The term, a dog is a “man’s best friend” does not give a dog nearly enough credit. They are the most pure of soul and the patience, responsibility and commitment that come with having a dog bring out the best in ourselves. Dogs have a way of sensing our emotions, feelings and body language and all those things pave the way to creating an unbreakable bond. My dog has become my best friend.
Getting a dog is huge responsibility. It can be hard work and it is a lifetime commitment, but the joys and love that your dog will return to you are absolutely priceless. Not only do they improve our physical and mental health, but they also encourage a healthy fitness routine. When it comes to deciding which type of dogs make the best pets, it really depends on your lifestyle. For example, larger dogs are best suited with an active lifestyle while smaller dogs are best suited with a more laid back lifestyle, etc. The bigger question to consider, however, is why get a dog?
I’m your typical perfectionist and want everything to be in order and clean. So who would think that a German Shepherd and I would be such a great match? Well, love is sacrifice- isn’t it? Love is a compromise.
Now I’m always covered in dog hair, and I don’t care. Slobber stains? No problem. Dog toys all over the house are a norm. And the best part is- I wouldn’t change a thing. I love having a large dog and all of the sacrifices and difficulties that may come with that are a small price to pay for everything that my dog has brought into my life. I’ll never forget the day that I decided to get a dog. I grew up with dogs my whole life, but when you grow older and decide to get a dog on your own- it is a completely different story.
One night, I was sitting in my dorm room and decided to make the spontaneous decision to go on Craigslist and search for a dog. I had two German Shepherds when I was younger and I always admired how incredibly loyal and protective they are. It had been on my mind for months, I just never had the courage to speak out about it. I was 20 years old in college and I could already hear everyone saying that I was too young to take care of a dog. Nevertheless, soon enough I found the perfect ad! A man in Kentucky had a dog that was having a litter and a few months later I was making the six-hour trek to Kentucky to pick up my new best friend.
Choosing to get a larger dog breed has it’s difficult moments, of course. Riley is now a 4-year old German Shepherd weighing about 90 pounds. A dog that size needs a good deal of exercise, so I’m constantly taking her out for walks and checking out nearby trails. My life completely has changed by getting a dog. My normal day-to-day decisions constantly have her in mind. For example, I’m never away from home for more than five hours and if I know I will be out for an extended period of time, I take her to my parents house.
I’ve always loved larger dogs. They’re definitely more of a handful but just like everything in life, it’s what you make of it. By taking Riley out on a lot of walks not only am I in better shape but I’ve also learned to love hiking and outdoor adventures. There’s a sense of comfort and security in having a large dog. They’re so affectionate and loving that it’s like having a giant live teddy bear.
The relationship between a dog and a human is a two-way street. We’ve all heard the phrase, “who rescued who?” and it’s definitely something to ponder on. Riley has been the best decision that I have ever made. I don’t remember what life was like before she came home and I couldn’t image life without her. She has taught me so many things about life, about myself and about love. We’ve been through everything together from boyfriends to break-ups to moving around Virginia. As a six-month old puppy she saved my life. She inspires me every single day to be the best person that I can be.
A dog is a lifetime commitment, not a temporary cuddle buddy. Cute tiny little puppies soon grow into larger dogs. The little puppy jumps turn into slow-aged limps. Unexpected things happen and require expensive vet visits. The amount of money that I have spent at my vet is probably embarrassing and arguably enough to have my own wing, but my dog is priceless to me.
Housing leases have rejected me due to Riley’s breed. I kept my dog.
I’ve had friends and boyfriends that didn’t really like her and would want me to choose- I chose my dog.
Riley is 4 years old and already has hip dysplasia and arthritis, both of which are lifelong conditions that slow her down. I’ve heard the stories behind why some owners have left their dog in the shelter, and sadly a lot of the stories are because the dog developed conditions like this or simply because they aged.
It’s been tough, I agree. I cannot take Riley on the kinds of adventures and walks that we used to go on and instead opt to go for various little walks about 30-45 minutes so it doesn’t strain her. I’ve searched for remedies and everything under the sun to make her quality of life the best that it can be. From temperpedic dog beds to swimming lessons – it’s not cheap. And it’s definitely more than I ever planned on spending on her. But I would tell the same thing to anyone who ever advised me to put her down or take her to a shelter- she is my best friend, and I will be by her side until her last breath.
Life is a series of roller coasters and choosing to get a dog has its ups and downs. The best part is that if you choose to ride it out together, you’re never alone for the ride. And there is no better way to come home even after a bad day at work, than to have a loving, furry companion that is just as excited to see you whether you’ve been gone for two weeks or two hours. Your dog may only be a part of your world, but to them … you are their whole world.