My name is Stephanie. And I have a confession to make…
I’m kind of obsessed with my dogs.
Now, at first read, this might not sound like such a bad thing. Especially to our readers, who probably are all big-time animal lovers (if not, why are you still reading?). And at the very least, you are probably not surprised by this declaration. This is a blog where I write daily about all things relating to my dogs, after all. But for me, it has become a bigger issue. You see, it started small. Just buying them special toys and treats, letting them sleep in bed with us, you know? But if I’m being honest, it all began long ago. Yeah, I was that weird little girl who hadn’t yet lost all of her baby teeth, but could (and enthusiastically would!) tell you the difference between a shar-pei and a basenji, thanks to a dog breed book that went everywhere with me. My parents should have known then that I was destined to be weird.
However, I think that Foster Dad has been fueling the fire as my enabler, because we have officially become That Couple. I find myself only mildly interested in any conversations that don’t revolve around our dogs, and will realize suddenly that without conscious effort, I find new and unique ways to steer the subject back to that topic ever so discreetly. More surprising, I have even caught Foster Dad in conversation with other pet owners, where he is not-so-subtly trying to top their stories of ‘whose animal is more perfect and adorable?’. He will spend the drive home reiterating their conversations to me, aggressively and passionately recounting why Gaige is obviously so much better than Fluffy or Fido or Ferdinand. At the end of these diatribes, Foster Dad will exclaim that Fluffy’s owner is in fact a total jerk, and while had no idea how he hadn’t previously become aware of this over 10+ years of friendship, it was obvious that they just weren’t cut out to be friends. And just forget it if any of his friends dare purchase a purebred pup, utilize a shock collar, or presume to feed their dogs low quality foods or at haphazard times… perhaps this is a sign that my lectures have gone a little bit too far?
Worse still, it has become clear that we will often cancel or cut short our plans in favor of spending more time with our dogs. Why go out for extra drinks after a movie, when instead we could go cuddle with a six-pack on the couch with our pups? After all, the girls have spent the afternoon in their kennels. At least this has a positive effect on our wallets… but of course, any excess funds just go right back to the dogs in the form of expensive organic dog food and our dog fence fund.
The biggest problem is that when leaving the house without the dogs in tow, I experience a sudden and dramatic anxiety. My worry reaches new and unparalleled heights… have the dogs had enough to drink today? Are they worried, wondering where I am? Is my absence hurting their fragile psyches? Did I leave on any electrical appliances that could potentially catch fire and burn down our house? Forget the house, but would the firemen be able to locate our dogs? Should we place signs in our front yard to alert potential rescue crews to their presence? Call me crazy, but I have found myself turning the car around to go home and unplug all. of the appliances. Just to be sure. Friends, if you’re wondering why I’ve been late for most of our meetings recently, now you know.
Whooo. It feels good to get all of that off of my chest. Now I understand why they say that admitting your problem is the first step… though I don’t see my addiction ending anytime soon. And why would I want it to?