5 Unfortunate Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Having a Dog

Well, after breaking down and finally rescuing a dog to rescue me from the sheer boredom of my own life, i realized that my motivation for getting the little guy may have been a little misguided. Don’t get me wrong, I love Karl. I don’t love the confusion that ensues when I talk about Karl and people think I’m talking about an individual named Karl, even when I say things like “When I feed karl this morning…” or “When I let Karl out to go to the bathroom…” Still, aside from those minor mix-ups, we’ve had a good time together, but it’s definitely been an adjustment. Some of the changes have been so minor, but I’ve learned several unfortunate life lessons since first getting the dog that I’d like to share with others thinking about getting a dog.

5. if you think you’re one of those people who won’t obsess over his/her own dog, you’re kidding yourself.

I was one of those people who was late to the whole “getting a dog” craze. I wanted to wait until I was in a better place to get a dog before I finally took the plunge. Even worse, as much as I love my friends, I’d seen what had happened to other around me. I wasn’t ready to become one of those baby talkers, who coos over every dog he sees on the street or has more pictures of his dog than he does of family, friends, or even himself. That was about 15 posed dog pictures ago. Yes, I caved and became one of those people. I can proudly say I haven’t caved and brought him in to take his picture with santa or anything (and yes, some people do that) so I figure I’m still safe, but the obsession with your own dog is almost instantaneous and absolutely unavoidable.

4. Having a dog around can be as much of a mood killer as having one of your parents around.

Okay, I understood going into it that life was gonna change for me when I got a dog, but I didn’t realize the extent of my boundaries, I guess. Karl is… an inquisitive guy. Whenever I find myself coming out of the shower, he’s always there to greet me at the door, stick his nose up my towel, and try to get a sneak peek. Now, maybe I’m weird, but I always get a little uncomfortable with being naked around animals. Okay, never mind, I know that I’m weird in that regard, but it gets even more awkward when you’ve got someone you’re interested in and the whole time all you can think about is the fact that the dog is watching with such intensity. It’s a bit of a buzzkill. Maybe I’m the only one who would be weirded out about this, but if you value your privacy, a dog may not be the right choice for you.

3. Dog flatulence, while it may sound funny, is no laughing matter.

I’m immature. I don’t pretend to be otherwise. What this boils down to is, I still laugh at farts. When I first got Karl, every time he would fart (which was astonishingly frequent) he would surprise himself. He’d look around confused and a little bit concerned. In a weird way, it was kind of adorable. Then the scent wafter over to me. After smelling it, the closest comparison I can find is a combination of fumes from a swamp mixed with mustard gas. One time when he was sitting on my lap, he let one loose and I actually had to shove him off because I had to run to teh bathroom for fear that I was going to throw up. Beware.

2. If you don’t want something vomited on, you can bet the dog will find it and throw up on it.

I get that dogs get nervous when they find themselves in a new environment. It’s understandable. What I don’t get is how they can find a way to vomit on the one valuable thing in an apartment full of crap. When Karl had an upset stomach one day, I set him up in his kennel with a towel for his upset stomach. He was just laying there lazily, until he started to gag. At this point, and the only time he did this that day, he got up and walked over to my pile of clothes. He stood over them for a solid ten or fifteen seconds, during which I tried to re-direct him to the towel, with little success. The sad thing is, I had just gone to the laundromat the day before to wash my clothes and in one fell swoop, Karl had undone four hours of work at the laundromat. I know it’s not his fault, but the talent for finding the only thing in the apartment that I didn’t want him to throw up on? Well, that’s just unreal.

1. Sleep is a luxury.

Don’t count on getting much shut eye. In between the midnight walks and the early morning feedings, I feel like I’ve got a newborn baby on my hands. Believe me, I know it’d be much more intense with a baby, but considering my hedonistic 20-something lifestyle, i take sleep where I can get it. Unfortunately, Karl doesn’t seem to be so young at heart. he likes his walks at 6 AM and his food by 8, not to mention his love of the Chicago nightlife, which includes pawing at me until I take him for a walk at about 11 o’clock at night. I’m sorry we can’t all be more like Karl, but sleep is still a valuable asset, which I’m beginning to miss more and more in my day to day life.

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