In March, my fiancé and I brought home a corgi puppy named Murray. I read plenty of dog-raising books beforehand, so I knew full well what I was getting into. Even still, I was surprised by how "mom-like" I immediately became.
Of course, I would never claim that raising a dog is the same as raising a child. (You can't leave your kid in a crate when you aren't home, after all!) But that said, I'm finding that our puppy is helping prepare me for the day when I have children of my own. Here are just a few of the ways:
1. He keeps us up at night. The first full day we spent with Murray is a blur in my mind—probably because I was so exhausted from listening to him cry the night before, I could barely think straight. He quickly figured out that his crate is actually pretty comfortable, but that still didn't stop him from waking us in the middle of the night when he needed to go the bathroom. (And if you think getting up at 3 a.m. is bad, imagine having to venture outside during the winter too!) These days, Murray's able to make it through the night without a trip to the backyard, but there are still those occasions where we wake up to the sound of vomiting. Lovely.
2. He's taken over our free time. When I get out of work now, I have to hurry home to let Murray out, so that means no meet-ups with friends. Weekends are often spent catering to our puppy's needs, whether it's a vet visit or bringing him to the dog park. And we're no longer able to just go away for the weekend like we used to do. While I do miss having a flexible schedule, I find it doesn't matter so much now that I have a furry friend following me around the apartment. (Besides, he's also a great excuse to get out of invites I have no interest in!)
3. I have become the new mom who worries about every little thing. On my first day alone with Murray, he suddenly became sick. Panicked, I called my dad, and then the vet. I was sure he had eaten something horrible and it was my fault for not watching him more carefully. Turns out, he was just "overexcited."
4. I'm learning to enforce my rules with others. Just like a child, Murray has already figured out that "Grandma" and "Grandpa" don't know all of the rules—and he's happy to take advantage of that! And interestingly enough, my dad—who always kept our family dog in line when I was kid—will encourage Murray to be naughty. It's strange learning to speak up to my parents in a respectful way, but I suppose it's a useful life skill to develop.
5. I spend way too much time talking about the digestive process and gross body fluids. See #1 and #3.