I’m a dog lover.
Not the kind of dog lover who capitalizes the D in Dog and the L in Lover, then calls “Dog Lover” her professional career when she’s a contestant on The Bachelor, but I really do like dogs a whole lot.
This week, Aaron and I are dog sitting three (THREE) humongous puppies. One of them is full-on dog, I guess, because she’s five years old. The other two are only about 8 months old, though, so they’re 100% puppies. And probably weigh more than pageant-me. They definitely don’t weigh more than I do at the moment, but back when I refused to eat anything after 6 p.m., yeah, the dogs are heavier than I was.
What I’m trying to say is that I’ve been living with two giant, slobbery, affectionate beasts who think they’re lap dogs, despite the fact that they’re well on their way to growing into full size bears. The only difference between them and bears is that bears are far less vocal. Particularly at 3:30 a.m.
People often say that dogs are like training wheels for children, which I’ve always thought is ridiculous, but maybe I was wrong. I tend to be wrong about most things, so no surprises here.
I know dogs are a lot of work. I grew up with them. Sure, you have to come home every few hours to let them out, hide anything of importance so that they can’t eat it, and prepare to pay stupid amounts of money in vet bills when they inevitably eat raccoon poop and nearly die. Those are things that make life slightly harder, but none of that scares me.
Kids, though? You can’t put them in a crate for an hour or two when you’ve lost control. I mean, you could, but then you’d go to jail. Plus, they do everything I mentioned above that dogs do, but the risk of death is like, 100x higher. Dogs can bounce back from some raccoon poop. Babies? Probably not.
I’m so excited for the stage in life when Aaron and I decide to have kids. I’m also really excited about the stage in life when we decide to get a dog. I’m ready for both…but I can wait. After all, Aaron and I are thoroughly enjoying married life without distraction. I was pushing for a dog for a bit, but Aaron needed a little time to be ready for a new dog after his very sad departure from his last pup, whom he still loves very, very much, but no longer gets to see. #doggiecustody He also says he doesn’t want to give attention to anyone or anything but me right now. What husband, am I right??
Anyway, since I like traveling when he’s deployed, love not worrying about anything but spending time together when he’s home, and totally understand that sometimes we need time before we don’t feel like we’re “cheating” on an old pet, I’m totally cool with waiting a little longer before getting a furry creature. Though, I already know what kind she’ll be and have even had her name picked out for the last four years.
But back to dog-sitting the two gargantuan toddlers, and one 5-year-old who constantly looks like she’s a deer in headlights because at any moment her two little siblings might come ripping around the corner and tackle her while she sleeps.
What have I learned? That puppies might be more similar to children than I originally thought. Maybe it’s just these particularly rambunctious pups who spur each other on to more and more craziness– and there are THREE, but I’ve never experienced such need for space in my life. I love them, and they’re absolutely adorable, but two big dogs under the age of one is an adventure that only leaves me with the utmost respect for their owners. They’re stronger people than I.
I think dogs’ similarities to babies are not as aligned as some people claim, but the most important similarity is that no matter how “over it” you are, you can’t ignore your responsibility to keep another, breathing creature alive. No matter how annoyed I am that a massive puppy won’t stop trying to wrestle me on the couch when I’m trying to relax, I can’t choose not fill his water bowl or ignore his need to be petted so that he doesn’t turn into a mean, human-hating monster.
I guess all of this is to say that dogs aren’t that much like human babies, but they’re enough like human babies to be decent buffers if you’ve never had to think of someone other than yourself when it comes to life choices.
After talking to an amazing mom the other night, she said that having kids taught her that she has more patience than she thought she did, and made her a far better, more selfless person than she was before having them. Kids aren’t for everyone, and neither are dogs, but I, personally, am really excited to jump into a parenting role. I want to see who I become. It’s a little scary when I think of all my shortcomings that will be put to the test, but with the right determination and lots of slobbery, colicky, sleepless, and cute-filled love, I’m sure that being a doggie and/or real mom will only change my life for the better. <3