When I am at home, there is basically not a moment, even when I am sleeping or using the bathroom, that my dog, Katniss, is not more than a few feet—usually mere inches—away from me.
My dog and I have been inseparable since the day we adopted her, and life seems impossible without my pup—even when, through her whining, she is occasionally the most annoying living being in the world, aside from Sarah Palin and Oakland Raiders fans.
But I’ve had dogs before, so I had somewhat of an idea of what I was getting into when we adopted a tiny Katniss. Somewhat.
I rush home from work each afternoon to let her outside, and I never make post-work plans, or any plans, really, because I’m afraid of Katniss being by herself for too long and feeling neglected or peeing in the house. I’ve basically given up what little of a social life I had as an introvert to take care of a 40-pound, whiny, constantly shedding/thirsty/pooping/peeing beast who can’t even have a conversation with me. Aside from fleeting moments my wife and I get to spend together, I am at this dog’s mercy, it seems.
What the hell is wrong with me?
I’d like to think this give-and-take relationship we have—I do the giving, she does the taking—is preparing me to be a dad someday; maybe my doting on Katniss is just my strong fatherly side coming out? I really think my devotion to her has more to do with the fear of failing her, as she is wholly dependent on my wife and me for survival.
Don’t get me wrong: Katniss is a sweet, loving dog who is a loyal and affectionate best buddy. I think I would die inside if something happened to her. She is a constant companion who never judges me, makes me laugh and cheers me up when I am sad. I wouldn’t trade her and her whining for any other pet in the world, but shouldn’t I have more of a life? Or is this how everyone feels when they have a pet?
They say having a child will change your life, but I’ll be honest with you: Having a dog, especially an active, sensitive young dog, will change your life, too. If you are thinking of getting a dog and you have the means to care for it, I believe you should go for it. Adopting Katniss was one of the best decisions I have ever made, but it has not come without a great deal of work and some sacrifice—of sleep, time, money and sanity.
They say having a child will change your life, but I’ll be honest with you: Having a dog, especially an active, sensitive young dog, will change your life, too.
My wife and I are finishing watching a series on Netflix called “Damages.” At the end of one of the seasons, Rose Byrne’s character, Ellen, asks Glenn Close’s character, Patty, if all the hard work, underhanded tactics and sacrifices that Patty has made in her life to become one of the top lawyers in the U.S. is worth it. Patty doesn’t have much of an answer. As far as dog ownership goes, I know what my answer is.
In the end, it’s worth it.
Some days, however, are more worth it than others.