We have officially been dog owners for 12 months. Here are 12 things I have learned so far about owning a dog.
- When the kids lie to your face and say they will “help with the dog” and you know in your heart that it will be all your responsibility but they look so earnest and sweet and you want to believe them. Trust your gut. Those sweet cherubs are completely full of crap and yet you will be in charge of picking up ALL of the crap.
- Rescue dogs can be fearful. They can be afraid of expected things like thunder and fireworks and car alarms. Also, they can be fearful of unexpected things like falling acorns and boys and wind and a weird sound 20 miles away and 1000 other things yet to be discovered.
- Our dog came with a file and a given name. Grover. We were very high and mighty and let him ‘keep his original name’ because we didn’t have the deep need to name him something we chose. Because we are mature that way. Also-there is no way the five of us could agree on a name. So now we call him Grover and Groves and Grovey and Grove Town Brown and Groveydoodle and G-Money. And Boodler. And the Boodle Boy. And occasionally Mr. Fluffnuts. He responds to all equally.
- You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Grover was 7 when he arrived. But when I pick up my keys he races to the door and plants himself in front of the garage door. If he refuses to eat but I say, “Grover…do you want a treat?” He peeks his head around the corner. After the years in a mill in seemingly terrible conditions, at our house Grover changes position based on the sun. He loves a good sunbeam. He is learning.
- I thought the kids would be disappointed. Grover doesn’t run up to greet us. He runs upstairs if the kids have friends over and it gets loud. He freaks out if you are male and try to pick him up. He only will ‘play’ late at night and only if he is in the mood. He almost never barks. He is just himself. Quirky. The kids are not disappointed. They talk about how hard life must have been for Grover in the puppy mill. They are patient with him. They pontificate on what might have happened to him. They want to make up for it. They worry about him when the weather gets bad and anticipate his fear. They celebrate the tiniest of successes. They have grown in empathy.
- You tell yourself you will not spoil the dog and you just spoil the dog in ridiculous ways including but not limited to: (sprinkling favorite treats over his food, pointing a space heater at him after a bath so he doesn’t get cold, bringing him on errands so he isn’t lonely, turning on white noise during a storm to help calm him, buying him 46 different treats to try to find what he likes best, leaving blankets in ALL his favorite corners so he is cozy, getting a teeny tiny dog life jacket in case he ends up on a watercraft?, leaving the television on when you are gone but choosing Paw Patrol and Mutt & Stuff and other shows you think he will like based on his vast experience with television, etc.)
- Owning a dog has set off a Yorkie themed episode of Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. As in, now that we have one we notice everyone on the planet who has a Yorkie, has a rescue dog, photos of Yorkies, people carrying Yorkie’s through the airport in leather boho bags, Yorkie greeting cards, people who have mixed breeds with a Yorkie and speculating on the Yorkie side personality traits. Yorkies. They are everywhere now.
- I decided one year ago to save every receipt for “Grover related expenses” to see what the actual cost of dog ownership is. Mistake. It turns out I don’t want to know.
- It is JUST as thrilling to take the dog in for a haircut as it is to get one yourself. Also-it costs the same and yet he smells far better for far longer.
- You will look into the eyes of your dog and you will sense on a cellular level that he is thirsty and you will buy a $6 artisanal spring water at Whole Foods since that is where you are. Later you will realize that if it were your own children, you would have told them to “just calm down and wait until we get home.”
- Other people who have rescue dogs are right. It does get better. They make great strides. Maybe we make great strides. They do become ‘an entirely different dog’ after a year. We have often found ourselves catching Grover ‘acting exactly like a dog’ and calling everyone else in the family over to witness it. We shriek- “HE’S DRINKING WATER!” It’s very exciting.
- I am still officially not a dog person. I’m not snuggling up with other dogs. I’m not excited to meet a new dog and have it jump around and lick my hand. I’m not planning my next 4 dog breeds to own. However, I have become a Grover person. I so love Grover. I have no regrets.
One thought on “Groversary”
Grover needed you guys. You guys needed Grover. That makes those rare snuggles even feel better