I Want A Dog But I Don’t Want The Responsibility


When I was a kid, I wanted a dog more than anything.

My brother is 10 years older than I am, so once he got a car (aka a ticket to freedom) I was basically an only child. I was convinced that a dog would be the perfect stand-in for a sibling. I’d never be a lonely only child again.

But my mom was having NONE of that.

First, she was terrified of dogs. No matter how many times I tried to convince her that a West Highland Terrier (my dog of choice) wouldn’t bite, she was the one who wasn’t biting. Secondly, she didn’t want the dog to become her responsibility as opposed to mine.

Now that I’m living on my own, I have the complete freedom to get a dog. My apartment building is pet-friendly. I have enough savings to cover the initial expenses. Yet it’s that same sense of responsibility my mom spoke of that keeps me from pulling the little, fluffy trigger.

I want to dress up a dog, but dog clothes are really expensive.

There is literally nothing cuter than a dog in clothes. When it’s cold outside, I desperately want to dress a dog in an ironically ugly sweater. When it’s raining? A rain slicker and galoshes. Halloween? My canine WILL be in a bacon costume.

Then I think about the prices attached to these adorable pieces of doggy attire and add up the money I would be spending...man, that budget is serious. And what about all the other stuff you have to pay for with a dog, like medical bills and chew toys? I get heart palpitations just thinking about it.

I’m sure it’s worth it when you fall in love with the little guy, but what about the trip I want to take to Europe?

I want a dog to greet me when I come home, but I don’t want the guilt of leaving.

I have this image of coming home after a long, tough day at work and having my bulldog, Doug, greet me at the front door with his tail wagging. Sometimes that vision gets a little aggressive and Doug is somehow carrying a glass of wine in his mouth when he greets me. #Dreams.

Anyway, what person doesn’t want that kind of unconditional love greeting her when she gets home?

But the other side of that coin is the guilt you'll inevitably feel when leaving. My two best friends have dogs and every time they leave they have to endure their whining and whimpering. I have serious guilt issues; how will I ever be able to leave my apartment with that happening behind the door?

I know a dog is a great excuse to get out of stuff, but that will give me FOMO.

Currently, when I don’t want to go to the birthday party of my best friend’s friend from home, I have to find a believable excuse to get out of it. I can’t just say I’m sick, because that will preclude me from the rest of the weekend hangs. I also can’t say I have a work thing, because then it’ll be suspicious when I’m suddenly caught up on the latest binge-worthy TV show.

A pooch would be the perfect excuse. I’d be able to stay at home with no judgment, simply because everyone would think I need to house-train my dog.

However, I know there will come a time when I resent my dog for keeping me from living my life. Sure, I don’t want to go to a friend of a friend’s party, but what about that concert in Brooklyn? I can’t leave a pup alone for eight hours while I’m at work, and then for an additional four hours while I'm at a concert.

I want to play catch with a dog, but I don’t want to touch a slobbery dog toy.

It’s simple. Playing catch with my hypothetical canine sounds like so much fun. Every dog that’s ever played catch has a look of pure joy on his face as he runs for the ball.

But I have to be honest. I haven’t emotionally readied myself for dog slobber yet. It still grosses me out, and I know that ball is going to be COVERED in drool.

I want to take care of something, but I can barely take care of myself.

My internal struggle over wanting a dog boils down to the above statement.

I want to prove that I can take care of another life — both to myself and to others. I want to love something and start my own family. I want to be responsible for something adorable.

Yet I’m also realistic. There are times when I can barely take care of myself. I JUST got health insurance. I JUST took MYSELF to the doctor. I just started sacking money away in my savings account.

Also, it’s winter. It’s cold. I don’t want to go outside, let alone walk something so helpless it can’t control where it poops.

Maybe now isn’t the right time for a dog, and that’s okay. I still have years and years to make that big purchase.

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