From Our Readers
Updated Dec 23, 2014 @ 2:10 pm

Two weeks ago, I bought my Christmas gift from myself to myself. I have been living alone for almost a year, and I thought it was time to bring someone into my life. So, I went to the local animal shelter and adopted a three-year-old German Shepherd and Sharpei mix.

There are five things that I have noticed about myself and other pet owners in the brief time I have owned my dog. These things are pretty much universal to anyone with a pet, but more specifically a dog, so I wanted to share them with you!

The need to take pictures of everything they do.

I have an album on Facebook dedicated to my new bundle of fur, Cricket, and I have begun hash-tagging all pictures of her #CricketChronicles on my various social media. I think everyone I have ever met and then some have seen her sleeping in various positions around my apartment. That’s the thing—when we get a new pet, everything they do is the most adorable. We have to capture a picture of every waking moment. For those of use addicted to taking photos of our pets, we should try to follow a few guidelines. We should try to limit ourselves to one photo a day, or we should upload once a week but to one album on Facebook. No one wants 25 photos of Fido tearing apart his Lamb-Chop squeaky on their newsfeed. Try to refrain from being too shutter-happy with your pet and just enjoy playing with them.

You think everyone else is incompetent when it comes to caring for their pets.

I have a neighbor that just got a puppy and they never pick up its poop. We live in a quad-plex with a small front yard, and that yard is covered in little English Bulldog turds. Now, before I got Cricket, I didn’t care about the “yard-turned-toilet” in front of my apartment. I never walked through the grass, I always used the sidewalk to get to my garage. However, the second I started taking Cricket for walks, I realized the hassle and inconvenience of tiny turds. Now I am constantly griping about the inconsiderate neighbors and have even picked up their puppy’s poop on occasion as a result of my fury. The truth is, we start to get angry about they way other people are “taking care of” their pets, when we really have no say. Unless that animal is being abused we can’t interfere. We have to just take a deep breath and tell our apartment manager that our neighbors are too lazy to pick up their dog’s poop.

You realize whether or not you’re a pushover, and what behaviors you are willing to put up with.

I am a stickler when it comes to not letting Cricket eat people food. However, the area I am a pushover in is when it comes to snuggles. I let her climb in my lap and jump up in bed with me. I have to be sure to make sure she doesn’t jump on guests, or think that because I like her cuddles that everyone likes them too. The truth is, there are some things that we are OK with as fur-parents that others are not OK with. I hate it when dogs lick me, and Cricket does not lick. I have friends whose dogs do lick though, and lick a lot. Cricket is super vocal and I don’t mind, because I view her whines and groans as the way she “talks” to me. And I know people who will yell at their dogs for making those noises. In this instance, I think that the rule of thumb is “your house, your rules, their house, their rules.” Aside from, getting in people’s space, I think that if you are at a friend’s and their dog is doing their thing, you have to respect that you’re in someone else’s home. Yeah, you might not want to feed the dog an entire Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s not your dog!

Either you’re dominant, or the dog is.

We’ve all watched Caesar Milan and tried out his techniques on our dogs. The truth of the matter is that either you are there to feed your dog or you are there to lead your dog. You can tell the people in charge of their animals because a small noise from the owner warrants a response from the dog. There are those stubborn dogs that push our buttons, but the owner still maintains control. We’ve all seen the dog that basically rules over its owner though, and we should refrain from judging. They might get it together, eventually.

You are needed.

No longer can you just leave at 5 a.m. and return at 2 a.m., only to crash for the entire weekend. Nope. That’s not allowed. You have to be home to let your dog out, and make sure they haven’t turned the house into a giant chew toy. You are responsible for another life, and once you realize that, it’s kind of surreal. You don’t have to report to someone because they are in charge of you, like when you lived with your parents. No, you go home because you want to care for this furry child that you have agreed to care for and love.

All that being said, don’t take having a pet lightly, do consider adopting, and be the best fur-parent you can be!

Sydney Yalshevec is an Arizona nerd, living and working as a reporter in a small Nebraska town. She likes to craft, paint her nails, and learn about anything and everything. She can be found on Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr under the name psydvicious.

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