In my many day dreams before getting a dog I used to imagine my perfectly well behaved dog and I going for walks together and him walking smartly on the lead. We would nod to other dog owners as we quietly passed them and my dog would run and chase a ball in the local park and he would always come back and happily we would go home and he would sit on the sofa and let me brush him. Real life is very different.
Firstly, and its best to deal with this first as it will happen frequently, your dog will hump others dogs. This will happen regularly. At first its a little embarrassing and awkward but after a few weeks you will get used to it. If you live in london you will come to ignore the tuts from the prissy dog owners who scoop their manicured dogs up off the floor as they spy your hound sprinting across the park straight for them.
You will spend your walks saying your dog's name in various different tones. The calm loving call so they know you're moving on to a new section of the park. The disapproving tone as your dog races around humping other dogs as they try to run away. The loud shout of panic as you walk round the corner and see your dog in the middle of someone's picnic chowing down on their chicken wings, yes I'm speaking from experience, Gatsby! And the loud shriek as they sprint off out of sight after a deer. Again first hand experience, three times, and I thought I was moving to the countryside for an easy life.
You won't think about how you'll handle the times when your dog will dive bomb other dogs in the park. This will almost always happen on a morning before work. Your dog will pick a white dog to rugby tackle in the mud and the white dog's owner will already be dressed for work and your dog will chase theirs and everyone will be covered in mud. Apologies aren't worth much in London.
You'll walk past other dogs and instead of keeping calm and rationale there will be occasions when for no apparent reason your dog will squeal with excitement and bark and throw himself around.
You'll face dilemmas you've never even considered before like what to do as you walk over a zebra crossing and your dog decides it's the perfect moment for a poop. Do you try and drag him as he tries to go or wait as the traffic lines up while he finishes his business? Oh yes dog poop and mud will become so much of a feature in your life that if you were ever bothered by these things you soon won't be.
Despite your protests that your dog has never stolen food off the side at home - aside from that one time I left a whole lump of Applewood cheese on the side, Gatsby! - your dog will forget everything at other people's house and steal the groom's bacon sandwich on the morning of his wedding and the Christmas turkey even though it was being guarded by two grown men, Gatsby!
Your whole life will change. You won't get weekend lie-ins any more and spontaneous weekends away will become, well, less spontaneous but this isn't to say your life will be lacking, oh no, get ready for your world to become complete. Every day no matter what's happened there will be a smiling face and a wagging tail to greet you in a morning and welcome you home from a long day at work. All of a sudden you'll have a dependant, someone to get you out of bed in a morning. If you want someone to ensure you never miss a run then a dog becomes your perfect coach. There's no way you can lie in bed knowing you're sleeping through their walk time. And the best thing, you won't want to. Those mornings before the whole world wakes up and it's just you and your sidekick will become some of your favourite moments of the week. Your world will become fuller and happier than you never could imagine. Just one warning, going to work in a morning and leaving them behind will break your heart just a little bit, every day.
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