Somehow, along the way, I made the terrible life decision to only be friends with people who are well and truly coupled. I'm surrounded by loving significant others who fawn over one another (and have really expensive weddings) and I find myself looking around and not seeing what the fuss is all about. Sure, they'll (maybe) have someone until the day they die, but there's also a lot of baggage that comes with it, like shared finances and bathrooms. So, while they're waxing eloquently about their boyfriends and husbands, I like to talk about my dogs (which is generally met with mixed reviews) because I'm convinced I've got the better end of the deal.
Not convinced a four-legged friend with a tail is a better choice for a life companion, well let me change your minds my friends.
When my dog starts hogging the covers, kicking me in her sleep, farting in bed and snoring too loudly, all I have to do is reach over and push them off the bed. There's no conversation about boundaries or needing my space, and I don't have to compromise on the amount of bed I take up. Granted there's a lot of disgruntlement, but since there are more dog beds than empty floor space in my house, they can just deal with it.
I've got an unending control over my Netflix account and a permanent couch partner to enjoy it with. While the pit bull does tend to prefer dog movies and the puppy has a strange thing for Frank Sinatra musicals, they'll just go to sleep when they don't like what I've put on. I can have a no-pants chill session in front of the TV and the only wandering limbs will be when the dog takes up too much of the couch.
Don't try and pretend you don't talk to your dogs — I'm not the only crazy one here. If I'm having a terrible, no good, very bad, rotten day, the dog's going to hear about it. I'm going to moan and complain, tell them all about it, and since my pups are just as vocal, they generally sass me right back. I don't have to hold it in because I need to be supportive of someone else's bad day or feel bad about being worked up over something silly. I can vent to my heart's content and they'll bark back supportively.
The days when my emotions are out of control and I just want to be sad or angry or curl up in a ball and ignore the world, my dogs let me. I've always got someone to curl up next to me, put their head in my lap or kiss my cheek and let me wallow. They're not going to get annoyed when it lasts too long or feel an obligation to make it better, or worse yet — talk me out of it. More often than not, just their presence will be enough to pull me out of it.
No, the dogs are not going to take out the trash or load the dishes (or vacuum up their own hairballs), but there's no expectation for help. You expect your significant other to pitch in around the house; when they don't, there's a lot of resentment. I know my dogs are going to tear up their toys, shed hair like it's their job and generally be little mess makers, but if it was a spouse who did it I'd go bonkers.
I've heard that going into a relationship expecting to be able to change someone is generally frowned upon. With the dogs, I'm supposed to train them to behave properly in the world. At the start of the dog-owner relationship, the puppy is an agent of chaos and bad behavior, but within a few months they're normally able to mind you and alter their behavior through repetition and kindness. Unfortunately for you, your partner's personality is probably what you're stuck with, good or bad. I'm not sure cookies and belly rubs can talk them into being more supportive.
Sometimes, you just want to get in your car, open the windows, blare the music and go. My dog's are always up for it and their infectious smiles and tongues hanging out only add to the experience. I don't have to worry about who is going to drive, argue over where we're going or if we'll be back in time for dinner. They're happy to just be on an adventure and trust that I'll take care of everything — which is a balm to my Type-A personality.
While I sometimes wish the dogs would use the toilet (house training is a literal nightmare), it does let me have exclusive bathroom rights. They're not stinking it up, using all the hot water or leaving beard trimmings in the sink. I can let my makeup sprawl and take as long as I want while they take care of business outside.
There are some girlfriends and wives out there who might argue that their partner fits into this, too, but that's not necessarily for the better. My dogs give me the chance to nurture and raise something, and feel the responsibility and love from doing so, while also having companionship and someone that will grow into at least semi self-sufficiency.
Whether you've just come home from work or a five-minute errand, your dog is always happy to see you. Can you say the same about your partner or friends? There are very few non-blood relations who give me the same unconditional love that my dogs do.
There are far too many homeless dogs (and cats) in the world, and I can do my small part in giving some of them a home, care and all the love I can provide. There are no strings or time limits, it's not conditional on their behavior nor dependent on whether someone better comes along. It's one of the few relationships in life in which you're not going to get hurt and you can freely and openly give of yourself without fear or judgement.
Now, next time you're feeling too single, go hug your pup and be thankful you have them in your life. I'm convinced they're the best companions a girl could have.
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