Good Sunday morning!
How is this Sunday morning treating you?
Did you test drive some delicious bourbons, or, maybe, make the perfect vodka martini(s) last night?
Are you clear as a bell, or a tad on the foggy side this morning?
Coffee + Advil + Bacon
You’ll be right as rain in about an hour.
Trust me on this one.
Were you lucky enough to wake up with two adorable pups licking your face, telling you “Good morning, Hooman!” in their own way?
Best. Way. To. Wake. Up.
(Well, maybe the second best way…)
I’ve told you about my two little pups, Izzy and Little Man.
Izzy likes to let me know she’s ready to get up by snuggling in closer and closer, until I’m balancing on the edge of the bed, with all 13 pounds of her right up against me, continuing to “snuggle,” a.k.a. push.
She is gently, yet consistently, pushing me out of the bed.
This little dog is subtle, yet persistent.
Her message is clear, “Get up. Let me go outside, and FEED ME.”
There two key characteristics about my little Izzy-Butt.
1: She has never missed an opportunity to eat. As in, EVER.
2: When it comes to sleeping in a bed, she is like the U.S. military; She does not give up any square footage, once she’s conquered it.
Oh, and she snores like a chainsaw, bless her little, noisy snout!
Little Man, on the other hand, takes a much more direct approach:
He creeps up to your face, pretends to be asleep, and then licks your nose, so you can no longer breathe.
“Oh, good! You’re up!” Little Man’s facial expression conveys, as you shake your head to get the licking to stop and the breathing to start again. “Let’s get you out of this bed, so you can let me go outside. Then we’ll play ball for a while. How’s that sound?”
Hey, when it’s time to get up, it’s time to get up.
Izzy will be eight years old this September.
When I think back to when she first came into my life, I truly had no idea how much of a positive impact she would have on my world.
I knew adopting Izzy was making a lifetime commitment to a pet, but I had no idea how much her existence would impact every decision I made, even way back then.
When Little Man came along, six months later, I felt like I was mastering “puppyhood.”
I was waaaaaaaaay off on that “mastering puppyhood” one.
Making the lifetime commitment to a second pet, wasn’t really that much different, since Izzy was already embedded in every aspect of my life.
The two dogs couldn’t be more different if they tried.
Izzy is loyal, independent and sweet. Little Man is a snuggler, wants to play nonstop, and he’s convinced that he’s ten feet tall and bulletproof.
Making a lifetime commitment to a pet is just that: A Lifetime Commitment.
All puppies are adorable, and — for me, at least — almost irresistible.
But there are financial obligations that must be met, as well as constraints that you will encounter, when you are a responsible pet owner.
- Pet food
- Annual vaccinations
- Regulatory medications, as they age
- Flea & tick medication/treatment
- Heart worm treatment
- Toys & treats
- Grooming expenses
- Unexpected ailments and injuries that require medication and/or surgery
For my two dogs, these expenses are approximately $2,000/year.
- Travel: Hiring a pet sitter, finding a boarder or aligning travel documentation/fees for your pet to travel with you.
- Renting: Finding a landlord that rents to pet owners and the additional pet rent expenses that landlords charge
- Poop patrol: It’s got to be done if you live anywhere where your dog isn’t running free on acreage.
- Doggy daycare: If you work long hours, it’s unfair to leave your dog at home alone for long stretches of time. If you find doggy daycare, you now must make sure that you’re available to drop them off and pick them up within the daycare’s hours of operation, as well as cover the cost of daycare.
- Dog walkers: An alternative to doggy daycare, but now you’ve got to find someone that you trust with your pets, as well as having access to your home.
For my two dogs, these additional expenses are approximately $6,000/year (if they’re going to doggy daycare 5-6 days a week).
After all, they didn’t ask to come and live with you.
You made that choice for them.
You made a lifetime commitment to a pet.
During the 2020 pandemic lockdowns, it was well publicized that pets were being adopted at record rates, and the animal shelters were nearly empty.
That was great!
But I couldn’t help but worry about what would happen when everything “returned to normal,” and people went back to work and school, and those adorable puppies turned into chewing-machine, puppy “teenagers.”
Sure enough, about 6-8 months into the lockdowns, the news channels started to report that the shelters were beginning to fill back up with 6-to-12-month-old dogs.
It broke my heart.
People started giving up their young dogs and dumping them off at the shelters.
Young dogs are energetic and can become destructive if they don’t receive enough daily exercise and intellectual stimulation.
I assumed this was common knowledge, but evidently I was wrong.
It’s not only making a financial lifetime commitment to a pet. You’re also making a lifetime commitment to a pet that you’ll dedicate a portion of your day, every day, just to them.
Simply put; Owning a pet takes up your time, too.
They need attention, affection, exercise and training.
This isn’t negotiable.
The good news is that it sounds like a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding and not really work at all.
Your pet’s sole focus in life is to love you and make you happy.
Even more simple: If you “own” a pet, you’re going to be sharing your life with them.
They will insist on it, actually.
Oh, and you will never pee alone again, either.
Izzy and Little Man are a part of my day, all day, every day.
They ride in the car with me on almost every mundane trip
If you need to find them, they’re usually laying on the bed behind me, sound asleep, while I work.
These two are always ready to celebrate or play at the drop of a hat.
They’re great listeners, but horrific conversationalists.
I made the lifetime commitment to a pet — twice — and I’m convinced that I’m a better person because of my two dogs.
My hope is that this little post will help someone else out there make the same lifetime commitment to a pet with their eyes wide open.
The bond is one of unconditional love.
And if you figure out how to teach your dog to make coffee and bacon in the morning, please let me know IMMEDIATELY.