It’s Not You. It’s My Dog.
Dear new pup parents at the dog park on this beautiful January morning,
I see you.
I see the fresh, new adventure that you and your pup are embarking on.
I see responsibility hanging on both sides of your dog-park-friendly jeans, a treat pouch to the right and a poop bag to the left.
I see your effort stuffed in the bags under your eyes as you watch your puppy skip two steps ahead of you and hop one step back, attempting to push boundaries but never venturing too far.
I see your dedication—along with his best friend, frustration—as you try to teach your distracted pup to lie down in the middle of a crowded dog park.
And I can also see your return home, to a puppy-proofed apartment, thoughtfully prepared. Wires are neatly tucked away, baskets crammed full of toys, bedroom and bathroom doors diligently sealed off. After all, avoiding puppy accidents starts at home!
And, although you've just spent the last two hours of your life at the dog park, your puppy's energy is unrelenting. So you give in and spend another 30 minutes playing, running, walking, chasing, wrestling and treating.
Finally, your puppy is ready for a nap. And so are you. His bed of choice is the three-inch space between you and your partner. His sleeping position is an awkward sprawl that only a puppy can make look comfortable. So you both hold completely still for as long as it takes because naps are important for growth and development—and because you’ll do anything to not have to play, run, walk, chase, wrestle or treat again. At least not for another hour.
I see you because I see me too.
I know about the late-night potty breaks and the extra hour at the park in the bone-chilling fog. I know about the whimpers you're told to ignore during crate training, while the guilt eats you up like chocolate cake. I know the obsession of reading product reviews line by line because you just want the best for your pup. And don't even get me started on workdays that last a lifetime because your pup is all by HIMSELF!
I also know who doesn't see you.
Your friends, who have included you in that giant email chain of capital letters, exclamation points, memes and emoticons: "EPIC DINNER PARTY: WEDNESDAY AT 6PM RIGHT AFTER WORK!"
Your co-workers, who had a really long week at work and want to take advantage of happy hour at the local watering hole.
Your pet-less family members who roll their eyes because your dog is "just a dog," while their newborn is "a real-life human child."
It's not that you don't want to attend epic dinner parties, participate in happy hour frivolity, or go to another celebration of your newborn niece's arrival. It's that you know that there is someone special waiting for you at home. For the potty breaks. For the perpetual playtime. For the awkward sofa seating configurations. Because you know that what might seem like surface-level events to another, are actually moments that make your bond with your pup unbreakable.
So, go on! Be exhausted. Let your leg fall asleep alongside your napping pup. Miss a few happy hours in exchange for your triumphant return home.
I see you. And I support you.
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