This week we’ve been talking about the tough parts of marriage.
We wanted to leave the week on a more uplifting note, though, and since today is my eldest’s birthday, I thought she could write a quick, lighthearted post about something she loves.
And what she really loves is her dog that she and Connor adopted last year. So I thought all you dog lovers would enjoy it!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a dog.
My dad was super allergic, though, and we travelled a lot as a family so it just never happened. But for Christmas I’d get a Sleepy Puppies calendar, in art class I’d draw fluffy Pomeranians and droopy bloodhounds, and when I wrote short stories the love interest always had a dog.
Fast forward to university. I met a guy who was just as obsessed with dogs as I was–he had a whippet and a boxer growing up, and his parents had just adopted their first rescue pup, too. When Connor saw how stressed I was with school and how much the corgis who hung out around campus helped, he started seriously considering getting a dog for us.
I think he was a little less thrilled when I said I wanted a tiny toy breed, but I quickly won him over.
We looked for the right dog for months. I didn’t want to do the whole pet shop thing because of the puppy mills that the dogs come from, so we researched breeders and looked on Kijiji for older dogs that needed homes.
And then we found Winston.
I saw Winston online, called his owner, and then called Connor and told him, “I found a dog, we’re going to meet him tonight!”
Within 5 hours, he was our precious Yorkshire Terrier.
I was so happy that I don’t think I stopped crying for about 4 hours after we got him. We adopted our Yorkie directly from his previous owners who simply couldn’t take care of him anymore because of a family situation. We brought him home on March 31st, and I remember telling Connor, “I’m just so scared I’m going to wake up tomorrow and find out this has just been a huge April Fool’s joke!”
When we got him, he wasn’t entirely house trained (as our couch soon found out), and he hadn’t been groomed in 9 months (which is bad for Yorkies) so he hated being brushed, and was used to eating human food almost exclusively. So it was a bit of work to get him to learn what his new rules would be. He still hates getting brushed, especially his face.
Getting Winston has made me even more grateful to have married someone like Connor.
I live in my head a bit. I’m constantly thinking about “What if?” and have 1 million dreams at any given moment that I’m working towards.
Connor’s a bit more spontaneous than I am. I said, “I want a dog” and he says, “That sounds great” and actually gets me a dog. If I was on my own, I likely would have talked myself out of it.
When Winston started having joint problems, Connor kept his cool when I was freaking out. When he stopped eating, Connor reminded me that kibble probably just doesn’t taste as good as the human food he’s used to (and sure enough, he started eating again after 48 hours).
But at the same time, I’m the one who makes sure that he does his exercises for his knee, keeps up with vet visits and grooming, and goes for walks (although we can’t get him to walk in the winter–any small-dog owners in colder climates with tips? Right now I’m just getting him to play a lot indoors so he gets exercise).
We balance each other nicely, and having Winston has brought us even closer.
Most of all, having a dog has just made me stupidly happy.
I think that we often forget that sometimes it’s the small things that bring the most joy. For me, it’s a 5-pound grumpy old-man yorkie. Yes, it’s a lot of work and having a dog is a bit inconvenient when it comes to travelling. But as an extrovert who works from home and finds it difficult to be “in the moment” he is the perfect companion.
It’s difficult to get too caught up worrying about the future when this face is staring up at you, asking for belly rubs:
But having a dog has actually helped our marriage become even more fun. And here’s how:
1. More time together
This is the most obvious one. We take walks, we teach him tricks (he’s actually quite smart), and we just spend time playing with him. We spent time together before the dog, of course, but it’s nice to have that shared play time where we can just be silly rough-housing with the dog (as much as you can rough-house with a 5 pound yorkie).
2. Winston reduces the stress level in the house
I’m very high-strung. Having a dog has helped so much. I am so grateful I had him over this summer when I was working on launching my book! I just sat at my desk with my tiny dog in my lap for hours and feeling him cuddle up to me made the stress just melt away when before I likely would have begun to panic.
3. He keeps us on a schedule
I have to feed him, walk him (or get him to exercise inside if he won’t brave the cold), and give him enough attention for him to feel loved and secure. It helps my days feel more structured, even when I’m sick or overwhelmed with work.
4. We spend more time just cuddling
We’ll lie in bed reading books with Winston curled up between us every night. It’s my favourite part of the day!
5. We share a bond with our dog
I’m not one of those people who thinks that having a dog is the same as having a kid (please, most parents would give anything for their kid to sleep more than half the day), but you do feel quite protective when you have a dog. He’s yours, and Connor and I really feel like we’ve made a little family. And it makes us feel so much closer to have that shared love that no one else really gets.
This year has been such a blessing for our marriage.
We’re both working and out of school, we’ve finally found an apartment without any violent crime or black mould, and we have our little dog. I’m looking forward to what 2018 will bring our family!
Thanks, Honey! And Happy Birthday! (And Winston is really cute).
Becca’s on her way over right now because she’s hosting Katie’s bachelorette party. A whole lot of girls are coming to our house, and Keith and I are vacating. So she’ll spend her birthday celebrating Katie’s upcoming wedding. It’s okay; I still bought her chocolate cake!
(If you want to see all about it, make sure you’re signed up for my weekly email! Next week I’ll include pictures! 🙂 ).
Any of you have a dog? How has it helped your family?