Haley’s Comments is a blog about getting outside my comfort zone. The adventure I’m about to describe is one that millions of people choose to accept on a daily basis. Not me. In fact, choosing to own a dog once terrified me. Wasn’t on my radar at all. I had no desire to pick up dog poo, dog hair, or be anywhere near a large, barking dog. Truth be told, I always kind of rolled my eyes at people that thought of their dog as a “child.” I went out with a guy once who told me “he couldn’t wait for me to meet his child.” He was describing his blue tick coon hound who he had brought on the date with him. Come on. Really?
But then Fitz Roy came into my life.
Keep in mind that not only did I not consider myself a dog person, I was pretty afraid of them. I was always scared of the big, large, barking (potentially biting) creatures. I didn’t like them jumping or drooling on me; I didn’t even really like to pet them.
So what made me change my mind? I’m not entirely sure.
Maybe it was being around my friends’ dogs: Gil the golden doodle (Fitz Roy’s older brother who is about the size of a small pony), Cadet the slightly overweight labrador (just kidding Brandon!), Luke Skywalker, the dog who likes to sneeze on me, and Hero Patel, the border collie who actually is a hero in my book. Seriously. Hero is ridiculously well trained.
Maybe it was my friend Adam who was continually lobbying for me to be a dog owner. I have a theory he was sending me subliminal messages and brainwashed me.
Maybe I felt the need to take care of someone other than myself.
Maybe it was a combination of all of the above.
I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea, but I thought I would do some research.
I knew I liked Gil. I liked his demeanor and the fact that he doesn’t shed, so I reached out to Gil’s breeder, Dawn at Dixieland Kennel, just to see if they had any pups for sale.
Well, they did. Hmm…I decided to go visit him. Fitz Roy was 3 weeks old when we first met. He looked like a gerbil.
He couldn’t leave the breeder until he was 8 weeks old, so I had 5 weeks to make my decision. I stressed about this like no other decision! I did ALL kinds of research. I read blogs, I talked to every dog owner I knew, I talked to my friends and family. It was an ongoing dialogue for weeks. One day I would be in and the next day I would be out. It was a rollercoaster ride for sure.
My younger sister, Emily, helped give me some perspective. She said “Haley, you have no trouble hiking up mountains in extreme conditions and using a “chick dick” to go to the bathroom (see To Be or Not to Be, Mt. Rainier post). But you are afraid of what millions of people do on a regular basis? Everyone is a dog owner, Haley. You are not climbing Everest here.” Hmm. Valid point Em. You are wise beyond your years.
Again, I had a lot of mental turmoil over my decision, but in the end, I decided to take him home.
And. I. Am. So. Glad. I. Did.
Fitz Roy has brought me so much joy! He has helped strengthened the bonds of my friends and family, and I met more neighbors in the first week Fitz came home than in the entire 4 years I’ve lived at my current house.
All of the wonderful things people say about being a dog owner really seems to be true. He magically removes stress. Coming home to Fitz Roy, who is nothing but elated to see me, always brings a smile to my face. Yes, he messes up sometimes (potty-training accidents and the like), but I’m learning to be more patient. He’s making me a better person.
I understand about “the dog people” now. I’m one of them. I can appreciate folks who consider their dog to be like a child. I get it.
Owning a dog was waaayyyyy outside my comfort zone, but I have not regretted for one minute bringing Fitz Roy home. Even when he does act like a spaz sometimes.
Fitz has such a playful personality and is so friendly. He immediately loves everyone he meets (dog or human). I named him Fitz Roy after a mountain range in Patagonia I would like to visit one day. Like the mountain range, Fitz Roy will be a very large dog. His older brother, Gil, is about 95 pounds and I predict Fitz will be a similar size. His paws are huge!
Things I’ve learned so far:
- Everyone, and I mean everyone has an opinion about dogs and dog ownership. What to do and what not to do. Some blogs have good information, but I found I should ignore a lot of them.
- The snuggle puppy is a miracle! It’s a puppy with a heat pack and a battery-powered heartbeat. It simulates his siblings so the puppy transitions easier into your home.
- Do not, under any circumstances, switch food on your puppy without transitioning them over a week. Trust me. Don’t do it. Unless you want puppy poos all over your house.
- Get a crate and cover it with a blanket. Dogs are den animals. It helps them feel safer.
- For a first time dog owner, enroll in puppy classes. I needed training just as much as Fitz Roy.
- Puppies require a lot of vaccinations. A lot.
- Fitz Roy is my buddy. I love the little (soon to be huge) guy!
As of this writing, Fitz Roy is 4.5 months old. He finally finished his vaccinations and is allowed to frequent the dog park. He is quite the social butterfly! We couldn’t leave until he literally met every dog and human in the park.