Adopting my first dog as an adult in my twenties, I learned the hard way that the world can be a difficult place, and not everything is as it may seem. I also learned that raising a dog was nothing like how I remembered it from childhood.
Once I had that furry ball in my arms, everything changed.
Breaking this experience down into just ten points is challenging, but these outline the key things I realized as a 20-something year old dog owner.
1. Dogs Are Better Than People
Dogs are simply better than people. Dogs are inherently good, they love unconditionally, and they pass no judgement on others. In that sense, they are better than most beings known to man. As a 20 something dog owner, I quickly realized that true friends are few and far between, but dogs will always remain constant. They are a source of happiness in a sometimes dark world.
2. Dogs Are Like Children, But Much Better
Dogs are like children in many ways, as we have mentioned before in previous articles. However, dogs are superior to children. Ask a dog owner any day of the week whether they would have a dog or a child, and they will answer with “dog,” of course. You may believe that this is because they are delusional dog lovers, but the reason is much deeper than that. Dog lovers have realized that dogs are everything parents want in children and more, without the hardship.
As I mentioned in the first point, dogs are inherently good. They only want to please use. Children aren’t inherently anything, and your only wish is to please them.
3. The General Public Will Love Your Dog, But Hate You
As a dog owner, this one is frustrating, but recognized all too well. The general public loves dogs, but not dog owners. Why is that? Because owners and parents are to blame for all dogs’ actions. This means that the general public will constantly be judging you on your dog care taking skills, waiting for you to make a mistake.
Most people in this world are judgemental, whether they are aware or not. This is something I have discovered as a young, childless, pit bull loving, dog owner.
4. Everyone Will Judge You For Not Having Human Kids
With overpopulation, disease, famine, poverty, lack of health care, and low education rates, why on earth would someone judge another person for not wanting to procreate? This is something that just baffles me daily.
I do not want children, nor do I believe I will ever want children. As a 20 something dog owner, this is perceived as a slap in the face to all mothers, grandmothers, and anyone stuck in the mindset of “go to college, get married, have children.”
If you are a young dog owner, you will experience this judgement often, despite knowing full well that you would not be able to care for a human child.
5. Dogs Teach You How To Care For Something
Caring for yourself is difficult as a young adult, but learning how to care for something else will shape you for the rest of your life. Dogs need to be fed, watered, exercised, trained, provided with medical care, socialized, etc. The list is endless. Owning a dog as a young adult will teach you the basics of caring for a living thing, preparing you for your future family – or pack!
The first few months are the hardest, but you will figure it out. You will slowly realize that you care more for your dog than you do for yourself…
6. Dogs Give You A Reason To Get Out Of Bed
You can’t have a dog and be a hermit. Well, you can, but it’s not easy!
When you welcome a dog into your life, you also welcome a daily routine. This involves leaving your home. For those who suffer from depression and anxiety, dogs can help relieve mental health issues, and encourage owners to go outside. Having a dog means you will need to interact with other people and animals daily to ensure he is properly socialized.
You may not like getting out of bed, but it will be hard to resist his puppy dog eyes!
7. Living For Your Dogs Is Actually Healthy
Many people have told me that I revolve my entire life around my dogs. But why is that a bad thing? Parents do everything for their children, why shouldn’t I treat my dogs the same way?
Having a dog is a large responsibility, that requires time, money, effort, and care. As a young dog owner, I find that I care for my dog more than I care for anything else in the world. Because of this, I have become more active, in order to keep them healthy, I have found a career that I love and allows me to be home with them, in order to keep them happy, and I surround myself with better people to make sure that my dogs have decent humans in their life.
My life has been made infinitely more enjoyable, lovable, and healthy by living for my dogs.
8. The World Is Not Dog Friendly
Despite the popularity of dogs, and over 40% of the population having dogs as pets, the world has not become any more dog friendly. Dog friendly rentals are almost impossible to find, and home owning isn’t much easier. Housing in general is not catered towards dog owners, nor are public spaces.
For large cities like Toronto, Vancouver, New York, and Seattle there are a lot of dog friendly parks, beaches, and off-leash areas. Unfortunately, smaller towns are usually the ones who suffer.
This is something I learned as a young dog owner, and continue to struggle with daily.
I don’t believe that everything should be accessible to dogs, but I do believe that there should be more options, considering the popularity in dogs as pets!
9. Life Plans Are Made Difficult By Dogs
Before you adopted your dog, you had a life plan. After welcoming the furry beast in your life, everything changed.
You never thought owning a dog would change your life so drastically – neither did I – but now I am left with a vastly different life plan that I originally started with. And that’s OK!
My days have been made so wonderful by my dogs, and they have made me a better person because of it. No, I don’t live in a high rise in Los Angeles, going to music shows every night, and living the life of a rockstar. I wake up in the morning, take my dogs outside, feed them, have coffee, and spend the day enjoying their company while I work from home, writing about dogs.
If you have a life plan, but want to adopt a dog, prepare for it to change. Make sure you are able to provide the life your dog deserves.
10. Your Dog Loves You Unconditionally
This is something we have said time and time again, but somehow it never gets old. Dogs love us unconditionally.
They love more selflessly than any animal I’ve encountered, and more so than any human I’ve ever met. Dogs are beautiful, wonderful, kind, caring, and inherently perfect. They are incredible companions for young people who need love in their life.
If you are lucky enough to love a dog, and be loved by a dog, as a young adult, you’ll know what I mean.