Folks, Fathers Day is upon us. For “conventional” fathers, that will often mean Bunnings gift vouchers, low-brow Fathers Day cards, and gag gifts. For Pet Owners, though, it’s a time to celebrate the joy our furry friends have brought into our lives.
As a personal aside, today also marks my final day at Mad Paws. In the 3+ years I’ve worked here, I’ve had the honour of becoming a pet parent to a feisty West Highland White Terrier. As this is my first Fathers Day as a Dog Dad, and my last day at Australia’s leading pet care platform, I wanted to seize this chance to reflect on all the ways my willful Westie Schnoozy has changed my life. Yes, I’ll admit, this is pretty indulgent – but I PROMISE you’ll relate to some of these.
Fathers Day reflections: how Owning a dog changes your life
You’ll never watch movies or TV shows the same way again
Prior to pet parenthood, the presence of dogs in films or TV shows would be a pleasant bonus. I’d see a Labrador in a series, or German Shepherd in a film, and I’d think: “Hey, they’re gorgeous!” After I brought Schnoozy home, EVERYTHING changed. Suddenly, dogs became lenses through which I would judge other characters. If a TV pooch looks forlorn, I’ll condemn their fictional Owners for not giving them enough dog treats. If someone fails to greet their dog after returning home, I’ll start yelling at the screen: “What is WRONG with you, MONSTER?!” And don’t get me started on Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. That direwolf stood by his side for nearly eight seasons and Jon didn’t even give him a farewell pat! One star.
Your concept of time changes completely
Before my spouse and I welcomed Schnoozy into our lives, I measured time in a pretty conventional way. 8am on a weekday was Go Time. 10am on Saturday was the Brunching Hour. 8.30pm on any night was Netflix O’Clock. Then our Westie scampered into our schedules, and time as we knew it ceased to exist. 8am suddenly became “30 minutes until she does her business”. 2pm transformed into “T minus two hours until she wakes up and demands a walk”. If we slept the night through, it would only be because she allowed it.
This toothy, teddy bear-sized creature became the arbiter of our body clocks.
Your perception of risk becomes much more conservative
Pre-Schnoozy, I was happy to live on the wild side. Sure, I’m no daredevil, but I’ve done my share of risk-taking. The moment Schnoozy batted her eyes at us, that all changed. Now, when I cross the road, I think: “Who will care for my pupper if I’m hit by a car?” When choosing dinner options, I select the healthy choice. “I’m a pet parent,” I affirm to myself. “I need to remain healthy and productive to give my dog the quality of life she deserves.”
When you have a small creature who loves you, the wild side becomes a thing of the past.
You start buying items for their “dog-proof” qualities
Everything – and I mean everything – is now measured by its durability to dog teeth and claws. Looking at buying a new lounge? We’d better be sure it can withstand an assault from our furbaby. Eying off a new pair of shoes? Unless they have chew-resistant laces, I might as well write them off in advance. “Dog-proof” is now the metric by which we assess our things.
You unearth more love in your heart than you ever thought was possible
I love my spouse. I love my family. I love my friends, and I love gritty films about middle-aged badasses. Until Schnoozy, I never knew how much I could love another non-human creature. As saccharine as it sounds, my heart has grown bigger since I became a pet parent. And while I used to roll my eyes at the term “furbaby”, I now say it proudly.
This Fathers Day, I couldn’t be more grateful to have a furbaby in my life. And to all the other pet parents out there, let’s take this moment to remember how lucky we are.