+ animals

{almost} 4 months out : how owning a dog helps

It’s hard to imagine that I’ve had Celie for a little less than four months. Sometimes I look at her, now over 31 pounds and still growing, and wonder how the time passed so quickly. Other days I feel like I’ve had her forever. Celie filled voids that needed filling and got me to add a couple of things to my wide open schedule. Here, let me explain :

  • Weekend walks : On Saturdays and Sundays I treat Celie to two walks a day, and at least one of them is at a nearby park rather than our usual trek around the neighborhood. Sometimes I call a friend to join, and other days we stop at a dog-friendly restaurant for breakfast. Sure, I could do this without a dog, but I never did. I have chronic pain, so why would I do something that might exacerbate it? Well, my hips haven’t gotten worse {as far as I know} since Celie arrived, so even though the walks are a bit uncomfortable at times, I can make it work. In addition, I’ve run into many people I know while we’re out and about. Those moments might be the most social thing I do all day, and it’s all because I took the puppy out for a walk in the park.
labrador labradane puppy - 29goingon92.com
after our first walk…it’s fun to remember a time when she fit in that little harness
  • Coming home : Dogs give the best greetings. When I walk in the door Celie is standing up, front paws on her gate, practically shaking with excitement. When I let her out she runs up and says hello with hugs and kisses. Nothing is better for my ego. I used to come home to a silent house. Sometimes I’d walk in, put my bag down, and look around wondering what I was going to do between then and bedtime. But Celie distracts me from those thoughts. She needs her dinner, she needs to play, and she needs me. That’s what I think about when I come home now, and it helps me feel less lonely.
labrador labrada puppy - 29goingon92.com
a rare moment of stillness, courtesy of Susie Ewbank
  • Something to talk about : I finally have an answer for that dreaded question at every social activity {“So, what have you been up to?”}. No, I do not want to become a person who talks about her pet as if they’re a human child, but I usually have a funny story to tell. I finally have a little material to work with. This will wane as Celie gets older and becomes old news, but for now,  I’m going to milk it.
labrador labradane puppy - 29goingon92.com
almost 4 months old
  • She’s my plus one : Lucky for me, Celie is welcome at my parents’ home. She loves to run around and explore in their backyard, and I love that I can let her off the leash  and know that she is happy and safe. I stop by often, as they live so close we pass their home on walks. And when they invite me and my siblings {and their spouses} over for Sunday dinner or swimming on the Fourth of July Celie is welcome to join. Since I am the only single one of the bunch and surrounded by a minimum of four couples at these family events, I am thrilled to have Celie by my side. And I think they like her company, too…unless she pees on a rug or something.
labrador labradane puppy - 29goingon92.com
in her favorite backyard

What this whole dog-thing boils down to is that Celie provides a 24 / 7 distraction. She takes the edge off the loneliness and gives me something to do. I knew having a dog would give me a companion, but I never thought of the direct impact it would have on my chronic pain. I’m not saying that my hips are any better, but my days are easier. I still wake up and hobble out of bed, but I look over at her and I change gears.

I wonder what getting a second dog might do…






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