In honor of my doggo’s second birthday last week, I thought I would write about my experience as a dog mom. I figured it was perfectly appropriate for my second blog post, because, well, my dog is my life.
If you asked anyone in my life to describe me, they would most definitely mention the "crazy dog parent" factor. I recognize this to be entirely true, and I own it.
Everyone thought I had officially lost my mind, getting a dog straight out of college with absolutely no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I had just graduated and was living with the typical "what am I supposed to do with my life", fresh out of school, anxiety, in addition to my daily anxiety. I had always wanted a dog of my own and had almost gone through with bringing one home on multiple occasions (which were all impulsive and horrible ideas). I had heard many stories from friends and family about the effect that emotional support animals had had on their lives, so I decided this time was the right time for me. One rainy September day, I woke up and decided that this was it- I was actually going to do it. I was done taking other peoples' opinions into consideration over this matter.
I knew I wanted a Havanese. They have few breed specific health issues, are hypo-allergenic (I'm allergic to a lovely myriad of things, including most animals with hair or fur), and are great family dogs. They also originated in Havana, Cuba, which made it twice as cool (Cuban girl had to have her Cuban dog).
After searching through breeders and rescues for what seemed like forever, I actually found him by accident. The best accident EVER. I was standing in my parents kitchen, looking up the breed on Google, and a breeder in Miami came up. I went to his website and Teo was the first thing I saw. I called the number expecting to be told that someone had already claimed this little angel, but instead was told that he was still available. I immediately packed up my stuff and drove back to Miami. The following morning, I asked my brother and my cousin to come with me to meet him, and the second I saw him, I realized there was no way in hell I was leaving without him.
He was twice as big as his sisters, and throwing himself on top of them. He was super friendly, and barking at the others to play with him. He was full of energy, and covered in mud from playing in the trees. My boy. It’s a strange and beautiful feeling, falling for something like I did that day. And here I was, making fun of anyone in my life who treated their dogs like human children. Oops.
Having a puppy was far more difficult than I remembered. I grew up with dogs and have always been an animal person, but this was a whole different ball game. Teo was only twelve weeks old, basically an infant. He projectile vomited all over my car and my brother on the way home. He cried all night for weeks on end, and when he got mad at me, he would stare me straight in the eyes and poop on my bed. He refused to listen to me, and was fascinated by the idea of trying to escape every time I opened the front door. I could not keep track of how many times I had to chase him around the apartment building hallway, screaming, until someone caught him and brought him to me. When I left to run errands, he would howl the entire time. He broke his teeth trying to chew through the crate, he ate under the carpet in my bedroom, and he peed on the majority of my furniture. There were times when I had to walk out of the room just to breathe, because he was about to drive me nuts. He eventually calmed down a little bit, but once he was neutered, he became an entirely different dog. Now, I couldn’t ask for anything better. Everyone who meets him instantly falls for him, and I am more grateful for him with each day that passes.
Teo is, hands down, the best thing that has ever happened to me. Since becoming his mom, I have felt an incredible change in my anxiety and in my life. He has changed me in ways I can’t even explain. He has taught me how to prioritize. He has kept me grounded. He has made me responsible. He has given me countless laughs and countless headaches. He has taught me to enjoy the little things. He has taught me that sometimes the best things in life come to you unexpectedly. He has taught me how to love.
In hindsight, I made the right decision not bringing a dog home until after I graduated school. I could not have handled it during college. Having a dog is a huge responsibility, especially when you're as busy as I am. They take a lot of time, a lot of love, and can be ridiculously expensive (or maybe I am just your typical crazy dog mom who swears that he is deprived and always needs more).
Here are some super cute pics of Teo, even though I think all 7,000 pictures on my phone of him doing absolutely nothing are equally as delicious.