I've had Del for just over two years now, and I'm amazed at how much joy he continually brings into our lives. He has the ability to make us smile with a simple wag of his tail or being a big goof and skidding around corners because of the wooden floors. His zest for life is catching. I often find myself wanting to take a leaf out of his book.
I've realised over the past few weeks just how much I've changed since his arrival. He's taught me so much. So much that I didn't expect from him. I feel like a completely different person to the one I was before, and in a good way. I want to share how I believe having a dog has changed me for the better...
Being a young couple (with no children), getting a dog really changed our lifestyle. No longer could we go away for the night. No longer could we simply go out after work for a drink, or lie in until noon. No, we have responsibility now. So out go the non-dog friendly outings in our spare time, and in come the long walks and nights in.
At first, this really got to me. At one point I felt like I was missing out on a lot of social opportunities. It took us a while to get the right balance. It's turned into a balancing act. I can go out with my friends when my other half is there to look after Del, and vice versa. The problem comes when we want some time away together. We've learned to make the most of staying in and occasionally calling on friends to keep an eye on him (thanks Gemma and Friday!)
With being more responsible brings different ambitions. Now we're not spending money on going out all the time, we've become determined to own our own house to settle down in. Renting a house is no longer suitable. We need somewhere that is ours to call home. The responsibility that Del has brought with him has spurred us on to move on to bigger and better things.
I've never been a patient person. Having a dog (particularly a puppy) is probably the best way possible to test your patience. In particular, potty training was the thing that almost broke me. Who knew puppies needed to piddle so much? With issues like this, you have to adapt and learn to be patient. There were times when I thought I'd never get through it, but like most things you get through it and move on. Looking back, my over-reactions to potty training were quite funny, so I've also learned to look back and laugh :)
To put someone else first
I'm an only child, so putting other people first was never something I had to learn quickly as a young adult. Don't get me wrong, I've always considered other people when making any sort of decision, but it wasn't until we got Del that I had to start to lower my own needs down the pecking order. Those vet bills, early mornings and walking through all sorts of weather have to be done, so looking out for yourself first goes out the window.
I never thought I'd feel this strongly about an animal. Obviously, I love my family, partner and friends unconditionally, but a dog? Every day I look at Del and realise that I love him more as time goes on. He's become an integral part of our little family and we count our blessings that we found him.
Enough of the slushiness from me, now it's your turn!
What has your dog taught you the most? How has your dog changed you?
I'd love to know. Please feel free to share links to any posts you've written in the comments too so I can have a read if you've done this kind of post before. I look forward to hearing your responses...