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I recently got a dog. I grew up with lots of animals, so I had a pretty good feel for how a dog would impact my life, but here are the top three things nobody warned me about.
1) It takes longer to get places by foot. That's because when you're out with a dog, people are constantly stopping you to pet your dog and talk. Parents with kids use your dog for teachable moments, other dog owners want to thier dog to play with yours, and everyone wants to know your dog's name and age. Seems innocent enough, right? It is--unless you're in a hurry or a bad mood. In those cases, I recommend wearing headphones.
2) More talking out loud when no one is around. When I say "more talking out loud," I'm not referencing the commands you give your dog. I'm referencing the "conversations" many petowners have with their animals, myself included. Think I'm weird? Think again. A 2010 Associated Press-Petside.com poll found that about 1 in 10 petowners would talk their problem over with their pet, and a third of pet owning married women said their pets are better listeners than their husbands.
3) It's hard not to talk about your dog all the time. Ever been trapped in the middle of some boring pet story a friend or family member is telling, wishing it would end? I always thought that people who go overboard with "pet talk" simply don't know their stories are boring. Now I'm realizing I may be wrong...You see, although I recognize I'm the only one who cares about the details of my dog's life, it's still surprisingly hard for me not to share those details with others. Don't get me wrong--the last thing I want is to become a crazy dog lady. That's why I've implemented a "no dog talk" policy. Unless I can generate a good reason as to why you would want to hear my dog stories, I won't tell you. Instead, I'll talk to my dog about it.