An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Pet Ownership

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If you’re an awkward person and a pet lover you’ve likely already uncovered the secret that your pet doesn’t care how awkward you are. It can be magical to have a companion who loves you whether you’re fixating on something stupid or feeling nervous unnecessarily. There are also some aspects of pet ownership that requires talking to strangers and doing awkward things.

I wouldn’t ever trade my dog Rosie, even when I get nervous about vet trips or interactions at the dog park. She loves me and comforts me no matter how awkward, goofy or sad I am. I have figured out some tricks to alleviate my awkward girl moments when it comes to dog ownership.

    1. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Before you decide to get a pet, start doing your research. When it comes to adopting a pet, you’ll have to talk to many people. It helps if you have a pet in mind. Start with generally researching what breeds and age will work for your. Apps like PetFinder and shelter website can help you pinpoint animals that might be right for you. Research what questions to ask and what to look for when you have a pet home visit (which I totally recommend). When it’s time to go through the process of adopting a pet, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for and how to say it…even if it’s a nervous or awkward situation.

      This step can also be a little addictive. I can’t tell you how much time I spent on Pet Finder before I found my Rosie. But when her foster mom brought her to visit we were comfortable enough to figure out if she was as good a fit as we hoped.

    2. SET GOALS. Before you choose your pet, know what you want from this pet. Do you want a dog that can go on runs with you? Are you looking for a quieter pet? Are you equipped to train a new puppy/kitty or are you looking for a little more experienced pet? Stress with pets can occur when you end up with one that doesn’t fit your expectations and hopes.

      My husband and I were looking for a quiet, calm pet that could handle time at home while we were both at work.  For that reason, we decided to adopt a senior dog who had some minor health problems (she’s partially deaf and arthritic). We got to give a home to an age group who has trouble getting adopted and fulfill our pet goals. We also understood that new command-based training wasn’t really an option for us. Having realistic expectations based on what we were looking for in a pet helps us not to get caught up in the things she can’t do.

    3. KNOW YOUR PET. Spend time getting to know your pet and let that inform your decisions. You’ll start to understand when your pet isn’t feeling well or is anxious and you can take the appropriate actions to remedy the situation. This will keep you from being in an awkward situation where you miss out on an illness or a sign of oncoming aggression. You know what your pet can handle and what makes them a little out of control, which is very important when other animals or people are around.

      Just like you know what things can trigger a negative reaction from you, you can also get a pretty good idea of what will trigger a negative experience with your pet. Avoid those situations if you can. If something negative does happen, forgive yourself and your pet. You can’t always be in control and that’s ok. While you can apologize in the moment and treat any issues with the proper training, etc., don’t fixate on one little circumstance forever. Loving and forgiving your pet and yourself is an important life lesson.

    4. FIND A GOOD VET, GROOMER, ETC. Pet care providers are all different. Check out reviews before you choose a new provider and when you’re testing them out, look for a good fit. A vet that you feel comfortable interacting with and asking questions makes a huge difference. It’s pretty easy to bond with pet providers because they care about your pet and so do you. This is one social benefit of a pet, because it’s always easier to talk to other pet people. You have a built in shared interest! This is just as important at a vet or groomer visit as it is at the dog park or in a pet store.

      It can be stressful to try to figure out what a good fit feels like especially if you are a first time pet owner, but in time you’ll figure it out. For your first vet or groomer visit have some questions ready. The way a provider answers your questions will tell you a lot about how they work and whether they work with your personality. In the future this relationship will help you if you run into question or issues.

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Pet Ownership

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