The Great and Not So Great Parts of Getting a Dog in Your Early 20’s

So you’re still in your early 20’s and you are starting to yearn for a furry little friend. The urge gets stronger and stronger with each passing day and every time you see a pup your heart breaks a little bit inside knowing that you don’t have a little pal of your own. That’s the natural progression of the PD (Puppy-less Depression).

As someone who had a dog essentially fall into their lap in college (my roommate adopted him and couldn’t keep him so I had to make a split decision whether I wanted to keep him or not… obviously I chose to keep him), here is the things I think should be brought to anyone’s attention before adopting a puppy.

I like to start with the not so good and end with the good so…

The Not So Good Parts About Adopting A Dog Early 

  • Dogs are expensive. You may be thinking “Kelly please, I can afford to buy a bag of dog food once a month”… trust me when you go to the vet for their annual shots you will want to puke at just how much it costs
  • If you are not a homebody it will be a change in your lifestyle. I used to go out and stay at a friends, then go to breakfast the next day or spend all day out. You can kiss that goodbye when you have a dog. Not only will you have to constantly be coming home to let the dog out, if you are anything like me you will feel terrible if your dog is home alone and cancel plans just so you don’t have to leave your dog by themselves.
  • Drinks after work will never include you. When you transition into a full time job after college, even if all your favorite co-workers are grabbing drinks at the cool new bar downtown you will have to pass. You instead will be rushing home to take your dog out who has been holding their pee in since you left at 8:00 am that morning.
  • Potty training is hard AF. This obviously only applies if you are adopting a puppy which most people do. Trying to figure out the best way to make sure your puppy learns how to go to the bathroom outside is one of the most frustrating and tedious tasks you will face. You will try every possible way the internet tells you and it will be trial and error until finally you find a method that works. And guess what? Until you find a way that works that cute little fur baby will be peeing and pooping all over your floors (I pray you have hardwood floors and not carpet… traumatizing).
  • You will wipe your dog’s ass. I just want to let you know that when you see people who wipe their baby’s ass and thank god that you don’t have to do that yet… you will be eating your words if you get a puppy. It happens, you don’t notice after a while just how nasty it is but when your friends see you wiping your dog’s butt they will remind you just how weird it is.
  • Your favorite shoes? Oh yeah, your dog likes them too… chewing them that is. Whenever you least expect it you are going to kick off your shoes and plop down on the couch after a long day and realize that it’s quiet… to quiet. Then you wonder where your little monster is and by the time you realize what they’ve done it’s too late… your shoes are absolutely ruined. It takes dogs a little while to determine which objects are their toys and which objects are your expensive new shoes.

So now that I’ve completely scared you and you are second guessing your decision to adopt a little puppy of your own, I am going to come at you with…

The AMAZING Parts About Adopting a Dog Early 

  • You will become more responsible than you ever thought you could be. Remember the class in high school where you had to carry around a robotic baby with you to try to teach you responsibility and accountability? That’s nothing compared to what you will experience when taking care of a puppy. When it comes to making sure your dog is well taken care of you will go above and beyond your expectations to ensure they are happy and healthy. This will make you more responsible and committed than you ever thought possible.
  • Your dog will make you a more active person. Dogs require a lot of energy and many breeds require at least 1 hour of exercise a day. Whether that is going on a morning and afternoon walk or going to the dog park for an hour a day- having a dog will get you out of the house and keep you active. If you like to hike that is the perfect way for you and your pal to both get exercise.
  • Your dog will help you make likeminded friends. When you are at the dog park or on a walk and see another person with a dog you stop to chat and end up becoming friends with someone whose dog gets along with your dog. Now you automatically have a never-ending conversation starter with the other dog owner… talking about your dogs of course! Your dog will also make a best friend and you will set up regular play dates so they can see each other and be puppy bros.
  • Whenever you walk in the door you will be greeted with more love than you can handle. You are having a hard day at the office, it’s raining outside, you spilled your coffee all over yourself this morning… basically the day was a mess. But when it’s finally quitting time and you head home and open the door your furry buddy is excited to see you no matter what. They will be so excited that you are home that you will forget about your crappy day and immediately your mood will lift.
  • You will become one of those crazy dog people. This is not a bad thing! Some people like to show pictures of their kids but no not you. You just have an endless camera roll on your phone of photos of your dog. He has essentially become your child. You worry about his well being over your own and you will do anything to make him happy. If he is at the dog park and is getting bullied you glare at the other dog’s owner and step in to make sure no one picks on your child.
  • That moment when they realize you are their mom or dad is the greatest feeling in the world. There will be a day when your dog starts to favor you over everyone else, even if you live with other people. You walk him, feed him, bathe him, etc. Eventually he will notice that and realize that you are his human. Then you will take precedence over any other human being for the rest of his life. When you leave a room he will follow. When you are out even if other people are home he will mope around until you return. The day when his world starts to evolve around you is an indescribable feeling.
  •   Their love is absolutely unconditional. Some people may claim to love you unconditionally but there will be no love in this life like a dog’s love for their owner. Their entire life’s mission is to please you and to be with you. You are their entire world and it’s obvious in the way that they gravitate around you. You are so loved that it hurts sometimes.

So while I agree that yes getting a dog is hard when you are young I can also agree that the challenges and obstacles you will overcome are so worth it. At the end of the day you have a furry best friend who will always love you and always be there for you no matter what and that is worth getting a few pairs of shoes chewed up… or even wiping their ass.



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