A few months ago, my roommate and I took the plunge and adopted a dog. He is an Australian Kelpie mix we named Goose, and he is somewhere between a year and 2-years-old, according to the shelter.
We had a dog when I was a kid, named Bella, who still lives with my parents. However, we already had a cat when we got her, so I really don’t have a ton of experience with being a primary caretaker for a dog, which my friends enjoy reminding me of whenever I seem out of my element, which happens a lot.
Goose was a stray before the shelter found him, so he has very little training in most areas. We’ve been working hard to get him into shape so we don’t have to worry about him when he’s home alone or we see another dog out on our walk.
He’s full of energy as a herding dog, and probably needs more than the 2-mile walk that we try and take him on every day. It keeps him calm enough that we don’t have to worry about shoes or pillows or anything.
I’ve heard stories about farms where the owners will rent out their sheep, essentially, and let you bring your dog and they can run around and herd for a while. Maybe I’ll look into arranging a trip to one of those farms for him for his birthday.
As much work and as stressful as it has been, having a dog really is all it is cracked up to be. Being able to come home to someone that is excited to see you every day, particularly at the end of a bad day, really is a wonderful thing to be able to do — assuming that he’s already had his walk and isn’t jumping up and trying to herd me.
I’ve never had a particularly cuddly animal, but he will curl up with me on the couch or in bed and go to sleep on my lap because he doesn’t realize that at 40 pounds he is a little too big to be a lap dog.
We currently live in an apartment, which means we have to take him out for a lap around the complex every time he needs to go out. Depending on how distracted he gets, this is a task that can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, which is certainly something I relate to as someone with ADHD. So, in some ways we’ve got some similarities.
He’s quite popular around the complex, which I attribute to his Baby Yoda-esque ears, which have to be 3-inches long and stick straight out.
As I’m writing this, we’ve officially hit two months with him. We’ve still got a lot of work to do to get him trained to listen all the time. I like to joke that he’ll listen to the mailman before he listens to me.
He’s learning and starting to be less stubborn unless he’s found a bite of food he doesn’t normally have access to. It seems like the hardest days with him are behind us, which means we can have more of the moments that are why you want a dog in the house in the first place, and less of those that make me want to pull my hair out.
I had visions of taking him with me on hikes when we got him, but we haven’t quite gotten to the point yet where I’m comfortable taking him to a busy trailhead with lots of opportunities to see other dogs. Now I’m confident that we’ll get there, which admittedly I had some moments of doubt in.
My sister came to see me over the New Year’s holiday, and had the opportunity to meet her nephew. He responded by promptly curling up with her on the couch, which is my poor excuse for a segue into a note about her, who I wrote about in my first ever piece in this space.
By the time this is published, she’ll have undergone surgery on her right hip in order to correct her dysplasia. It’s hard not being able to there while she’s undergoing such an important procedure.
I know she’s in good hands with my parents and her doctors, who deserve a column of their own for the support they’ve been able to give her in what will hopefully be a breezier recovery than last time. So Lauren, Goose and I will be thinking about you.