Simba and I have been together for a full year as of yesterday. It’s insane to think I have had this monster for 365 days! We have had our ups and downs (especially in the beginning), I have laughed and cried because of him, but through thick and thin I have learned a lot just from having him in my life. Shout out to Erin for trusting me to take on this responsibility because without him my life would be VERY different.
Here is a list in no particular order of the things I have learned from owning a dog:
- No one will EVER love me as much as he does.
Seriously, there is just so much love. Being by my side (or actually on my side) makes him the happiest dog in the world. His kisses come every day all day whether I feed him or walk him or play with him, he will always lick me…sometimes to the point where I feel my skin may actually start to fall off.
- A free dog isn’t free.
I agreed to take on Simba knowing I could financially afford to take him on. I had my inheritance that I was willing to tap into to give Simba the best life possible, however I wasn’t quite expecting the cost associated. Now, Simba attends daycare 3-4 days a week which is a huge expense and that is my choice so I am not even counting the $191 for every 5 visits…but Simba has had two major dental cleanings and extractions because he has horrible teeth and each visit was $1000+. He eats his weight (okay its only 17 pds) in food and treats…and dog food is NOT cheap. He loves to chase tennis balls and throw around toys and in order to keep him away from my beloved shoes or knickknacks I have spent up to $100+ on toys and blankets for him to use. Also, he came with balls – like male balls, not toy balls…I was not okay with this. He needed to be neutered because I just believe that all dogs and cats should be spayed or neutered – $125 later…plus the cost of the cone to keep him from licking his stitches. My “free dog” has cost me a small fortune…why haven’t I complained? Because Simba deserves a good life and he is a good dog and I want to make him happy. He is my family. He was adopted to have my last name…I will forever take care of him…even if I go broke trying.
- People like you more when you have a dog.
It’s true…people I have never talked to have come out of the woodwork on Facebook, twitter, instagram and even in my own neighborhood. At my cottage I was walking down the street and someone said “hi” and introduced themselves and I said I was “Nicole, the owner of Simba the cocker spaniel” They replied “Oh we know Simba, he is so cute…my daughter loves him!” Seriously…people know my dog before they know me? How does that even happen!!?? People are much more social when they know you have a dog – at least in my opinion
- Your priorities change when you have a dog.
My friends have cats and they come or go as they please. I don’t feel that same freedom and it doesn’t bother me. If I want to go away during the day, I will bring him to daycare to play and be taken out to pee or poop, but if I want to go away overnight I only have two choices…don’t go, or find someone to take care of him. My mom has been amazing and she watches him all the time for me, but if I can’t find someone to watch him or if I feel bad that he has started to become more of my moms dog than mine, I stay home. Pre-Simba I literally came and went whenever and wherever I wanted. Pittsburgh for a weekend – sure! Hop on a plane to Chicago to buy a wedding dress..lets go! Stay out all night watching movies with friends…not a problem. Now my life needs more planning, some things don’t happen…but I love Simba and any sacrifice I make it 100% worth it!
- A dog really is man’s best friend.
I’m a woman so this analogy doesn’t really work but I can honestly say that without Simba, this year would have been much more difficult for me. Between my dads passing, the ice storm with no power, moving, isolation, loneliness – it may have gotten the best of me. But I had to keep it together to walk, feed and take care of Simba. Also when I was on the brink of losing it, Simba would snuggle up to me, paw at me, lick me or act crazy which always makes me giggle. He doesn’t care if I’m fat or thin, rich or poor, happy or sad. He doesn’t care at all if I’m late or early, if I’ve got makeup on, if my socks match, if my clothes are clean or if my bed is made (actually he prefers it unmade cause he just rolls around it anyway). He’s just naturally good. He is my best friend. I never get sick of seeing him…ever.
Yes this past year has been hard and I have learned a lot about dogs and how to take care of them, but I have had constant support from friends who have given me advice, encouragement and support when I thought I’d lose the battle with him and it’s turned out to be a good year shielding the bad. Thanks Simba YOU are loved.
Also a shout out to Mary who knew Simba would do better in a different home and was strong enough to give him away. You are a wonderful woman for doing so!