Being a dog owner, or pet-parent as we prefer to call it, is one of the most under-appreciated jobs in the entire world. Everything may seem like lollipops and rainbows over here, but believe me, you are dead wrong.
If you are thinking about welcoming a fur-baby into your life, or just want to understand what it's like to have one, you'll need to check out these 7 misconceptions about being a dog owner.
This is the most common misconception about being a dog owner. We hate to burst your bubble, but life is about to change. BIG TIME!
Nothing is the same when you welcome a dog into your life. Everything from your morning routine, to planning a day trip will become drastically different than what you are accustomed to.
Thinking about going to the beach with some friends? Better make sure it's dog friendly.
How about that coffee date with the cute guy from work? Can you leave your pup at home for a couple hours, or will you have to cut the date short to beat traffic?
If you are considering getting a dog, make sure you prepare yourself for life to flip itself upside down.
Travelling with dogs is great! In theory.
Dogs love to explore, romp through new and exciting terrain, and will pretty much follow you anywhere you go. They make pawfect adventure buddies!
However, traveling with your dog requires a lot of pre-planning and organization. No last minute trips for you! You'll have to pack treats, food, water, portable bowls, pet wipes, poop bags, dog first aid kit, booties, towels, blankets... The list goes on and on.
Soon enough, your doggy bag will be so weighed down, you won't want to lug it into the woods. Get used to carrying a backpack everywhere you go.
And don't even get us started on trying to find pet friendly accommodations.
The idea of getting a dog will be shot down faster by your mother than that time you asked for permission to get a tribal tattoo on your lower back.
"Think of how this will affect your life, Alyssa. Dogs are a big commitment."
What most people fail to realize is that dogs are more common than babies nowadays. You are way more likely to see a 20-something year old with a puppy than a human child, yet everyone is shocked at the thought of YOU adopting one yourself.
If you are planning on adopting a dog, be prepared for the amount of criticism you will receive from family and friends. On top of that, it will absolutely shock you how many people will suggest re-homing your dog when life gets tough.
In theory, dogs are nomadic creatures, who roam the land with no rules or regulations. In the real world, you better pray your dog doesn't accidentally poop on the wrong beach.
It's crazy to think that, in a world where dogs are outnumbering children, there is a serious lack of dog-friendly areas. Even cities voted "most dog friendly in Canada" consist of one dog beach, and a handful of sad looking, dirt filled parks.
Did you know that, unless there is a sign saying otherwise, all public areas are on-leash only or "no dog" zones? You can actually get a ticket for walking your dog off leash in the forest, miles and miles away from civilians. (Speaking from experience here.)
Once you've become a dog parent, you will quickly realize how many places you are not allowed to take your pooch.
Unless you are planning on purchasing a house, or already own one, consider yourself one of thousands of desperate dog-moms looking for a place to live. In cities like Vancouver, where the vacancy rate is less than 1%, you will be fighting tooth, claw, and wallet against all the other parents out there looking for a place to call home.
Dogs under 20lbs have it a little easier, as most dog-friendly buildings accept small dogs, but big guys are out of luck. If you can find a place that will accept your two, 60 lb pit bull crosses, you deserve an award.
Word of advice: either wait to get a dog until you've purchased your own house, or buy a nice tent.
This one seems obvious, but apparently, most people don't understand the amount of work it takes to raise a living, breathing animal.
Dogs have to be fed, watered, taken outside for potty breaks, exercised, socialized, entertained, loved, and trained. You become their slave the moment they enter your home, and there's no looking back for 10-14 years.
There's no doubt that the effort is worth the reward, but that doesn't mean you won't be absolutely exhausted some days. You will have moments where you want to send your dog back to the shelter.
He will eat your shoes, pee on your floor, and demand attention when you really don't have time to give it. You'll be so incredibly frustrated, but then quickly realize that he relies on you for everything. Dogs depend on their humans for every single aspect of their lives, from health to happiness.
You've welcomed this creature into your home, and you must care for it with every fiber of your being. Even on the bad days.
In the grand scheme of things, general doggy care is not that expensive. Food can cost less than that of a human, toys aren't completely necessary, and most dogs are scheduled to see the vet once per year.
In a perfect world, dogs would only cost what we budget for them.
However, your budget does not account for accidents, stomach aches, food allergies, weight loss or gain, random destruction of household items, fuel to take your pup to the park, and so much more. Dogs are filled with surprises. EXPENSIVE surprises.
Before owning a dog, you probably never knew that a last minute or "emergency" vet visit costs $80 once you walk through the door. Regardless of the injury or incident, whether it's treatable or not, you will have to pay an emergency fee for rushing your dog to the vet. If you schedule in advance, you're looking at $67. Slightly more affordable.
But that's not always the case when your dog swallows a tennis ball, or eats a poisonous plant. Count yourself, and your wallet, lucky if you've never had to leave your pup at the vet's overnight. Ouch!
Other random doggy costs include impulse purchases like shiny collars, leashes, and toys. Treats are another fun money grab. The healthier, the better! And you just LOVE to spoil your pooch.
It's easy to see how a monthly budget of $150 quickly grows to much, much more. (Shhh! We won't tell if you won't.)
Life as a dog parent is a daily struggle, but also the most rewarding thing in the entire world. Yes, there are times when having a dog makes your life so difficult, you can't imagine a happy ending. Those days will be tough, but you'll have your pup to help get you through them.
Snuggle him, and look deep into those puppy dog eyes. He loves you, and that's why he's worth the effort.