A year ago my husband Adam and I adopted a dog, we named her Maya. We naively figured life would be good and would continue as usual. But that is not so and along the way we’ve learned some important lessons.
1. Getting a dog and keeping your sanity is not easy, there are days that I wonder why we did this… then there are days that I wonder how could we not!
2. We are repeatedly learning that dish towels are not toys, and if left anywhere near Maya’s snout we will end up with a pile of bandages for refugees.
3. Maya will not eat the cat, but she will groom Stella’s head violently. The cat seems to like it. And that seems to be okay.
4. Our dog likes gum, leave it out and she’ll eat it for you. All of it.
5. She loves perfume samples… tonight she is actually wearing cologne and ironically smells a little like my dad. weird, I know.
6. She will listen to us, but she is stubborn. So food helps, lots of food. I’m actually the same way.
And we realized that adjusting our lives for Maya is actually somewhat similar to our friends adjusting their lives for their kids. Okay, okay, not exactly the same. But I find myself coordinating schedules with Adam to make sure someone feeds her when we have opposite plans. We also try to take turns walking her, exercise is important… plus it keeps her overly active nature in check. MOST of the time. We have to find time to play with her and keep her behavior in check when friends come to visit. Did you know that animals bicker like siblings? I found myself yelling for both Maya and Stella to knock it off. Awesome. I am a pet “parent.”
Disciplining our pets is somewhat similar to disciplining a kid. “Stop jumping on the couch.” vs. “Stop jumping on me.” “Don’t eat a whole bowl of Reese’s peanut butter cups.” actually translates into “Don’t eat a whole bowl of Reese’s peanut butter cups.” Interesting.
There are the obvious differences… we can leave our dog home alone and it isn’t considered poor parenting. We can take our dog to class, but she’ll never need K-12, nor a cap and gown. She’ll never need a graphing calculator or a fall wardrobe. But like small kids she needs plenty of toys and “educational” activities. She needs to be cleaned up after, bathed, and groomed.
I feel badly when I compare our dog raising to our friends’ child rearing. I don’t want to insult the kid parent, but telling them pet parent stories. Nevertheless, there are similarities and it gives us something more in common.
So next time you find yourself telling me about the latest “crayon-on-wall” creation at your home, you just might hear about the “Coy-pond-in-process” installation in our backyard.