Chris and I have had Otis for about six weeks now. While we love our little guy and the joy he brings to our lives, we can also agree that he is a lot of work. In fact, sometimes he can be a handful so much to the point where I feel like I’m getting practice for when I actually have kids someday. Now, I know that a lot of parents don’t appreciate it when people compare having a dog to having a kid because having kids is way harder than having a dog. And I’m totally aware of that. But I truly believe that as someone who never grew up with pets, and therefore has never had to take care of a living thing in her entire life, owning a dog with Chris really is good preparation for when we reach the baby milestone. Here’s why:
We Are Learning Each Other’s Discipline Styles
I always predicted that, when we have kids, I would be the strict one and Chris would be the softie. Boy, was I wrong. As it turns out, Chris is the one who lays down the law with Otis, and I’m the one who babys him and gives in too easily. Maybe it’s because Chris has owned a dog before and I haven’t, but right now my lack of discipline skills makes me kinda worried for when we actually have kids! Despite the reasoning behind our discipline styles, I’m really glad Chris and I are learning this about each other now so we know what to expect in the future.
We Are Learning to Compromise and Communicate on a New Level
Owning a dog has come with a whole new set of responsibilities for us: walking him, feeding him, cleaning up after him, etc. Like our bills and household chores, Chris and I are learning to split these responsibilities evenly, as well as communicate Otis’ needs. If I wake up early to take Otis out, I expect Chris to wake up early and take him out the next morning. If Chris cleans up Otis’ mess, I will clean up the next one.
I’m Learning How to Spend My Money on Someone Else’s Needs
Other than the time I financially supported Chris while he was unemployed, I’ve spent my entire life spending my money on me and me only. Now that we have Otis, we’re finding ourselves spending a lot of money on him. Food, vet bills, toys, grooming supplies– there’s a lot of expense that goes into supporting a dog, and even more expenses with a baby (i.e. college tuition). I think learning how to budget for Otis’ needs is going to start getting me back in that mentality of financially supporting someone again, but this time, I’ll be providing financial support for life!
I’m Cleaning Up
Poop and vomit that is! I won’t go into too much detail on this topic, but yes, I’m getting used to picking up after Otis after he goes to the bathroom. Unfortunately, he’s sick right now so I get to clean up after him when he throws up, too.
I’m not getting much sleep
Since we got Otis, I don’t think I’ve gotten a full 8 hours of sleep once. We were letting him sleep on our bed for the first month we had him, which wasn’t the best idea because when he was ready to get up at 5am, he would jump all over us to wake us up. Now that he sleeps in his kennel, he will whine and bark early in the morning to wake us up. I think I’m averaging about six hours of sleep a night right now. Also, since I’m already a light sleeper, sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night if I hear him making any kind of noise in fear that something is wrong with him. Most of the time he’s fine so I go back to bed, but then have a hard time getting back to sleep. Make that six hours of interrupted sleep a night.
I’m Devoting My Free Time
Not only do dogs require food and vet visits, they require time and attention. They need to go on walks and they like to play and they need baths. I definitely feel like since we got Otis, I have less free time in my day because I’m devoting a lot of it to him (especially since his last owner was pretty neglectful). Sacrificing my time to tend to Otis is definitely good practice for when we have kids, because when we have kids, I imagine I’ll have NO free time whatsoever.
Do you have a pet? If so, do you feel like he/she is like a child to you?