What I've Learned After a Year of Dog Ownership
I never wanted a dog. I love animals, I grew up with cats, lizards, fish, geckos, and frogs, but I never wanted a dog. Ayan, on the other hand, has always wanted a dog. He loves to tell this story about how his family went to a animal shelter on Long Island to get him a dog and just before they walked out with one the staff asked who would be spending most of the time with the pup. Unfortunately, that would have been Ayan's grandmother, who was back at home in New Jersey, and so the shelter wouldn't let them take a dog home. I have heard the story about the fluffy white dog that Ayan almost had more than any other story. The best part of the tale is that as a sort of consolation prize, Ayan's dad went to Radio Shack and bought him a plasma ball. Why they didn't go back to the shelter with grandma in tow, I'll never understand.
After maybe the 25th time of hearing this story and Ayan repeatedly telling me I was "the only thing stopping him from fulfilling his childhood dream of having a dog," I cracked. That's when we filled out our application for a dog from the Italian Greyhound Rescue of America, and #Levitheig became a part of the family a few months later.
It's been bit over year of dog ownership and here's the few things that I've learned:
Get Pet Insurance
A week after Levi moved into our apartment we got pet insurance. Two weeks after Levi moved into our apartment he broke his leg. And I mean broke, like literally snapped in two. It was one of the worst days I can remember. Levi howled and cried and in response, I howled and cried. After many visits to the emergency animal hospital, X-rays, surgeries, pain killers, consent forms, plastic cones, sleepless nights, and $6000+ in medical bills, we realized getting pet insurance was one of the best decisions we ever made.
Anal Glands Are A Thing And They Are Gross
All dogs have anal glands. They are sacks of stinky stuff that gets released when a dog poops. It's why dogs love smelling each others butts. It's all really gross and from what our vet tells us, has no real purpose.
The worst part about these little glands is that sometimes they get backed up and the need to be expressed, or in some cases, they rupture through the skin. We have been unlucky enough to have had two such incidents; they're painful for Levi and disgusting for us.
Poop, You Get Used To It
Dogs love poop. They think it's fascinating. They stop to smell every stinky turd on the side walk. They also poop on the ground and you pick it up. Sometimes they poop in your house on a pee pad. And sometime they have diarrhea and you wake up in the middle of the night with poop all over your house. To put it simply- dog ownership and comfort with poop are like this * crosses fingers.*
Dogs, They Love You A Lot
I've harped on the not-so-great parts of dog ownership for long enough. There's a reason dogs are known as man's (or woman's) best friend. They will love you unconditionally with no expectations, and with every fiber of their being. Levi is particularly attached to me. I'm number 1 is his eyes and everyone else is, well, not number one (even Ayan will admit this). I've seen those big round watery eyes look at me when I come home and hear him squeal with excitement, and I feel nothing but love.
Dogs, You're Going To Love Them A Lot
You can't help but love someone back that loves you as much as a dog loves his owner. I'll admit I've become a little extreme in my passion for Levi. Ayan often catches me calling him my son, which at one point I tried to keep under wraps. That ended a while ago and I just refer to him as son. I know it's weird.
But with such deep love comes a lot of pain and sorrow, like when he breaks his leg or when he's diagnosed with a questionable tumor-like mass which could mean he has a high probability of having a very aggressive form of cancer- yes, this happened (but luckily it didn't turn out to be cancer). And when this happens, it hurts. A lot. But when they make it through and they're back to their normal loving self it's the best thing in the world.