I didn’t even want the dog. My family put an insurmountable amount of pressure on me to say YES. The thing is I’ve never really been a dog person. What made them think that all of a sudden I was going to change?
Our First Dog Experience Was Overwhelming
Even when I was a kid I never asked for a dog. My friends all had pets but I was content with our fish. When my husband (then boyfriend) and I were living together, he really wanted a dog. Okay, I thought, this will give us good practice for when we have kids one day. Our first dog was definitely my dog. She spent her time sitting right by me, sleeping next to me and always being near me. Sure, I loved her but I wasn’t obsessed like some people are. She was a pet to me.
When we had kids, she really resented them and began pooping in their rooms and all over the house. I wasn’t able to give her the attention that she deserved. Her barking was out of control and she was nervous all the time. No one was happy, even her. I came to the decision one day that we needed to find her a better home. Yes, we were her family but we weren’t able to take care of her the way she needed. I had three young children and was overwhelmed by life and began to resent the dog.
Since I wanted the best for her, I researched rescues for loving homes of people looking for our breed of dog. She went to go live on a real farm with other dogs and space where she could run, having the life we couldn’t give her.
Would I Ever Be Ready For Another?
For the next six years, the kids would ask off and on if we can get another dog. As a mom of four young children, I knew I had enough on my plate. There was no way, in good consciousness, that I could bring another dog into our home. It would probably get ignored and I wanted to be able to give my full attention to a dog. Honestly, I wasn’t really excited about it nor did I really want one.
Over time my family kept throwing little hints out here and there about getting a dog. What they didn’t realize is while the family would be getting a dog, I would be responsible for her during the day. The decision came down to me:
- Was I ready to give up my free time yet?
- Did I want to get up in the middle of the night to potty train a puppy?
- Was I prepared to keep an eye on a dog all the time so she didn’t ruin things?
- Who was going to feed, groom, walk her and pick up her poop?
I wasn’t ready for a really long time. The year my youngest started preschool, I was thrilled to finally have a couple mornings a week to myself. For ten years, I had been home taking care of my children with no break. I wanted space to breathe and only be concerned for myself. It was fabulous!
Then It Happened…
They started to wear me down. This past summer, the question surfaced again and I was almost to a place where if we found the right dog, I would cave. The research began and the slew of puppy pictures came at me in rapid fire. I still wasn’t sure.
Then one night, my husband sent me a couple pictures of Australian Shepherds and my heart began to soften. They weren’t on our short list because I was convinced we needed a hypoallergenic dog for the kids’ allergies. This time I wanted to make sure we got a breed that was compatible with our family. Last time, we only went with the cuteness factor. And we see where that got us.
The moment my inbox was flooded with pictures of Aussies, I knew it wouldn’t be long before a new puppy came home with us. The final decision happened overnight and we went from maybe to driving two hours away to pick up our sweet girl.
She Converted Me
While I say I’m not a dog person, ours has shown me otherwise. I really do love her and cherish the gift she is to our family. Our dog has taught me to let go of any selfishness, to love freely and be present in the moment.
Our twice (sometimes thrice) daily walks have completely transformed my life. It is our time to connect with nature and decompress from the day. While we walk, I talk through ideas that pop up in my head. There are no distractions when we are outside because I don’t bring my phone. My only responsibility is to her and be one with my thoughts.
She has taught me to listen to my heart, inviting creativity in again. I’ve worked through many problems that I have that day as we stroll along. I’m pretty sure I look like a crazy woman to outsiders as I talk to myself, but if they heard what I was saying they would understand. It’s my time to hash out new blog posts, create additional streams of income, set goals, and really speak positively to myself.
Our dog gives me the opportunity to stretch both my legs and my mind. Her walks mean more to me than she would ever know. The time we spend together being out in nature allows me not only to connect with her but to reconnect with myself!
Put your oxygen mask on first.
Self care is essential for all parents to make it through the day.
So I’ve created a guide just for you: 7 Steps To Saying Yes to Yourself.