My pup was born on June 16, 2011. I met him a few short weeks after that and from the very moment I laid eyes on him I knew my life was changed forever. Everyone knows (or at least they should) that bringing a pet home is a HUGE responsibility. You become responsible for a tiny little creature who often times is helpless without you. However, there were a few things I did not know about how bringing home a pup would change my life. Here are nine unexpected ways getting a dog changed my life.
1) Travel is bittersweet
Travel will never be the same again. I love experiencing new places and meeting new people. Getting up early in the morning to go to the airport or packing up the car to head out are some of the most exciting things I can do. Before, if someone had offered me a plane ticket out of town, I would jump at the opportunity. Now, leaving can be heartbreaking. I try to take Odie with me on most trips, but when he can’t come it is the absolute worst. I wake up every morning of the trip missing his morning fur face. Every time I see another dog I think of him and I check in often to make sure he’s doing okay. On the Brightside, going home is exciting now too because I get to be reunited with my baby!
2) The budget shifts, drastically
Puppies are expensive! I repeat, puppies are EXPENSIVE! There are vet visits, vaccines, medication, grooming, licensing fees, food, toys, emergencies, and all too necessary puppy clothing and accessories. Most of the previously listed items are not optional. If you cannot afford to take your dog to the vet when he is sick or injured, then you cannot afford to have your fur baby in the first place. It might sound harsh, but there is no excuse good enough for your little one to suffer or feel ill for longer then he or she needs to. As soon as you decide you want a fur baby, I suggest setting up some sort of savings account exclusively for their needs. If you already have an emergency account set up, then be sure that you are willing to spend that money if your dog ever needs it. Even if an emergency never comes up, vet visits and grooming are expensive. Anti-flea and heartworm medication can be over $100 for six small little tablets, licensing fees must be paid annually, and good quality pup food is no joke.
3) You become a morning person
Have you ever had a little face nudging you awake? Not only is it the most heartwarming thing to wake up to, but it is also a call to action. That little one probably needs to go out, or to eat, or some water, or simply wants to start the day with some tug of war. Either way, you need to get up and get going. Whether you are usually a morning person or not, when the little life you are responsible for comes calling, you need to be ready and willing to jump out of bed.
4) No bad mood can last longer than a few minutes
No matter what happens throughout the day, when a little bundle of love and joy runs up to you with a toy or rushes over to lick your tears away, you can’t help but smile. I have not read any studies on the matter, but I am pretty sure it is impossible to be unhappy for longer than an a few minutes if you have a fur baby by your side. Their sense of complete innocence, concern, kindness, and wonder is just too much for the human heart to ignore.
5) Coming home to an empty house is almost unbearable
For the past 4 years I have come home to a sweet little fur face and wagging tail when I walk through the door. Whenever I take Odie to the groomer, he usually spends the afternoon there while I run some errands. Every once in a while, I have to run home before picking him up and I expect him to be there Every. Single. Time. I have grown so used to his greetings that I feel plain sad when I come home and he isn’t there.
6) You will become (more) responsible
When a little life comes along that can’t make his own appointments, serve himself dinner, take himself out on a walk, or do much else without your help, you have got to step up. You have to set up those vaccine appointments, make sure he/she doesn’t run out of food, schedule a sitter if you need to leave, nurse them when they are hurt or sick, adjust your budget, teach them tricks and manners, remember to brush their teeth and give them flea and heartworm meds, and those are just SOME of the many responsibilities that come with having a pup. So whether you were responsible or not before, you definitely will have to step it up.
7) You will become more active
There are morning walks, afternoon walks, evening walks, and walks in between. Starting off your morning with a walk is actually great for you. There is sunshine, fresh air, and time to clear your mind. I ended up loving this so much that on Saturdays we now do early morning hikes.
8) Staying in on a weekend sounds way more fun than going out
Sometimes after a long work week, you just want to stay home with your pup. Pups make you laugh with their silly antics, they listen to your stories, they’re always down for some Netflix binge-watching, and it all costs a whopping $0. It might be because I’m an introvert, but after a full week around people, my ideal weekend consists of just me and Odie. Hiking, playing, laying down, or literally anything else with this little guy trumps going out for drinks.
9) You are never alone again
You are literally never alone again. Whether you make a quick run into the kitchen or a pit stop in the restroom, the little guy or gal will find you. In fact, he won’t lose you in the first place. You can expect to hear the pitter patter of those tiny paws wherever you go. So whether you had a really bad day at work and are crying it out on the couch or you had an awesome day and want an instant celebration party when you walk through the door, the little one has got your back.
How did your pup change your life?