Advantage: Dog

One of these days, I will be a mom. It’s definitely something I look forward to in the future. In the meantime, I enjoy spending time with my nieces, baby-sitting my friends’ children, and teaching junior high school girls at my church. I also love being a pet-owner. Until last week, it was a pair of cats. But then I introduced a dog into the mix; and over the last 7 days, I’ve decided that everyone who wants to have kids should be required to own a dog first.

I’m compiling a list of valuable lessons, courtesy of my dog, Penny, that I will take forward into parenthood.

  • Dogs/babies get up early. So do you. This might be the biggest adjustment for me as a long-time night owl. Since the dog sleeps while I’m at work, she’s ready to go when I get home. My bedtime is pushed back until all her needs are addressed.
  • When you DO finally get in bed, sleep comes in short bursts; it’s more like napping. One ear is constantly trained to capture movement or restlessness in case you’re needed again. If you weren’t a light sleeper before, you are now.
  • The needs of your dog/baby ALWAYS come before your own. In fact, they rank ahead of your morning coffee. Ha! Food, water, and bathroom breaks all trump whatever you have on your list.
  • There’s no such thing as a quick escape from your house. It’s not just you anymore. Now it’s you plus a constant companion. If you’re the type who tends to run on the late side like me, multiply it times SIX!
  • Time is of the essence, and so is your time management. Thankfully, the more I have on my plate, the more disciplined I am. My new family addition requires that I budget my time wisely, but so far, that’s nothing but positive.
  • You have more stamina than your dog/baby. While they may exude more energy in a half hour than you have all day, they wear out a lot faster than you do. What gets me up the crack of dawn and outside to walk Penny multiple times per day is the knowledge that she will collapse next to the chair after dinner. Wooo!
  • If you leave it on the floor or within reach, it will end up in their mouths. Enough said.
  • Dogs/babies know only what you teach them. They’re a clean slate, but they learn exponentially. And they respond to your tone of voice much quicker than they understand your words.
  • Everything gets dirty quicker: your clothes, the floor, the kitchen, YOU. Dogs/babies are messy. Might as well get used to it. You can still be a clean freak, but it won’t be nearly as easy. Ha!

In barely more than a week of dog ownership, it feels as though I’ve attended a semester’s worth of parenting classes. My priorites have changed out of necessity; but so far, it’s more than worth it. More smiles, more laughter, more work, but more rewards. I didn’t know it was possible, but more than ever, I look forward to being a mom … to my dog, two cats, and a human.

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14 Responses to “Advantage: Dog”

  1. I love this and it further makes me realize that after raising three children, I am not ready for a dog quite yet!!

  2. What kind of dog? What’s it’s name?

  3. Diane Howell Says:

    Such a good looking girl ! Way to go Amy. Dogs always add a new demension of craziness to one’s life…..but no one will ever be happier to see you than a pooch.

  4. Stephanie Says:

    I agree! We had the babies before the dog, but it definitely felt like new parenthood when we got Lucy. The inconvenience is outweighed by the joy of having a puppy!

  5. Ha, I once romantacised that it would be fun to raise a baby and puppy together! Now we have a 3 year old golden (raised/trained on her own) and a 8 month old baby. Very pleased I did not do it together. However, I do agree dogs and babies have many of the same needs.

  6. Get your dog a Kong. They’re nearly indestructible, which makes them the perfect chew toy. Also, if you put some peanut butter in there and leave it in the freezer a few hours before giving it to the dog that keeps it occupied while you’re gone. Dogs are terrific – have fun with yours.

  7. Jack Murray Says:

    Nicely done, Amy. Some of us are not as unselfish as you are.

  8. Happy parenting Amy!

  9. Catchy blog title, Amy. Excellent job.

  10. Always Vigil Says:

    What happened to Sadie? That’s not the same name you gave in a previous blog entry. Nor is it the same description.
    Did Sadie not work out?

    • Thanks for asking. Officials at the rescue organization discovered new information about Sadie that would have made her a poor fit for our household. They recently found another Aussie that fit all my other requirements, and Penny’s the perfect addition to our family. Couldn’t imagine a better dog for us! 🙂

      • Always Vigil Says:

        Well it’s certainly good that the new information was discovered before you got Sadie home. It could have been a tragedy if you had brought home a dog that wasn’t going to get along with you or your cats.
        It would be tough to live with yourself if one of your other animals was harmed by a dog that you didn’t have complete information on before you brought into your home.
        Glad everything worked out in the end.

  11. Congrats on Penny!

    I COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE about the “Pet-Before-Papoose” test run! As the youngest in my fam, I DinntKnowNuthinBoutBirthinNoBabies.. and I can GUARANTEE YOU, they’re NOT suitable as the object of HOBBIES (BlessTheSnook&THEKardashianChildren) like terrariums, pet rocks, macrame OR decoupage! I don’t care HOW MUCH you love your GRIT® delivery route, making hook rugs, neglecting Sea Monkeys™, or WiteOut™ sniffing, CHILDREN ARE NOT sufficient replacements for an EIGHTEEN-YEAR-LONG SCRAPBOOKING BEE, The NeverEnding ANIME/MANGA CONVENTION, nor are they ACCEPTABLE SOAPBOX DERBY SUBSTITUTES!

    One of the COOLEST lessons my sainted Momily taught me when we brought our brand-new baby ninjazombiegirl home lo, those ƒiƒteen years back (yikes!), seems rillllllllly counter-intuitive but is oh-so-true: MAKE NOISE. NOW. LATER. YESTERDAY! VACUUM. HAVE A CHAT WITH A NEIGHBOR AS THOUGH YOU WERE SIMULTANEOULY OCCUPYING ZUCCATTI! Practice paradiddles! FIRE UP POWER TOOLS! BELT OUT SHOW TUNES YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW, or you will NEVER! Ever! Ever! GET TO MAKE A peep AGAIN! Baby MUST learn comfort herself & sleeeeep. WTF do you think they did before we put our babies on 24-hour alien abduction watch?!
    We took a freakin’ NAP! 😉
    BRILLIANT!

    So, I can almost hear ya thinkin, Janny, why don’t YOU get off YOUR highchair and get a J-O-B?!

    I think you’ll agree with OUR generation’s sexiest poet-trainwreckiat, George Michael, rapped it best:
    “HEY, JERK, YOU WORK!” Whoops! Wrong one!

    “THERE’S SOUL ON THE DOLE!” ~”Wham! Rap” by WHAM

    ANYYYYWHOOOOOO, there IS a counter-intuitive second phase~and no, it has nothing to do with my future-query to you of, “SmallMediumLarge?” AT a counter!

    Once you’ve got NoiseIsNormal established, it is time to go ALL Winston Churchill on THIS CRUCIAL FACT:

    “NEVER WAKE UP
    NEVER WAKE UP (A SLEEPING BABY o’ ANY age)
    NEVUH
    NEVUH
    NEVUH!
    IN NAPS, BOTH GREAT AND SMALL,
    EXCEPT IN CASE OF FIRE AND GENERAL GOOD SENSE
    NEVUH WAKE UP!
    NEVAH WAKE UP!
    NEVUH
    NEVUH
    NEVUH!”

    ~My Momily, The Late, Great SaraBD.

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