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!