How Becoming A Dog Dad Has Changed My Life

Guy in canoe with dog
Teddy Kelley

I really didn’t know what to expect the day I went to adopt. Of course, I had a dog in mind, and a breed I preferred, but I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. For the last two years, all I had done was fantasize about adopting my own puppy. It was going to be my present to myself after completing my Masters degree. But during that time and after my degree, I knew I couldn’t. I worked too far away from home and did too many hours.

Five months ago, my office moved closer to home, and I now had a ten minute bike commute to work. It was at this time that adopting became a reality. After looking into a few different rescues, I found one I loved, and went with it. On their website, I saw a few Aussie puppies I liked (I had one growing up) and eventually chose an adoption event to attend to bring home my pup.

I arrived at the event and was soon after hit by a huge rush of the realization for what I was about to do. This puppy was going to be with me for a LONG time. They were going to be with me when I eventually got engaged, married, bought a home, and later started a family. This was a very real commitment.

The rescue had a truck full of puppies, which I soon got in the line of. As it turned out, the Aussies I wanted didn’t make it on the truck due to them being too young. “Eh, I’m here, it can’t hurt to look,” I thought to myself. Everyone had told me, “You’ll know when you meet the right dog,” which I didn’t truly believe in, so I didn’t have my hopes up walking in.

I took three steps into the truck, turned to my left, and then I saw her.

This little Australian Shepherd puppy with one blue and brown eye, and big brown floppy ears outlined in black. She was currently being looked at by a young couple, but then she stopped and looked at me. The moment we locked eyes, she ran, jumped into my arms, and refused to leave. She was the one, and that feeling everyone had spoken about soon manifested. Since bringing her home, she’s changed me in so many wonderful ways.

1. She’s taught me to be more selfless.

This puppy runs my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s teaching me to see the best in others, which is something I sometimes struggle with. When I get home drained from work, and she needs to go out, I don’t have a choice. I know I have to take of her, and that’s a responsibility I took on when I brought her home. This is where I’ve strengthened my selfless muscle.

I have to take care of someone all of the time, whether I want to or not. This is teaching me to dig deep every day and to find more to give to others. It’s teaching me to put others first, even when I’m not exactly keen to it. My relationships with my friends, family, and significant other have all improved since bringing Ollie into my life.

2. I love more.

This is a cliche, but when you have someone giving you endless love every day, you can’t help but to do the same. She’s teaching me to give love to others all of the time. I always tell myself, if I can even give off a fraction of what this puppy gives me each day, then I can change the world around me for the better. My favorite saying is, “Give off the energy you want to attract.” Well, my energy is slowly changing to a more loving presence.

3. I feel okay saying ‘no.’

I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t suffer from social pressures of always going out and wanting to do something. This puppy is, in some respects, an excuse. She’s an excuse to stay in and love on her and take care of myself without feeling guilty for not going out. Not to mention, she makes staying in better.

I have a tough time with being alone, but since she’s been with me, I feel more comfortable when I’m by myself. I don’t feel as anxious and needing of someone else’s presence. Granted, it’s not complete solidarity, but I’m becoming happier with myself when I’m alone.

4. I care less about minor details.

Ollie’s teaching me to give less f*cks. Not in the sense of caring less, or being less responsible, but caring less about minuscule things. I have to frequently get on Ollie about little things, “Don’t chew that, don’t poop there, stopping licking that,” the list goes on. When I continually focus my extra energy on teaching her, I begin to prioritize what’s important in my personal life. I don’t have time to stress and care about little things I used to before.

Basically, giving Ollie my extra attention has subconsciously taught me how to rank what’s most important for me to give energy to in my personal time. If you only have a certain amount of time, what are you going to choose to get done and devote energy to. TC mark

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