Friday, October 9, 2015

13 Things They Don't Tell You About Being A Dog Mom

When you become a dog Mom, people come out of the woodwork with tips and advice. What kind of pee pads to use. The best dog toys. Which foods to avoid. Their preferred dog groomers and trainers. How much play time your fur-kid should get. Veterinary Hospital recommendations. What shampoo and conditioner to use. The list goes on. And on. And on.

From what I hear, it's the same for humans who have babies. They're bombarded with advice.

Here's what they don't tell you about being a dog Mom...

1. Your sleep schedule will change. Fur-kids embrace routine and keep strict schedules. Our kids do. Sleeping in on the weekends? Forget it. They want breakfast at a certain time. If we're a half hour late feeding them dinner, they let us know. They have certain times they like to nap. And bedtime? If Lisa isn't in bed by 9 p.m., Coco paces and barks, Sophie becomes lil' Miss Grumpy Pants and Lobo curls up in a tiny ball and burrows his head into the pet pillow. If one of us is napping and they have to "do their business", they get in our face and whine. Instant alarm clock.

2. Visits to the pet aisle will become habitual. Going to Target or Walmart to pick up a few things? Twenty minutes tops? Consider adding a few minutes to stroll down the pet aisle. Toys. Beds. Blankets. Apparel. Not only do they have their regular selection, but the seasonal stuff is always changing. And, if you're in a plaza with an entire store dedicated to pets, consider scratching off another hour or two.

3. Every snack you make, every bite you take, they'll be watching you. Plan on never eating alone again. This goes for prepping food as well. And, if you think you're going to tip-toe by a sleeping fur-kid with a snack, forget it. Not happening. I've attempted to master this for several years. Epic fail.

4. The guilt. As mentioned many times before, Lisa and I very seldom venture out together. When we do, it's not for great lengths of time. Whether we're going to the grocery store or enjoying a few hours of leisure time away from home, the guilt is always there. It surfaces about 15 minutes after we leave the house. Once the guilt hits full force, I ask Lisa, "Are we home yet?"

5. You'll start having conversations with your fur-kids. All day. All night. At first, you're cautious about who hears you...especially during the warm weather months when the windows are opened. Or, if you're outdoors, and find yourself deeply involved in a discussion with your fur-kid, you'll quickly look around to see if anyone is watching. However, it doesn't take long for you to simply not give a shit who hears you and how crazy they think you are. Shortly after that, like with parents of human babies who develop baby talk, you'll adapt your own fur-kid tone and lingo.

6. A few, or a lot, of friends and family members won't understand. We can testify to this. A few friends and family have distanced themselves from us. It started the first couple of days after we adopted Coco. Then, when Sophie joined our family, more criticisms rolled in. When we adopted Lobo in February, that was the cherry on top of the sundae. Our circle of friends is small. Our circle of family is even smaller. Some humans don't get it and that's okay. They'll either come around or stay away. Learn to deal with both.

7. You'll become hyper-protective. People have jokingly said we're too overprotective. We have a fenced in yard so why don't we leave the kids out by themselves? How come we don't take our kids to the dog park? Why don't you take all of your kids to an event? Why don't you hire a pet sitter so you can enjoy a weekend getaway? These, and other, questions are thrown at us left and right. We have our reasons why. We're more than happy to share our reasons why. Just the other day I explained why we don't leave our kids unattended in our fenced in yard. They had no idea those dangers lingered. What it boils down to is we know our kids inside and out. We know what's best for them and what they like and don't like. We know what scares them and makes them uncomfortable. Decisions are made based on that. This will happen to you as well.

8. You'll stop caring about the fur on your clothes, sofa and bed. Stop investing in lint rollers. They're useless. Fur-kids shed. Even if you run through the house with a vacuum daily, there's still going to be fur. Get used to it. Consider it a part of your wardrobe. If guests start complaining because there is a trace amount of fur on the sofa, they can stand. Never apologize. Your guests don't live there. You do. Your fur-kid does.

9. The term "just a dog" will make you cringe. In time, it'll make your blood boil. You'll probably have the urge to punch someone in the throat. Exhale. Resist the temptation. I've lost count how many times I have walked away from someone who replied to what I said with, "They're just dogs..." I've hung up on people who have said that. Ignored emails and private messages. Severed ties. If anyone views our kids as just dogs, they're assholes. They have no place in our life.

10. Heading out for the afternoon will become a process. The days of "grab and go" are a thing of the past. Making sure your fur-kid is all set to be alone for a few hours is a process. First, the snuggle time before you go. During snuggle time, you're explaining to your fur-kid that you'll be back in a bit. Second, a little snack just in case they get hungry while you're gone. Third, a stroll around the house to make sure they're favorite toys can easily be found. Fourth, fix all the blankets on the bed, sofa and pet pillows. Fifth, more snuggles, Then, finally, you inch yourself towards the door and make an exit.

11. Outings with your fur-kid/s will revolve around "no dogs allowed." In a dog-friendly world, our options wouldn't be limited as to where we can take our kids. Unfortunately, that's not the case. While we'd like to take our fur-kids shopping and out to lunch, very few stores allow this. I have yet to find a restaurant that allows our kids as well. More and more parks and beaches are posting "no dogs allowed" signs. The choices are slim. When we take our kids on an outing, it usually includes a scenic ride and a trip to the ice cream stand before heading home.

12. You'll never pee alone. If your a Mom of a human child, you can testify to the lack of privacy in the bathroom zone. The same holds true for dog Moms. I always have company while sitting on the toilet. Coco will pace and try to sneak off with a roll of toilet paper. Sophie curls up on the floor if there are dirty clothes on the floor, neatly piled by the sink. Lobo stands at my feet making his "pick me up, Mom" noise.

13. You will experience a love you've never known. Fur-kid love is unlike any other. A part of your soul is awakened and continuously rejuvenated. You're their world. It's not just about you. They're a part of your family and you treat them as such. Your life revolves around them. When they're sick, you cancel plans and keep them close. You know in the deepest part of your being that if anyone tried to harm them, you'd do whatever it took to protect them. They're always in your thoughts. You anticipate coming home because you know they're going to be excited. Lots of juicy kisses. And, in return, they give you the most purest of unconditional love. They know when you're sad, sick, frustrated, stressed, and everything between. It's a love like no other.

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