Just over a year ago, I brought home Gryphon. My love, my best friend, and my little fur-baby. I remember many people saying to me, “When you get a dog your life changes!” It always sounded so negative. At the time, I had no idea the impact this little doggo would have on my life…
For those of you who don’t know the story, I had resisted getting a dog for months. I scrolled Kijiji, SPCA sites, rescue animal sites, and more, but each time I saw a cute little face, I said, “Not yet.” But then the day came that I couldn’t resist any longer. The Sunday night of the 2019 Labour Day weekend, I tempted fate and messaged someone selling little “Bugginese” puppies (as he called them) near Guelph, Ontario. When he answered within 10 minutes for me to come the next day, I knew the wait was over… I was going to be a dog owner.
Off I went to Walmart, stocked up, and I drove four hours the next day to get the little Smush. When he whimpered just once in the car (when I think he knew he wasn’t going back) he captured my heart forever.
Now, just over a year later, I couldn’t be happier
This dog has taught me so much. It was definitely not clear sailing when I got him. We had a couple of rough patches as I adjusted to life with a dog. Now, I recognize that as much as could see all of the things I could give him – spoil him, love him, good home, etc – he ultimately taught me so many life lessons. A few of which I wanted to share with you today:
- Patience: Anyone who knows me, knows I lack(ed) this. I have been a fire-pants for a long time and it ultimately hasn’t served me well. With a puppy, it served me even less. It took him time to learn and time to adjust, and I had to be patient. Those times where I would take him outside for so long, patiently waiting for him to pee, finally giving up and I would take him in, only to have him pee on the floor seconds later – a deep breath was needed. This has rolled over to my everyday life now. Sometimes people are going to (metaphorically) pee on the floor. Take a deep breath and be patient.
- Consistency: Training a dog isn’t brutally difficult. I’m not saying it’s easy either; however, as a first-time dog owner, I have to say that consistency has been key. You want them to exhibit a certain behaviour or learn a trick? Praise and praise again. You don’t like something they are doing? Consistently discipline and teach them it’s not okay. Every day I am still consistent with my dog. It’s exhausting sometimes, but so rewarding when someone says, “He’s just a puppy? He’s SO well-behaved.” In those moments, I am a proud mommy. So much in our lives requires the consistency of a puppy: Health and wellness, raising kids, how we want to be treated in a relationship, work-life, etc. If you don’t like a certain behaviour, change it. If you like something, praise it. Don’t ignore the puppy crapping on the floor and be shocked when he continues to do it.
- I’m actually a homebody: When I said that I was getting a dog, everyone scolded me for how much I ran the roads and how I could “never have a dog with my lifestyle.” Well, guess what? I absolutely love being home now. Now, my home is my sanctuary and the activities I can do WITH my dog are my favourite. It still blows people’s minds how much my dog hikes – his highest elevation right now is around 300 m. He’s a hiking rockstar; in fact, most days he kicks MY butt up the hill. It also made me realize that I needed time at home to discover who I was and what I wanted. The only time (with the Gryphon) has been some of the best time for me to reflect and assess.
Dogs are truly your best friend
Just over a year ago if you had told me a dog would be my best friend, I would have thought you were crazy. Yes, I wanted a dog and they are super cute, but I didn’t know just how much this little furball would mean to me. To watch him grow, learn, and be generally awesome has all been an experience I can’t imagine living without. People were right when they said that my life would change – what they didn’t realize is how much it has changed for the better.
I’ll love this little man and hopefully have him for many, many years to come.