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Confessions of a First-Time Dog Owner

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Somewhere out in the unknown time continuum, 13-year-old me is whooping it up and smiling like she's holding a hanger in her mouth. The reason being: I have finally gotten to the point in my life where I have a dog.

Only a mere few months ago, I met Freddy. Impossibly skinny with the hugest, wisest brown eyes I'd ever seen, he caught hold of my heart strings (must stop leaving them so visible) and hung on for dear life. Freddy was staying with my cousin while she searched for a good home for him. His previous family dropped him off with her unceremoniously because couldn't keep up with his needs any more.

Being a self-involved 20-something, we joked about how ridiculous it would be for me to take Freddy home. Going for walks in the cold? Having to come home early? Vet appointments? Nothing about it screamed ME. But the longer I stayed at my cousin's and the closer he crept towards me to use my knee as a head rest, the more my heart broke for this tiny poodle that no one wanted.

I just had to take Freddy home and love the little fur ball with all my might. Which I did and do. But every now and then, I catch myself doing things I never thought I would. If you're a new dog owner like me and think you're alone in the weird turns your life has taken, you're not. I compiled a list of things I can't believe I do now thanks to Freddy. The good, the bad and the oh-so-friggin-nasty. You've been warned...

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I Close Every Single Door
It seems small and insignificant but I swear it's not. I've been leaving doors ajar for so long that now my mornings start with me sleepily walking into these newly closed doors. And why? Because Freddy likes to eat stuff. All kinds of stuff. Even stuff that I've thrown in the garbage. Oh boy does he like to eat garbage stuff. Closing every door keeps his snacking down at a minimum and saves me from following a treasure trail of used Kleenex, dental floss, old food and water bottles through my house.

I Judge Other Owners
Whenever I read an article about new parents, they always make the point that they USED to judge parents until they had kids themselves. I think owning a dog is the exact opposite. Before I had Freddy, I would see someone with a dog and think "Aw, how special. What a good owner." Now when I walk my dog through a park, I'm hit with such distain for other owners that it's more like this: "You can't put a leash on your dog? What is he, the crown prince?" "Yea, we all saw your dog take a dump. If I have to use poop bags, then you do too asshole!"

I Clean Barf
Dog barf. Which once landed on my super cute, purple shag carpet in my room. While I slept. Imagine that horror show when I flipped on the lights. Bless his little heart, he tried in vain to avoid the rug but that only succeeded in ruining the rug and half of a LouLou magazine. BRIDAL ISSUE, FREDDY! It's only happened a couple times since he moved in but it always starts at the crack of dawn and ends with me crying because what if he's been poisoned?!

I Now Take Up Only 20% of My Bed
Before I took Freddy home my cousin warned me "He likes to sleep in bed with you" but I figured I would break him of this habit. No dice. After a heart breaking 30-minute cry (on his part) from outside my door, when he was finally let in, he took up residence in the middle of my bed. At first we both had to get used to each other what with my elbowing him (accidentally!) on occasion and him using my butt cheek as a pillow but now we're in a comfortable rhythm for bedtime. Until he hears a weird noise then whisper-barks to protect his lady.

I Make Up Annoying Nicknames
Freddy is actually the name I gave the little guy since he never answered to his old one and it was after Ike Turner and ew. However, I make up so many new nicknames that he rarely answers to Freddy either. Let's see, there's Buga, the shortform of BugABoo obviously; Stink Monster, for when he's evaded the bath for too long; Furry Pants, because I love sticking the word Pants on anything; Freddy Bags, which to me is a total mobster name; Farouq, Freddy Mercury's birth name for when he's being naughty, and sooooo many more.

I Pull Poo Out of Asses
Remember the mention of dental floss? That incident made for a difficult bathroom trip in the park. Without going into too much detail, my little dude was having troubles and (once I stopped laughing myself into tears) I took a deep breath, put the doggy bag over my hand and helped him out. Once we got back home I gave him a bath, took a 30-minute scalding hot shower and Freddy and I avoided each other for a few hours.

I Have A 'Bath Time' Outfit
And it can't be white. Inside the tub Freddy is a tiny, shivering wet noodle, he doesn't move and stays as close to the edges as possible just in case he sees an opportunity to jump out and bolt. If I put my hands under his torso to lather him up he will always attempt to hop into my arms. Once he's out (and I've managed to towel him off a bit) he barrels his wee frame into my body and then takes off down the hall in what I can only assume is a sped up version of attempting to air dry.

I Cry When I Leave In The Morning
I don't know exactly when Freddy realized that the huge window facing the driveway was the perfect spot to make major puppy eyes at me but damn does he milk it for all its worth. He sets up shop there when I leave and his snowy white face is the first thing I see there when I get back. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing those huge eyes when I arrive home but it's the leaving part that kills me.

I Have A Legitimate Reason To Talk Out Loud
And Freddy NEVER shushes me. Not when I talk during the funny parts of New Girl, not when I spoil the end of Sons of Anarchy for him and not even when I whisper fun facts about our favourite actors during their SNL monologues. I mean, OK sometimes he'll get up off the couch and walk into a completely different room but I just take it to mean that he needs to stretch his legs, so I talk louder. But seriously, not talking to empty air is such a life improvement.

I've Realized I Can Totally Be A Grown-Up
When I first thought about taking Freddy home I was so worried that I'd turn into a big bowl of mush and he'd have the run of the house. It was a seriously pleasant surprise to find that I'm capable of putting my foot down when I have to. Who would have thought that I'd be the disciplinarian instead of the bleeding heart? But it's true. No matter how much he whines and cries for table food, he never gets it. When he jumps up on the coffee table, he's met with a super-stern berating. Scurrying away from the sound of running water? Freddy gets dragged right back. If he tries to give me that face that says "But I'm so cute!" I tell him to take it on down the road.

Am I alone in this discovery of the wonders of owning a dog?