We’ve lived in our house for just over a year now, and shortly after moving in, Brendan told me that he had surprise for me that I would get for Christmas. If you know me, you know that I HATE surprises. Well, I don’t hate surprises when they are an actual surprise. I hate when someone tells me that they have a surprise, and then leave me hanging to guess what it is. Naturally, I had to know what this Christmas surprise entailed. “Something for the house” was all he would tell me. Was it a hot tub?! A gas stove?! A tempur-pedic mattress!? No, no, and no. This banter went on for several hours, until he finally cracked and told me: we were getting a puppy. Specifically, a labradoodle. It met my condition of being non-shedding (I’m allergic) and his condition of being ‘manly-looking’ (it wouldn’t fit into a purse). A few days before Christmas, we picked Kona up and we’ve been a trio every since.
The first few months with Kona were rough. If you’ve never owned a puppy before, I will say this: They are adorable. They can also be real jerks. Kona bonded to Brendan right away, and I became the third wheel that was intruding on their bromance. Obedience classes helped, but the biggest shift was when I started working from home and spending more time with him during the day. Once we got into the swing of our new routine, he warmed up to me and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Nowadays, going into another room and closing the door is basically an act of warfare to him. And on more than one occasion I have been shaving my legs only to have him peering around the shower curtain, making sure I’m not plotting an escape.
I swore that when we got a dog I wouldn’t become a crazy dog lady. And now? I am totally a crazy dog lady. It is a label that I will wear with pride, because I like 99% of all dogs and 1% of all people (Just joking. But also not joking). Dogs have so much to teach us about life, including:
Patience is a virtue. Sometimes in life plans work according to your timeline. Other times you will be standing outside in the rain, waiting for your dog to just take a dump already.
Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. Kona and I go on a walk every day. I use the word ‘walk’ loosely here, because more often than not, it ends up being me dragging him away from whatever it is that he is smelling. Flowers, dried leaves, empty pizza boxes, squirrel carcasses – everything in life is beautiful, and you must allow time for a thorough sniffing.
Sometimes you have to just go after what you want, despite the risks. Kona knows that he isn’t allowed to have human food. He also knows he isn’t allowed on the counter tops. He knows that if he gets caught with his paws on the counter and/or trying to eat human food, he will get yelled at. But when bacon is involved, all bets are off. There are instances when you just have to say ‘screw it’ and go for what you want, consequences be damned.
Let your loved ones know that you care. Kona is 70-ish pounds, which places him solidly in the ‘large dog’ category. Most people would think that large dogs are not lap dogs, but Kona doesn’t let a little thing like size inhibit his plans of snuggling. If I am sitting on the couch or recliner, he will find a way to try squeeze next to me. If I’m sitting at my desk, he is curled up at my feet. Occasionally it can be obnoxious, but it is one of my favorite things about him.
There’s no place like home. I think the best part about having a dog is that whether I’ve been gone for 5 minutes or 5 days, homecoming is a momentous occasion filled with fanfare and tail wagging. I can take the garbage out, and when I come back inside I am greeted like a returning war hero. It is the best.
Make time to play. As I write this post, a tennis ball keeps reappearing on my lap and a pair of pleading eyes are currently begging me to please, pleeeeeease throw the ball. And so I conclude this post by saying that work and obligations are important, but it is also important (more important, even) to have fun.
Happy birthday, Kona! Thank you for making me smile every day!