Gone to the dogs

04172016_Gone to the dogsAs the saying goes, you appreciate your parents more when you’re older or have children of your own. But I now believe that you really appreciate them if you grew up with a dog in your household and are now the primary caregiver of one. Having a dog as a child and being responsible for a dog as an adult, I quickly realized after getting a pooch, are very different. So, a big thank you mom and dad, for not just one but two dogs in my childhood!

T had a dog on the top of his birthday and Christmas list ever since he was 5 years old. A common question in our house, next to one about owning an Xbox was ‘But, whyyyyyyyyy can’t we get a dog?’ It was something hubby and I never really considered, and casually tried to brush off the repeated request with an explanation that it just wasn’t right for our family. But then about last summer, I found myself asking a crazy question: ‘Why not get a dog?’ Crazy, indeed.

On December 1st, Mogly entered our lives. He was just over one year old, and was previously a street dog who ended up in a shelter in Cypress. The agency we adopted Mogly from rescued him in September, and he temporarily lived with a lady and her 3 dogs here in Germany until we adopted him. He was a very anxious dog, who clearly had horrific experiences with people in his short life. But the lady he initially lived with managed to help build Mogly’s confidence, and taught him to enjoy playing with other dogs and enjoy tummy rubs. In spite of his anxiety around strangers, he is really just a normal, sweet doggy.

It took a lot of adjustment in our lives to get used to having a four-legged companion around. The first day was especially painful, as he barked for a number of hours after his former caregiver drove away. He wanted nothing to do with us, and just sat on his little bed and shook. T and I slept downstairs on the couch for the first few nights, trying to give him some comfort that we were nearby. On the second night I heard him creep off his bed and click, click, click over to his dish to finally eat something for the first time. As he clicked, clicked, clicked back to his bed, I heard him stop. I looked over at him and caught him staring straight into my eyes, with a look that spoke ‘Can I trust you?’ before going click, click, click back to his bed.

As my back couldn’t take another night of couch slumber, I opted for the comfort of my own bed. In the middle of the night, we awoke to the sound of something very loudly making his way up the stairs to our room, stopping on each stair to scratch at the carpet runner. He slowly crept into our bedroom, stopped at the foot of our bed, and for the first time wagged his stubby little tail at us. It was a momentous moment for sure. But what came next was even more historic…hubby, who vowed that the dog would never be allowed up on our bed, made room beside him, patted the bed and said ‘Come up!’ to which Mogly happily did.

I never envisioned how much work a dog can be! My memories of having a dog were blissful childhood ones, where I could interact with my doggies when I felt like it. Daily feeding, maintenance, and poopy care aren’t in those memories. After the first week Mogly was with us, he started to come into my office mid-morning and circled around my chair while whimpering and wagging his tail with hope. I couldn’t figure out what he wanted – he had his breakfast and was let out the backyard to do his business. After a while I finally clued in…he wanted a walk! I did a few internet researches on the topic and discovered that dogs should be walked at least twice day, for exercise, mental stimulation and to prevent him from chewing your furniture.

So, added to our daily routines was a morning and late afternoon walk. When T is in school, and unless his first class is canceled (which happens usually twice a week, but that’s for another blog), the morning walk is made with me or hubby. T then takes on the afternoon walk, and for someone who previously claimed a preference to eat cut glass than go for a walk, he has yet to complain about his new responsibility. I sometimes jog along beside Mogly while he just walks faster (hmpf!), and T likes to inline skate with him, often along with his friends.

The downside of owing a dog? Increased vacuuming, holes dug in your backyard, snatched pizza off the table, missing socks, holes chewed in your curtains, vet and insurance costs, and endless times picking up poop. The benefits? Being warmly greeted at the door every time you arrive home, couch snuggles, the soothing feel of doggy fur during petting time, exercising more, discovering new forests to walk in, and watching your son love and care for something with great intensity.

04172016_Gone to the dogs2Dogs apparently lower stress levels, help ward off depression, and lower risk for general illness as they expose a lot of germs which helps build up our immunity systems. So, I don’t think we have gone to the dogs. In fact, I believe Mogly is here to teach us…especially about patience and unconditional love.

Just wish I could teach him to vacuum.

4 thoughts on “Gone to the dogs

  1. What an awesome post! We have enjoyed the dynamic that Blu brings and I enjoy our morning walk while Sonya prepares our morning shake.


  2. More hair on the floor but less crumbs, its a trade off! Its more than I can say for my cat who participates at no level whatsoever…


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