A couple of weeks ago, I was a few cocktails in when, in one of those tipsy moments of “genius,” I suddenly knew exactly what was missing in my life:
I decided at midnight last night I was getting a dog. Sooooooo glad you can't order those from Amazon Prime.— daisy barringer (@daisy) June 2, 2013
When I awoke, I realized that no, it’s not a dog that’s missing in my life, rather it’s -- well, no one wants to hear about my broken relationship with my mother, my non-existent relationship with my father, and the fact that I’m going to die alone. So we’ll just skip ahead. What I didn’t need, I thought, was a dog. Something to take care of. Something that will rely on me. Something that will require me to be responsible, loving, and those things alone were enough to overwhelm me.
But then a few weeks passed. And I realized that I was still thinking about that dog. And that, oh, god: I really wanted one.
So, yeah. I’m getting a dog. Yay! But I’m not really sure which breed to get. I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really want a Saint Bernard, but that’s a BIG dog, yo. Like, I think you have to carry a shovel to pick up its poop. (Oh, god. Poop.)
So I need your advice. I’ve never been a dog owner before and I’m very nervous. I know it’s a big responsibility, but I am ready for it. And my therapist and I discussed it and we agree that it will be healthy for me to get a dog. In fact, technically, my dog will be a “Support Dog,” so that I can legally have him in my “No Dogs Allowed” apartment building. A dog will give me a reason to leave the house (I work from home) and the companionship will be a welcomed change in my life.
Or, as my middle brother said to me before I was even contemplating this: “Daisy, I think you should get a dog. Even you deserve unconditional love!”
And apparently a dog is the only place I’m gonna get it.
I’ve taken a few online quizzes about what kind of dog to get and I’ll be honest, I clicked “I prefer a dog with a shorter lifespan” on one of them. Which perhaps means I shouldn’t get a dog at all, but whatever. I’ve never been in a relationship that lasted longer than two years; I think it’s best if the dog and I don’t have to commit to 15 years together before we know if we even like each other.
The thing is the online quizzes keep recommending dogs I don’t really want. (No offense to the Scottish Deerhound or the Cane Corso.)
Here’s what I *think* I want in a dog:
- Super mellow
- Doesn’t need to be exercised vigorously -– I mean, I’m going to walk him, but I can’t have a dog that needs to go on daily runs since, ew, running
- Breed isn't known for aggressive tendencies -- which sadly rules out Huskies
- Likes the snow -– because, you know, Tahoe
- Not too needy
- Trainable -- with the help of puppy classes, etc.
Oh what? That sounds exactly like a Saint Bernard? I know. And before you freak out on me about the aggressive tendencies thing -- I know that with proper training, a dog known for being aggressive likely won’t be, but I’m too nervous that as a first-time dog owner that’s more than I can comfortably take on.
Now a little bit about me and what I can give to the dog:
- A spacious, clutter-free apartment, but no accessible outdoor space unless I take him out
- Lots of walks; daily time in a small dog park
- Weekends in Tahoe in the winter
- A brother downstairs in the same building who is willing to help out and said, “The dog better like the beach.”
- No cats or children –- never ever for the former and probably never for the latter one because my eggs are drying up at an incredibly rate and I don’t even know if I want them even though the psychic I saw last week said she sees me with two children AND “strongly encouraged” me to have them, which was weird, but whatever.
- Cuddle time
- Proper grooming
- Training classes
- A housekeeper who comes every other week and can help me out with cleaning. And who I could feasibly have come in more often. And who likes dogs.
But keep in mind: I’m kind of a neat freak. And I like to sleep late when I can. And I’m a bit of a hermit. Like, going to the dog park and talking to people terrifies me.
Frankly, the whole dog thing terrifies me because there’s so much I have to learn: what to feed it, how to brush it, when to bathe it, how to tie it up when I am running into the store, what to do at the dog park. But there are classes for new owners at the SFSPCA and so I’m going to take those.
I am also not sure if I want to rescue a dog. I KNOW. You hate me. But bear with me for a second. This is my first time doing this. I am doing this alone. I am nervous. And when rescuing dogs, you don’t know much about their past or their temperament. I really want to give a dog a good home, but I also want to make sure that dog fits with my lifestyle. We need to be compatible so that we can both be happy. I don’t think I’m prepared to “manage” a dog; rather, I feel like the dog and I will be best set up for success if we start and grow together. Of course, if I get a purebred puppy, I will do it the right way and go through a reputable breeder.
Mostly, I just want a dog I can love and who will love me back and be happy and healthy in my home.
So now you have all of the information. I know; it’s a lot. But any advice or help you can give me is welcome in the comments. I’ll reward you with adorable puppy pictures when I find the right guy!
Thanks for all that you do. xx.