Tuesday Topics #41 - BD and AD

close up of cabana's face with her mouth open in a happy smile
We're coming up on three years since Cabana came to live with us, so I must be waxing a bit nostalgic. Having Cabana has changed me, mostly in trivial ways, but also in some important ways. Here's a top ten list of differences Before Dog (BD) and After Dog (AD):

1. For the first month or two, I used to wash my hands after petting Cabana every time because I felt that dogs were germ-y. It was wintertime when we got her, and my skin already tends to be dry. I used a lot of lotion that year. AD, what isn't covered with dog germs, and why does it matter?

2. BD, I never noticed people walking their dogs through our neighborhood. I gave them not the slightest glance. AD, I notice everything about them--the breed, how they are walking in conjunction with their human, and of course, whether they are bustling over to us for a mutual sniff with Cabana. More likely than not, I also know their names and their owners' names.

3. BD, I used to vacuum the house about once a week, whether it needed it or not. Now, if I go a whole week before vacuuming, the dust and fur bunnies would be dust and fur elephants. AD, I vacuum/sweep at least 2-3 times a week, or die trying.

4. BD, daily exercise was a struggle. AD, it's absolutely built in to my life. A day doesn't go by without a walk through the neighborhood or at the park. I love getting outside, regardless of weather, and appreciating the change of seasons. I have never considered myself the outdoorsy type, so having a reason to not only get outside but relish it as much as I do now is a true gift.

5. BD, I had to mouth breathe when I'd ride in the car of a dog owner because the smell was so repugnant to me. AD, my own car probably smells just as strong, but I rarely even notice it. (Some may say I'm crazy, but I think that dog odor can be very similar to the smell of corn chips--and I know I'm not the only one.)

6. BD, my favorite color to wear was black. AD, I have to think twice before I put on a black shirt or black jeans. If I'm going out somewhere, I wait to dress until the last minute, then slip out of the house before I make Cabana contact.

7. AD, it is almost impossible for me to sleep in. Not because Cabana makes any noise or does anything at all to wake me up, but because I have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. She eats breakfast at 6:30, and without any external alarm clock, that's when I automatically wake up to feed her. (My husband might say this is due to the fact that I fall asleep when watching TV at 8pm and am often in bed by 9pm. But narcolepsy aside, I can't sleep in, knowing Cabana is hungry.)

8. BD, I had become very shy and anti-social. (I still can be at times.) Being around people was work. I had a very small circle of friends and had no desire to enlarge that circle. AD, if you have a dog, not only will I talk to you, I'll probably even like you (unless you treat your dog badly, in which case I might yell at you, in my head if not audibly).

9. Since I work from home, I spend a large part of my day alone. If it weren't for Cabana, I don't think I could have been happy doing this for so many years. I would have gotten much too lonely and reclusive. But Cabana is the perfect amount of company.

10. Piggybacking on that, going to the dog park with Cabana has opened the door to so many wonderful friendships. I often joke that the dog park is my "church", where we all worship Dog together. No boring sermons, pleas for money or guilt trips--just fellowship, support and camaraderie, both from the humans and the canines.

11. (I was supposed to stop at 10, but I couldn't leave this one out.) BD, I would have thought you were a nutjob if you told me you spent time blogging about your dog. Get a life! AD, I consider myself fortunate to be in the company of such wonderful nutjobs. I have a life, and it happens to be very good, thanks in large part to a sweet yellow dog.

How has your dog changed you? I hope you'll share!

Becky  – (November 29, 2011 at 7:02 PM)  

Oh what a beautiful post! Sounds like AD is the way to go! I laughas I reflect on calling GDB prior to my first guide with the concern of dog hair. Oh my goodness! So not a big deal. I still love black and try to find fabrics that the hair slides off :). Well, besides the beautiful obvious of a guide dog blessings (freedom, mobility, independence), a dog in our lives brings laughter, simplicity, routine and endless supply of love and yes something fun to blog about!

Mandy and Saxon  – (November 29, 2011 at 7:04 PM)  

:) #6 is my favorite. And my mom always tells me my car smells like dog like it is some sort of revelation. My answer is "well I would hope so"

Raiser Erin  – (November 30, 2011 at 12:43 AM)  

I've always had dogs so all of the BD stuff is alien to me. haha! I can't really say how my dog has changed me, but I can say how not having my dog has changed me. I'm seriously a much more easily stressed out person. It used to be that if I was stressed I would snuggle with one of my dogs or go take them for a walk. Having a dog is a natural stress reliever.

Kari in Vegas  – (November 30, 2011 at 9:21 AM)  

Life is so much better AD :)

Stop on by for a visit

Erin T  – (November 30, 2011 at 1:17 PM)  

AD: I have adjusted my wardrobe to fit the color of dogs in my house. You will notice I wear a lot of dark colored clothing lol.

Elijah and Hobart II  – (November 30, 2011 at 2:42 PM)  

It's always great to be able to look back to see where you were and where you are. You can feel proud of all you learned and how Cabana has changed your life. It certainly becomes second nature. Things change so much when a dog comes into your life and it's a blessing that nothing else can quite equal.

~Elijah & Hobart II

Martha G  – (November 30, 2011 at 8:34 PM)  

It's hard to believe you were never a dog person. You've adapted quite well! I've always had dogs in my life, but I've had before Ardella and after Ardella changes. It really started in 2001 with 9/11 and not being able to read anything for a long time, except for a book about the human-animal bond, which was the first time I'd read about it. I've been learning ever since and I'm sure I'll keep learning about dog/cat/animal behavior until I can no longer learn.

Min  – (December 1, 2011 at 7:38 PM)  

I never would have survived this deployment without Ms. Bella! I'm one of the lucky ones who never lived life without a dog. However, Bella is our first indoor dog. My standards for what is clean has significantly been lowered.

Beth and Alfie  – (December 2, 2011 at 1:03 PM)  

Fun post!! Wow -- I've grown up around dogs, and the times we didn't have one it just seemed like a strange anomaly. So...I don't have much "BD" to compare. I've noticed that each individual dog has left a distinct imprint, though. Life with dogs is definitely more social, active, and filled with laughter. Who would trade it? :-)

Mango  – (December 3, 2011 at 4:16 AM)  

Sounds like me! I had to get over my cootie thoughts pretty fast with a big stinky mastiff around. And I will talk to just about anybody with a dog but prefer to avoid meeting people without dogs. And, yeah, I do get more walking in than without. Overall, it's all good, right?

Mango Momma

Jason Evan Mihalko, Psy.D.  – (December 3, 2011 at 6:46 AM)  

Such a fantastic reminder of how our lives with dogs transform us. I've had a life long fascination with #5. Puppy paws, especially first thing in the morning, is one of my favorite things. I can always tell when Maggie is in for a serious nap because she "turns her paws on."

JennBristol  – (December 6, 2011 at 9:04 PM)  

What a great post! I don't remember what it is like BD. I was 25 when I got my first "pair" of pups. That was my first of many freshman mistakes. But now, 14 years later and two additional dogs, I forget what it was like not worrying about the four-legged friends in my life. Yes, sometimes, I am jealous of people that are pet-free. BUT, just for a minute. Can't imagine my life with out them.

And, same as you, having dogs opened up my local social circle. By having dogs, I have become a community advocate now.

Tessa99999  – (December 29, 2011 at 11:37 AM)  

Like many others I've never NOT had a dog. (Sans 4 years of college, but it so doesn't count.) I don't really have and BD, but I do have Before Addie and After Addie. Before Addie I would never think of going outside and DOING something just because I can. After Addie I've gone hiking! I go for walks because it's fun and I like it. I find more and more reasons to just do stuff!

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