I have been a dog owner for about 3 months now. That is a drop in the bucket compared to many people, and it still feels new to me. I figured it was about time to get underway, stop making excuses, and adopt a dog of my own. People always have common reasons why they should not get a dog. I heard them all. The main one always revolves around time. Vet students are busy, veterinarians are busy, etc. So, when does anyone have time for a dog? I ended up concluding that this excuse will always be present, and I needed to make a decision. It is not about when you will have time for a dog because you never will if you just keep waiting. I figured that I needed to actually make time for a dog in my life. My mother always told me, “We make time for the things that are important to us.” This is an example of that mindset.
Walden, my hound dog, has been a complete joy to have in my life. He has taught me what it really takes to train an animal. I am interested in small animal behavior, so training dogs is a passion of mine. Let me tell you, it seems really easy when you read it in the textbooks but it is a different story when the dog is in front of you and it just won’t lay down no matter what you try! In that case, I ended up trying a few different techniques. Now, Walden can lay down with the best of them and is still working on his down stay.
A dog teaches you many things about yourself, sometimes without you even noticing. After a few weeks, I noticed myself worrying about being away from the dog during the day for long periods. I thought about Walden being home, being lonely, and not feeling loved. But then my partner and I talked about it, and concluded that I was the one who cared more about this than Walden did! Walden always seems to content to stay home, sleep the hours away, and get in that great nap that so many hounds indulge in. Sure, he loves seeing us too, but being home alone has become part of his schedule. Sometimes he even gets a little grumpy if he does not get his daily nap on the weekends when I am around interrupting him!