I like to joke that my dog is my favorite in the household. Of course, I’m joking (mostly). i wouldn’t put his life before my kids’ or my husband’s or even my own. But the truth is, even accounting for the extra work he creates for me, I would lose my godforsaken mind without him. Here’s how my pooch, Spencer, keeps me sane.
- He makes me get out of the house. Everyday. 365 days a year, I have to tie my sneakers or zip up my boots and get outside. This includes days that are so cold my face burns and days when I’m feeling down and would rather not face humanity at all. Unlike my kids, he can’t be talked into staying inside and watching a video. And you know what? The fresh air always makes me feel better.
- He makes me stop and talk to other people. You would think I would meet more people through my kids than my dog. But strollers aren’t conducive to chit chat and other parents are inevitably are in a rush. (I’m assuming this will change as my kids get older). With Spencer, however, there’s the whole sniff and dance as intricate as an opera. You’re forced to stop and converse with the other dog owner–or watch them lick each other’s butts.
- His needs are clear and simple. My dog needs food, water, exercise and affection. Give him those four things and he is happy. Simple. My 2.5 year old, well, he might ask for mac and cheese, but by the time I get it on his plate, he doesn’t want it and throws it on the floor. My 9-month old might start waking up 3x a night again after weeks of sleeping through it. Why? I have no idea. It’s a relief that my dog is so easily satisfied.
- He cleans up. Spencer is happy to eat food off the floor, including the hundreds of cheerios that my baby drops during every meal and the aforementioned mac and cheese. And unlike with the kids, I don’t mind that he does.
- He’s always there for me. I remember feeling overwhelmed about a month after we brought our first baby home. I was up in the middle of the night struggling to nurse my newborn son. And there was Spencer lying at my feet. The support I imagined him giving me was likely all in my head, but he was a comforting nonetheless at an hour when I couldn’t have reached out to my friends.
- He is happy with a pat on the head. Unlike my husband who wants every kiss and hug to end with intercourse.
- He doesn’t talk back. Or have opinions about where we’re spending the holidays or argue over who is more tired. He doesn’t care if I give him his food in the blue bowl when he wanted the red. He rarely whines and he only barks when someone comes to the door, which I can excuse because he’s trying to protect me.
- He’s my best buddy. My husband and I were always very careful not to call him “our baby”, even though he was the first living and breathing thing we were mutually responsible for. We knew we wanted kids of the human kind eventually and didn’t want there to be any confusion when they came along. HIs role became “best buddy” a title that 2.5 years into this child rearing thing, he happily retains.
And for those who wonder how I manage a baby and a dog, click for my tips.