When you bring a dog into your life there are necessary sacrifices. I did so much reading before we adopted Shiva that I was fully aware of all I would be relinquishing for the privilege of having a furry body to love. The things I knew I had to give up seemed like nothing in comparison. Once I had decided I was ready for a dog, nothing was going to stop me.
That isn’t to say it has been simple. The first six months were a lot harder than anticipated, and not just because of Shiva’s behavioural issues. It was a huge adjustment for all of us. It doesn’t matter how much you think you know, until you actually take on the full responsibility for another life, it’s hard to know what you will encounter. Or what you will have to renounce.
Now that it has been almost three years, when I think back on my life ante-dog, there isn’t a whole lot I miss from that time. In many ways I wonder what we even did with ourselves without a Shiva around. The things I gave up just don’t seem as interesting anymore.
Here are some of the things I thought I’d miss but don’t.
Going out after work. Not that I am Ms. Super Social Woman, but some occasions, I did enjoy hanging out with co-workers after a long week. Much more frequently, I would stop at the mall or grocery store to pick up a few things before going home. Once we had a dog, I couldn’t do this. It was straight home after leaving the office to let Shiva out and take her for a walk. I thought I’d miss my casual weekday shopping errands. Apparently waiting for the weekend works just fine.
Sleeping. Oddly, I think I actually get more sleep now even though I am getting up before the sun. Before Shiva, I was going through a difficult time. My head seldom let me rest and insomnia was just an accepted friend. Having a dog in my life changed so many things for me mentally and emotionally. Instead of worrying about my own problems all the time, I had Shiva’s on which to focus. All of a sudden sleep became simple and I found myself crashing on the couch before nine pm. Mental issues aside, all the new exercise I was getting makes sure the sleep I do get is deep.
Clothes without fur. As The Cat’s long fur sheds in larger clumps than Shiva’s, fur on every surface is something I have adjusted to for quite a long time. While I may sigh if I find stray dog hairs in my cereal bowl, or shake my head as I brush them off my laptop, I barely even notice it any more. Besides, fur is still fashionable in many circles. I am proud to sport the guilt-free variety.
Nice things. It turns out, I am more of a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl anyway. Did I really need those $300 handmade high heeled shoes? Sneakers are far better for my feet. If you think about it, Shiva was just thinking of my health when she ate my entire closet worth of foot wear.
Money. Let’s face it, I’ve never had a lot of the stuff. It’s not like I can look back on a golden time where I was pulling hundred-dollar bills out of my ears. But one of the deterrents to getting a dog is definitely the extra expense. Dogs aren’t cheap – though they are much cheaper than children. I knew this going in and accepted I may not be able to afford to import my mozzarella fresh from Italy. Honestly, though, I don’t know if the extra costs really are that noticeable. It makes me wonder what exactly we were spending it all on before. $300 handmade shoes, probably.
When I think about all these things, and then think about all I have gained, I really don’t think I am missing out on anything. Let those silly dogless people go out for cocktails with their furless jackets and their tottering heels. I’d choose Shiva over expensive cheese any day.
As today is my official Blogiversary, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for stopping by and adding so much to my life with my dog. In so many ways, I think our relationship with Shiva has deepened because of the community I found through this website. I take much more photographs of her now than I ever did before the blog. Shiva may not be a fan of my online pursuits but I know she has benefited greatly from the knowledge (and free treats) I have gained as a result.
Thank you for being there these two crazy years.
There is still one day left to join in my Blogiversary Scavenger Hunt! Check it out here!