• 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adopting a Dog

    Naturally Nats | 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adopting A Dog

    Its no secret, I’m in love with my two little puppies. You probably have heard me reference them in previous posts or here and there around my blog but incase you haven’t just know, I am a full fledged dog mom. Seeing as my husband and I haven’t started a family yet, our pups are pretty much our children. We take them on vacations, we dress them up like humans, we talk to them like children. We are THOSE kind of dog owners. But seriously, the unconditional love you get from a puppy is something that can’t be replicated anywhere else. Its unique, its one of a kind, and I wish I had known it earlier. Growing up my parents never let us have a dog. A fish was about as exciting as it got for pets in our home. Then I went through a period of time when I was actually afraid of dogs. They were unknown creatures to me. They were scary, I didn’t understand. But by the time I turned 22 everything had changed for me. I wanted a puppy, and this time I was old enough to adopt one on my own. And a year later I adopted that puppy a little sister. Charlie & Lucy. Life has never been the same, in both good ways and bad. So with that being said, here are 5 things I wish people told me about adopting a dog.

    Naturally Nats | 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adopting A Dog  Naturally Nats | 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adopting A Dog

    You don’t always have to “rescue”.

    Yes its ideal, and yes its a better option, and yes you are paying for a good cause rather than funding a bad one. But what about the puppies born at breeding facilities who didn’t ask to come into the world? When I started my first search into adopting a dog, I wasn’t really familiar with the whole process of but I knew I wanted a puppy. I wanted a dog I could raise from a young age and have for many years to come. I wanted it to grow with me. So my naive 22 year old self did a google search for the cutest puppies I could find in my area. Low and behold I found one! When I drove to the address, it was a farm in the middle of nowhere. It was old, it was dirty, it was sad looking. I walk into the house and it instantly took my breath away with how bad it smelled of cigarette smoke. The man inside had a cage already set up in his kitchen with the exact litter of puppies I had come to see. They looked sad. They looked dirty. They broke my heart. At the time, being new to a situation like this and also a very quiet young person– I didn’t question it. I knew it looked bad, I knew it looked wrong, but I didn’t stand up to the breeder. I didn’t ask to see his facility. I didn’t ask anything. Looking back that is one of my biggest regrets. But after adopting Charlie, getting him home, deworming him, de-parasiting him (he had Giardia), de-fleeing him, and getting him nursed back to health I realized that in a roundabout way that I rescued him too. Maybe not under the best of circumstances, but still a rescue nonetheless. So I guess the point I’m getting to is there is always a stigma of “oh you went to breeder instead of rescuing, you’re a horrible person!” I can’t tell you how many times people gave me that line after adopting my puppies. But I’m here to say you’re not a horrible person. You’re still rescuing a dog, even if its not in the traditional sense. To this day, Charlie has been a HUGE mama’s boy. He’s closer to me than my husband. I chalk this entirely up to the fact that for the first month of his life I took very good care to nurse him back to health, I slept in another room with him when he’d cry through the night, I did everything I could for that little puppy because he deserved a chance just as much as any other dog.

    Naturally Nats | 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adopting A Dog    Naturally Nats | 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adopting A Dog

    You’re really not that tied down.

    Everyone always thinks “I don’t want to get a dog because then I’ll be tied down and won’t have the freedom to do what I want when I want!” Yes in a way this is true, but its not as bad as everyone thinks it is. My husband and I have two dogs and two cats, we still manage to travel once a month sometimes more, we still go out on a whim and do things, our life hasn’t changed THAT much. For traveling, I’ve found that 9 times out of 10 I can get a relative to help dogsit when needed. However, there are times when nobody is available. Finding a good and trusted boarding facility is key. I know this isn’t always the financially doable option but it works if in a pinch. Lastly, prepare for the worst. There are times that both my husband and I have to get up early, be to work super early, and then have after work obligations late into the evening. These happen frequently so I’ve learned to prepare myself and the dogs for times like these. Instead of keeping them caged up, we’ve blocked off an area in our house exclusively for them. It has a puppy cot, lots of toys, potty pads, food, and water. Next to their little area is a tv which I turn on for them so they have some noise instead of sitting in quiet for all hours of the day. Honestly I semi-used to worry about this setup until I got myself a Nest Cam to watch them from when I’m not home. They love being in there. They mostly like to sleep on their cot, when they aren’t they’re sometimes watching the tv, and other times playing with their toys. They do really well in that. Of course we try not to let this happen TOO often, but it really works if you know you’re going to be extremely busy. People might say “Why get a dog if its going to be locked up all day every day” Well its not the case. I feel like unless you travel out of state or far away a lot for work, you will always have enough time for them at the end of the day. We also make up for our busy schedules by taking them with us on errand runs on the weekend. Walks, etc. So although there are some adjustments, you’re really not THAT tied down.

    Naturally Nats | 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adopting A Dog

    You have to be prepared to deal with the unknown.

    Just like with anything in life, there is always an unknown when it comes to adopting a dog. You don’t just get this dog thats going to come to you knowing exactly what you want it to do and when you want it to do it. (If you find a dog like this please send it my way!) When we adopted Charlie, he was very trainable and smart. He listened well, but he also had a very nervous/anxious side. He was great around dogs until he had an incident with another dog at the dog park one day. Somebody had brought their large black lab to the park when she was in heat. (It was against the parks rules) She was aggressive and she didn’t like the small 5 pound energetic puppy Charlie was. She had him down on his back with a paw on his chest growling at him in less than 5 seconds. Ever since this day he’s been afraid of large dogs. He also developed a fear of the car from this. This was a big unknown. This is something we continually deal with. With Lucy, however, she was easy going, adventurous, goes with the flow, but she’s not very bright. Training her isn’t a walk in the park, and rarely does she obey us or listen to what we say. This is just her personality, this is how she was born, and its something we have to learn to work with. Aside from personality quirks there are the medical issues. Charlie has knee problems. Lucy has allergies. You really have to be prepared for these unique situations and know that they will affect your overall daily care for your dog.

    It’s one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.

    When one dog has chewed your shoes and the other had an accident on your carpet and you’re asking yourself if you did the right thing adopting these two little twerps- you will always answer yes. Like I mentioned before, the love from a dog is unconditional. They never stay mad, they never judge, they’re always excited to see you, they comfort you when you’re sad, they’re happy when you’re happy- the intuition a dog has is unlike anything else in this world. It makes the whole thing worth it. To this day I’m not sure how I’ll ever be prepared when the time comes that I have to say goodbye to them. Life is so much brighter with them in my life. I know that day will come faster than I will ever want it to, but at the same time I know that because of them, my life has been forever changed.

    Naturally Nats | 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adopting A Dog

    Okay I’m done with the emotional dog post. (Just wait until I have kids!) To keep up on the glamorous life of Charlie and Lucy, follow these hip little social media pups on Instagram! (They take after their mom. 😉 )

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