This is the first post in a series of 3 that will explain why having our dog is like having a baby. Or at least, what I assume it would be like to have a baby since we have no actual experience in that department. Feel free to disagree and explain to me why a baby is so much more difficult (or easier?) than having our dog.
1. Baby-sitter required. We’ve tried leaving our pup, Lily, at home alone. We thought she would just bark for 10 minutes, get tired, and find something to chew. We were even ok with losing a pair of shoes or the coffee table leg in the process, as long as it meant we could go grab dinner alone once in awhile.
Well, we gave that a try. Lily barked her head off for over 2 hours straight (according to eye-witness accounts by our neighbors). We came home to find a note on our door that had been left by one such neighbor that said, “You dog has been barking all day. I am concerned. If this continues, I will call Animal Protection.”
We hadn’t beaten our dog. She is well-fed. We simply left her alone for a couple hours so she could get used to the idea, and this prompted the wrath of our neighbors and got us on the “Do not invite to neighborhood parties” list.
Since then, we have taken our dog to my parents’ house whenever we go anywhere where dogs are not allowed. I drop her off in the morning before work and pick her up at the end of the day. When we make plans for the weekend, we have to call ahead and make sure someone is available to sit with our dog.
I know this is not the norm for most pet owners, but this is our circumstance. I have made excuses for her because we did get her as a rescue pup. She had been left alone in a box at the doorstep of an animal shelter. All alone and in the rain. Perhaps this is what caused her severe separation anxiety. Perhaps this is what causes us to feel guilty for leaving her alone. But in all honesty, I think we’re just afraid our neighbors are going to get really pissed and kick us out of our home.