My decision to get a dog in the first place was kind of sudden. Every so often I would look around the animal shelters in town and make myself sad that I don’t have a dog. But a couple weeks ago, I found a puppy at the shelter that I felt incredibly drawn to. I went and looked at her during my lunch break, crunched some numbers, and realized I’m more capable of being able to own a dog than I previously thought – so I planned on going back and getting her after work. However, she was adopted not long before I got off. I was a little bummed, but knew deep down it was probably for the best.
You see, the thing is that this summer has been a huge time of transition for me, as it is with just about any college graduate just trying to figure life out. Being in a college town during the summer isn’t exactly the most energetic and entertaining place to be. That, in combination with some personal things going on in my life, has taken a bit of a toll on me. My anxiety has been raging – the idea of spending another evening and weekend alone had me feeling almost scared to leave work some days. It was pretty much just me and my thoughts, all day and all night. The burdens that I felt weighed me down so much more than normal; I started to not be able to peel myself out of bed. For several evenings in a row, I would turn on my worship playlist and just let myself try and rest in the presence of God. I would feel significantly better in those moments, but realistically, I can’t be curled up in a ball on my floor and completely tune everything else out to try and hear God’s voice 24/7. I exercise, I eat healthy, I’ve started a new medication, I’ve gotten plugged into a church… and while that has all made a huge impact on me in these last few weeks, I still felt like there was something missing. So when I came across that first puppy, something inside of me started stirring.
Now, am I going to go around and tell everyone that’s feeling mentally burdened or lonely to go get a puppy? No. I’m going to be very cliche and say it is a big commitment. But in those moments when I was looking at dogs, it became clear to me that I need something other than myself to focus on. I need something that’s going to keep me on my feet and keep me from getting too stuck in my head. As lame as it may sound, I truly felt called to adopt a dog.
The next day, a 3 month old lab/border collie mix was posted on the Second Chance website. I went to see him after work and immediately fell in love. I paid the adoption fee but had to keep him there for the night since I hadn’t filled out the paperwork for my apartment yet. It wasn’t until I went in the next day that I learned that animals under a year old aren’t allowed at my complex. I was crushed. I spoke with the manager and he said he’d think about it and get back to me.
I got so discouraged. I thought maybe I was forcing this to try and work out and was only making things worse for myself by getting my hopes up and becoming attached to yet another thing that was never intended to be mine. But I kept praying. I knew I wanted and needed the companion, the loyalty, the energy. The shelter agreed to hold him for me for one more night while I tried to get things sorted out.
I had considered the idea of registering him as some sort of emotional service dog, but in my mind, he had to go through training before I could do so – and I clearly didn’t have the time to do that. But my sister mentioned it to me as well, so I started researching. I came to find out all I had to do was register him online as an emotional support animal (no training necessary) and then I would be able to keep him, despite the pet restrictions, and got to have the deposit waived.
When I realized I had found the loophole, I was elated. So on Friday, August 4, I got to bring my sweet baby home. I named him Arlyn Wyatt – Arlyn meaning “promise,” after all the promises God has given me this summer (specifically promises of joy), and Wyatt meaning “strong, hardy, and brave” since he proved his strength and hardiness by beating parvo.
While the training and having to pay constant attention to what he’s doing has been exhausting, I wouldn’t trade him for anything. The joy I feel when he comes running to me at full speed when I come home from work and when he cuddles up close to me during the night is overwhelming. I can’t help but be in awe of God and this sweet creature He created just for me at just the right time.
But now that it’s been nearly a month since adopting my little ball of energy, here are seven confessions I have on becoming a dog mom.
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SLEEP? WHAT’S THAT?
If this is how I feel with a puppy, I don’t even want to know how it’ll be when it’s an infant (a very, very, verrrry long time from now…) From having to wake up every 2-3 hours to take him outside, to midnight adrenaline rushes which lead to midnight runs and visits to the dog park, to waking up at 5:00 AM because someone wants to chew on my hand instead of sleep… 🙂 My coffee addiction has reformed despite cutting back to try and reduce my breakouts. At this point, my state of mind has become more important than the state of my face.
Nobody warned me how much those puppy dog eyes and stubborn but adorable attitude will kill your self-control and drain your bank account. Have you ever tried to tell your puppy “no” when he’s found the bone he wants? Even my dad couldn’t say no when Arlyn refused to part with a cow ear he grabbed in the middle of Petco. Arlyn currently has 5 bags of treats and a bag of raw hides on my shelf in the pantry. And you don’t even want to know how much time I’ve spent looking at doggie bow ties and beanies.
Thanks to BarkBox, I manage to keep his toy budget under control. Each box has a theme and comes with 6-8 items, including toys and all-natural treats. If I didn’t have my subscription, I’d be spending so much more money on him than I already do. If you haven’t tried BarkBox, you’re missing out. In fact, by using my link you can get your first BarkBox FOR FREE. Truthfully, you’ll probably wonder why you hadn’t tried it before.
HE COMES UP IN NEARLY EVERY CONVERSATION
“Do you wanna see a picture? Okay good because here’s a picture of him wearing a Sherlock Holmes hat.”
Befriending other humans has now become a matter of if they also have a dog or not so we can schedule puppy play dates. I’m telling you, making friends has never been easier. “Please bring your dog over to wear mine out. I beg you.”
“STOP EATING THAT”
I probably say this about 200 times a day. His favorite random items to eat are June bugs, charcoal, clumps of dirt and grass, and wires. *face palms*
ALL THE BUG BITES.
“Will I ever stop scratching?”
HE’S A PAIN IN MY BUTT
But I love him more every day, even when he bites the heck out of my hands or barks for an hour straight. Because even though he’s stubborn and strong-willed, he has the sweetest, smartest personality and I know I wouldn’t trade his companionship and the joy and comfort he has brought me for anything.