How Having A Pet Prepares You For Kids
Some people may argue that having a pet together with your partner in no way prepares you for having children. They are wrong. When it’s just you and your partner, you can go days without looking at the clock, worrying about when you go home or when you wake up. Your life can be entirely spontaneous (at least during the weekends). Every single decision you make only pertains to what makes you and your partner happy, or what is best for you and your partner as individuals and as a couple. Once you have a pet, all of that changes. If you’re getting a pet with your partner and expect it to just be some cute accessory around the house, you’re in for a shock and should do a little more research first. Here are the surprising ways having a pet together prepares you for having kids.
Your schedule is no longer your own
Oh, everybody is getting drinks after dinner at this super fun place you and your partner have totally wanted to try? Sounds nice. But your dog has now been alone, at home for five hours and needs to go to the bathroom. You don’t just get to spontaneously do whatever you want all of the time. Whether it’s through yourselves or a dog walker, you need to make sure your pet is tended to at certain times every day. You can’t just stay out until 4 am anymore.
You deeply care about something together
There is an incredible bond that comes from not just caring about each other, but caring about something else, together, and more than anyone else in the world does. Nobody loves your dog the way you and your partner do. The love you have for your pet is a feeling that only you and your partner understand. In essence, you create a set of emotions shared just between you and your partner.
You learn selflessness
There will be times you have to cancel an evening you were really looking forward to because your dog is having diarrhea, so you have to stay in and take him out every time he does the potty dance. Sometimes you’ll have to give up things you really want because your dog needs you.
It doesn’t matter whose turn it is
Perhaps you used to be sticklers about whose turn it was to vacuum or put away the dishes. The thing is that vacuuming and dishes can always wait, but your dog can’t. You can’t be sticklers about whose turn it is to feed or walk the dog when the dog needs to eat and go out right now, regardless of which one of you is available. You become way more of a team, not caring about who does what more so long as the dog’s needs are met.
You’ll make a budget for your pet
You’ll actually have to sit down and make a budget for your dog’s food, vet visits, health insurance, dog walkers and so on. This may be the first thing you share equal financial responsibility of. That means you’ll have to make decisions together about what pet health insurance plan to choose and which vet to go to. Your previous financial decisions were up to your own discretion.
You’ll both become softer and gentler
Your maternal and paternal instincts will come out. You’ll become more aware of everyone’s needs, from your pet’s to your partner’s to your friends’ and family’s. Honestly, you’ll just become better people. There’s a reason some folks say dog people are the nicest people.
You’ll get over poop and vomit talk
You’ll get over any stigma around poop and vomit talk. You have to. If your dog has had runny stool for a couple of days, you’ll need to communicate with one another about whether or not his poop has returned to a normal consistency. If he vomits when your partner isn’t home, you’ll have to take a photo of the vomit so you can both analyze it and see if you recognize anything weird in it.
You’ll have to discipline your pup
Do you know how hard it is to ignore an adorable dog who is whining? Do you know how hard it is to use a stern voice with a cute little puppy because he just ate your shoe? It’s not easy, but it prepares you for having to do much of the same thing with your kids one day. Being anything besides super sweet and snuggly to something adorable is difficult.
You’ll become great planners
If you’re headed out for a day with the dog, you need to first research dog-friendly restaurants so you can eat somewhere without having to leave your pup in the car. You’ll need to remember to pack the dog’s pop-up bowl, as well as a cooler with water in case there aren’t water fountains everywhere you go. You’ll need to make sure you pack the freeze-dried food for your pup so it doesn’t go bad in the car. Sounds a lot like being a mom, huh?
You’ll get over having nice things
Your dog will pee on your carpet, chew holes in your underwear, scratch up your couch and vomit on your favorite sheets. You won’t care because you love her so much. But you’ll also stop being so attached to having designer sheets and expensive underwear.
You’ll realize you only like responsible friends
You’ll start to truly appreciate your responsible and caring friends. You don’t want friends around who feed your dog table scraps when you told them those were dangerous for your pup. And you’re rather turned off by people who ignore your dog—what’s up with that? Don’t they have a heart? Having a pet shows you who your thoughtful and sweet friends are.
You’ll face the good cop/bad cop dynamic
One person will want to give the dog more treats than the other does. One person will want to let the dog sleep in the bed all night with them, while the other thinks that should only be for naps. Get ready to see who the good cop and bad cop will be when you have children.
You’ll get used to researching
When you have kids, you’ll subscribe to tons of newsletters and websites that keep you updated on infections affecting children, important vaccinations, articles on nutrition for children and more. When you have a pet, you’ll subscribe to similar newsletters and websites for animals.
You’ll learn to share the bed
You’ll experience the truly devastating experience of having to pick up your dog—your sweet, adorable dog who wants to cuddle—and relocate him to another room so you and your partner can have sex. It’s heartbreaking. And you’ll have to do that with your children, too.
You must account for them when you travel
You can’t just pick up and go on a trip whenever you want to. You need to make sure your dog has a sitter and a good one. You need to make sure the sitter has the phone numbers to the vet and any other pertinent contacts. You need to make sure the sitter knows specific instructions, like not to walk the dog on one block of the street where there tends to be broken glass. You have to dedicate hours to making arrangements for your pet before you travel…just like you will with kids.