Dog owner. Pet parent. Animal nut. Most people I've run across associate themselves with one of these labels. It seems that dog and pet people put themselves on a responsibility scale that moves from wild abandon to strict domination. However you self-identify, I consider myself a moderate dog lover more than anything and I’ll tell you why.
- Dog training is important but I admit that I’ll never put the same amount of time my mother, a former professional dog trainer, did with our pure-bred show dogs.
- I work hard to give my dog a good diet based on her age, lifestyle, size and mobility, even if it means cooking her meals.
- Because I want people to know we have a big dog in the house, yes I will let her bark at noises. Loudly.
- When we go for walks I pick up her poop, sometimes in pink biodegradable bags.
- If we meet people or other dogs on her walks, I will keep her leash short and guide her away if neither human nor dog want to interact with us.
- Every morning I clean the goop out of her eyes and thank her for letting me up close to her face with my morning breath.
- I buy the jumbo-sized Neosporin and hydrogen peroxide because we use it regularly for our cuts as well as for her dog scrapes.
- Though my city is terrible at enforcement, I gladly pay for her vaccinations and a dog license each year.
- We make arrangements for her to stay with friends rather than take her on trips because while we want her with us, we know she does not like riding in the car.
- She never stops loving us, the least I can do is carefully keep the warm sudsy water out of her eyes when we bathe her.
All the ways I care for my dog are part of my job. Isn't it my duty to pick up my dog’s poop? Shouldn’t you give your dog the kind of food that makes them healthy?
I love being in charge of Cleo. Having her rely on me is a wonderful vote of confidence as a human. Common sense hasn't let me down yet, and with Cleo's ability to trust us, our family should be just fine with dog lovers at the helm.