking about their food, vet bills, and grooming (although those do add up), I’m also talking about the amount of money you will spend on your dog just because you love them and you want to spoil them.Dog sweaters (in case they get cold, duh), treats that taste like peanut butter, and an ENDLESS number of toys will start to add up.
Maybe not all dogs are as destructive as my crazy mutt, but I kid you not, he goes through at least three toys in a month’s time. So of course, I keep buying him alligators and kangaroos and tennis balls and squeaky toys shaped like bones. Because otherwise, he will eat the couch, my socks, and everything in-between.
5. Kissing your significant other (or any other form of affection for that matter) becomes a very strange thing to share with another set of eyes.
As much as you try to convince yourself they don’t understand what’s happening…they do. They totally do. Now, I can only speak for my dog, but any sort of physical affection exchanged between my boyfriend and me is met with anything from intrigued head tilts to high-pitched barking and jumping up and down. If that doesn’t kill the mood, then I don’t know what will.
6. Consistently waking up at 5 a.m. to the sound of puppy whines and the smell of poop is probably the best form of birth control that has ever existed.
If, for any reason, you were thinking that having a kid might be cool, taking care of a puppy will quickly remind you that you’re definitely not ready for anything with less than four legs.
7. Kiss your wild partying days goodbye.
It’s not hard to figure out that dogs really do have feelings, and it’s also not hard to realize that when you’re gone all day AND all night, your neglect hurts your pup’s feelings. Sure, you kind of miss crazy nights of drinking with your friends sometimes, but snuggling on the couch with your forever cuddle buddy is also a pretty solid way to spend a Friday night. (Or at least that’s what you tell yourself.)
8. You will find yourself personally invested in the size, shape, color, and frequency of your dog’s bowel movements.
You never thought you would care so much about another creature’s bathroom habits. This is a perfectly acceptable behavior for a dog parent—just remember that this sort of news will probably not be nearly as exciting to other humans.
9. Though there are a few stark differences in dog parenting and actual kid parenting (for example: the ability to lock your dog in a cage while you run to the grocery store), there are plenty of shocking similarities as well.
You will worry about them constantly, you will be insanely overprotective, and you will miss the hell out of them when you go out of town and leave them with a dog-sitter. Remember all those vacations you always wanted to take to exciting and exotic places around the world? Well, unless there’s room in your suitcase for your furry sidekick, spending a month in Paris suddenly won’t sound quite so amazing knowing you’ve got to leave your BFF behind.
10. You will know every single pet-friendly store within a 10-mile radius.
Because even though they may hate every second of being pushed around in a cart in Home Depot, you know they prefer this to the agony of you leaving them home alone for even a single hour.
11. You will no longer know what being truly “alone” really means.
(And any time that you do have to spend completely by yourself will seem weirdly wrong.) A home absent of wagging tails, stinky breath, and squeaky toys is not really a home at all.
12. It doesn’t happen right away, but one day, you will actually have a full-fledged conversation with your dog.
Not only that, but you will enjoy it. And this, THIS is the day that you have graduated into crazy dog lady status. Welcome to the club.