There is no doubt that adopting a dog will change your life in dramatic ways. Whether you are adopting from a breeder or taking in a rescue, there are few things that can prepare you for what is about to happen.
Even if you have had dogs your entire life, adopting a new dog will be a completely different experience than the last. Just like people, every dog has their own personality and they will touch your life in their own unique way.
There are, however, some experiences that are universal. Whether you’re bringing home a puppy from a breeder or taking in a rescue, here are 9 ways your life will surely change:
Research has found that having a dog will make you healthier, happier, and improve your overall enjoyment of life.
Dog owners have lower blood pressure readings, report less anxiety, and have a reduced risk of heart attack.
Most significantly, people who have dogs are more active than people who don’t. Walking is one of the healthiest, low impact, exercises for humans and you’re more likely to get out there and move your body when you have a dog at your side.
Dogs are also known to reduce depression in their humans. They provide love and support in times when no one else may be readily available. With increasingly busy schedules and segmented living, loneliness is a growing threat to mental health. Dogs make sure you are never lonely.
Let’s face it, dogs are funny. And your dog? Well, it’s the most hilarious. As you grow with your dog, you will come to truly love and embrace all their quirks and behaviors and not a day will go by where you don’t chuckle at something they’ve done.
Not only will you laugh more, you’ll smile more. Humans smile at the sight of their dogs and it stands to reason that you won’t be any different.
Your days of sleeping in may be numbered. Your schedule is about to become your dog’s schedule. If your dog wants to get up at sunrise, as their best friend, you can be sure they’ll get you up as well.
And dinner time will become a major event in your life. If you are home and have not filled up that bowl at the exact moment the clock strikes ‘dinner,’ you’ll hear about it.
Over time, this just becomes how you live. You’ll adjust your life and become in sync with your dog’s needs and habits. And some of their habits will become tailored to yours as well. They’ll figure out when you’re likely to be around for a walk or when it is time to settle down for the night. They know it isn’t always about them.
Dogs are moochy little creatures. Whatever you’ve got, they want too. And they don’t always give you much option when it comes to sharing. They’ll take over your sofa or your bed. They’ll want whatever it is you are eating, even if you never give it to them.
Most significantly, you’ll learn to share your time and your money. Dogs are an investment in both. There always seems to be something you’ll need to buy for your dog. Whether it is trips to the vet, more food or treats, or another sweater or plush toy, it adds up. But more than ‘stuff,’ your dog wants your time. They just like being with you and you’ll learn to share this time as often as possible.
It isn’t always easy or convenient, but you’ll share these things with them because you love them and it’s just what a family does.
Sometimes, dogs misbehave and sometimes that will make you angry. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Sometimes your dog is angry at you too.
Maybe they have eaten your favorite shoe, or torn through a pillow and spread the stuffing all over the living room. Maybe they have chewed a valued piece of furniture.
You’re allowed to feel frustrated. All loving relationships have ups and downs. As long as you don’t punish your dog, or harm your dog, everything will be fine.
And remember, frustration is a two-way street. Sometimes your dog wants to go for a slow walk and take in all the scents. Sometimes they don’t want to be in a hurry and don’t like that you are rushing them. Sometimes, they are trying to tell you something and are making a racket because of it or maybe they’re getting into trouble because you are ignoring them. You don’t like it when they ignore you, well, they don’t like being ignored either.
This leads us to the next point.
Once the anger has passed, you’ll be better able to understand what is behind your dog’s behavior.
Maybe you didn’t have time for your morning walk and so they were bored when they ate the shoe. Maybe you weren’t paying attention when they tried to tell you they needed to go outside and that’s why they messed on the carpet.
Sometimes your actions contribute to these negative behaviors. Understanding your role in these events can be applied in other areas of your life as well. It never hurts to take a step back and look at your own behavior in the face of things that make you angry or frustrated. It can improve all relationships.
Well, you won’t lose the account directly but it will be hijacked. Every time your dog does anything even remotely adorable, you will snap a pic, post it and share. And that’s just fine. Think of the amount of time you spend looking at viral videos and pictures of other people’s pets and how wonderful it makes you feel. Your post could be making someone else feel wonderful. The world can be an ugly and scary place sometimes and sharing your joy with others is never a bad thing.
When you have a dog, it becomes nearly impossible to walk down the street without talking to people. Most dogs love making new friends, canine and human, so be ready to make some new friends yourself.
Off-leash dog parks are a perfect example of this at work. Your dog will make friends with certain dogs and before you know it, you’re planning play dates and meeting up each day. While your dog is off running around and getting to know their play-pack a little better, you can get to know the owners!
Pet hair may have bothered you in the past. It may have been irritating to get home from visiting someone who had animals only to find your clothing covered in hair . Well, all of that is about to change. No matter how much you clean, or how careful you are, dog hair will find its way onto your clothes. Before long, it will just be a part of your wardrobe.
One of the greatest things about having a dog is the love they show you, freely and unconditionally. No matter how your day has gone, or how much you’ve messed up, no matter, what you look like, to your dog, you are everything and you are perfect. And frankly, you’ll feel the same. It is truly one of the most incredible things you can experience in your life.
And isn’t that the point? Adding more love to your life can’t hurt, it can only help.