Dogs can teach us about parenting

Listen to this article

Like most people in relationships, my boyfriend and I have talked about the future many times. When we might get married, where we might live someday, when we would buy a house – the list is endless. We have also talked about having kids someday – in the far future, of course.

Awesome always jokes that we already have a baby: our dog Ripley. I admit that I am totally in love with her and I do baby and spoil her, but at the end of the day she is a dog, not a human.

When we first got her, she was a tiny puppy who cried when we put her to bed, ate like a ravenous beast, and needed to be watched at all times. Now, I’ve never had a kid before but I feel like this would be mostly how it would start. It basically scared us off from ever having babies. But the difference is that Ripley can’t talk back, stopped crying within the first two weeks of being with us, and will become an adult in one year’s time. After the first few months I stopped constantly worrying about her. She was adjusting well and despite the fact that she is deaf, she’s basically a regular dog.

spay3Of course, once we got all adjusted to owning a dog, it was time for her to be spayed, and time for me to start freaking out again. I cried to Awesome the night before she had to go in for surgery, “What if she has a bad reaction to the anesthesia? What if she doesn’t wake up? What if she thinks we abandoned her?”

He took this all in stride, reassuring me that she would be fine. She did get through the surgery just fine, but my worrying didn’t stop there. We had to watch her every second to make sure she wasn’t jumping or roughhousing. We had to administer three different medications at different times during the day. We had to force her to wear one of those collar cones so that she would lick her stitches. It has been a terribly anxious week for me, and I’m not even the one who had surgery.

The whole ordeal has made me really think twice about having kids. Am I just going to worry constantly about my kids? Will I be one of those neurotic mothers who makes her children afraid of everything? Will I have to keep an endless supply of Xanax on hand just so I don’t fall down and die of anxiety?

I’m assuming this is one of the difficult parts about becoming a parent. All the what ifs and wondering and having absolutely no clue what to do next or what is coming next. I can only hope that Awesome and I can handle it if and/or when the time comes.