• Michelle Roberts-Garcia

The Life and Times of a new Pet Owner

“Get a puppy,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said.

I debated titling this blog: How my life was turned upside down by a tiny nugget of fur in only a month, but it didn’t quite have the same ring as the title I went with. For those of you who are already the proud owner of a pet, or more specifically, a dog, you probably know all about what I am going through. For those of you who are considering getting a dog, read this first. Trust me.

I had the kind of lifestyle that did not leave much room for a pet. Maybe one of those Beta fish, but even then, I worried he would try to eat himself or die from anxiety. I travel (or I should say traveled) often, work full-time and loved using my free time to explore my city or just do absolutely nothing if the mood struck. I love dogs- I am obsessed with them, in fact, but I never felt that it was the right time to have my own. Enter Books. My new boss decided for me that it was time for a dog, and so one short month later I was the proud owner of a tiny Klee Kai puppy (which is a version of a mini Alaskan Husky) named Books. Why Books, you ask? Why not? I like actual books, and now I like my dog, Books. It makes sense, somehow. Anyways, even as I drove away from picking her up, I knew my life was about to be forever changed. I have always been a slight germaphobe, and I can admit I don’t even consider myself an adult at the age of 31. Knowing I was now responsible for keeping something bigger than a fish alive was disconcerting. But I was nowhere near prepared for how much my life has actually changed since getting this adorable, crazy, dramatic, very similar to me in every way, psychotic little dog. Here are just a few changes you should be prepared to encounter if you are thinking of getting a puppy.

Poop- everywhere

I am sure this will get some eye rolls from some, but I have always had a strong abhorrence toward dog poop. I read somewhere, years ago, that it could even make you go blind, and since then there have been few substances I’ve come across on this Earth that offend me more. For someone who loves dogs, it was always a Catch 22 kind of situation. I loved dog-sitting for friends, but I hated that it required cleaning up poop. Since Books, all my standards have gone out the window. She steps in poop, rolls in it, puts it in her mouth (I shut that one down real quick, to be fair), and of course, makes it. Luckily, she’s small, so hers are the size of Tootsie Rolls, but it hasn’t changed the fact that I now interact with one of my previous fears on an hourly basis. Not even daily- hourly. I used to be so crazy about keeping my bedding clean; My bed was my Mecca and I always prided myself on clean, pristine bedding. Now not a single inch of cloth is untouched by puppy paws, of which I am sure have at some point in the day come in to contact with, you’ve guessed it, poop. But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I loved watching as she learned to jump up by herself, and my favorite moments now are when she climbs in bed in the morning and curls up against me like the tiniest little stuffed animal. It is no longer my bed- it is hers. And despite my life now revolving around her healthy bowel movements, I can easily say I am less of a germaphobe now.

Personality differences

One of my favorite things about dogs is their personalities. I always loved meeting a new dog and figuring out what made them quirky or sweet or goofy. Of course, aside from my dogs growing up, I never spent enough time with other people’s dogs to see how they developed their personalities. Watching Books grow into herself has been nothing short of a hilarious, wild trip. When I first got her, she was timid, quiet, and slept 14-16 hours a day. Over the first week, she found her voice a little more and became playful. Her breed is known for being vocal, but I had no idea what that would encompass. She is three months now, and she talks more than most of my friends. She howls, chatters, a-whoos, barks, and growls (playfully), and each noise means something completely different. I have started to be able to speak “Books,” and now I talk to her as if we are old pals. I am officially the person who tells my dog where I am going, how long I will be gone, and not to cause too much trouble while I am away. When she is on a rant, I say things like “And then what happened?” despite having no idea if she is actually telling me a story or, quite possibly, saying “eff you mom I seriously am going to take a sh*t in your shoes later.” Hopefully, she is never saying the latter, but if you met her, you wouldn’t put it past her. But the craziest part is knowing in some way we understand each other. I read an article about how amazing the bond between humans and dogs really is, and it is true. She knows what I am trying to get across to her, and when she learns a new trick that I taught her, I am blown away that she actually understands me. It is incredible, and one of the best feelings in the world.

What social life?

I am the kind of extrovert who will randomly feel like being an introvert at times. I usually love going out for drinks, or to the movies, or just shopping to spend money, but at times I love just popping on an old film and doing absolutely nothing with absolutely no one. Before Books, I never had an excuse to do this. If plans came up, I sounded lame for bailing with no excuse other than “I can’t be bothered.” Que Books. Because she’s a baby, she can’t be alone for longer than 3 hours at the minute. At first, it was a huge adjustment. My freedom had just been completely limited by a tiny little yowling puppy. The first time I actually left her, though, five minutes in I was desperate to go home and be with her. Now if I do ever make plans, I spend half the time thinking about going back home and how happy she will be to see me. Days when I feel like staying home, it is now socially acceptable because I am “with my dog.” I also no longer feel awkward when I crack a bottle of wine after work, because technically I am not drinking alone. She’s there. She’s like this magical little being who is my best friend, confidant and drinking buddy (don’t worry, she sticks to water), all in one.

I could go on and on about how much my life has changed since getting a dog. There are moments when I am exhausted, or hungover, and I feel like I can’t live up to her needs and expectations. But then she will come over to me, curl upright against my side, rest her little chin on my thigh while looking at me with those big, beautiful, loving eyes, and all my fears and doubts vanish. She loves me unconditionally, and I feel the same about her. I would do anything, give her anything, as long as she is happy and knows she is safe. So, if you are thinking about getting a puppy and you know you can give them those things: safety and love, then do it. You will never look back or regret it. Share your puppy stories below.