Yes, a furry lens, not a fuzzy one! Owning a dog changes your perspective. Before we had a puppy, we weren’t aware which restaurants (and people) were dog friendly and which ones weren’t. With our very limited experience so far, it seems that pubs allow dogs in the bar area but not in more formal restaurant areas. We’ve already had a couple of lovely dinners out with the dog warming up our feet just like he does at home.
Some places are overtly dog friendly, with water bowls outside and cooing staff inside. On Sunny’s first outing to Seasons Cafe in Amersham, I’m sure he felt like a celebrity with all the attention he attracted.
Always convinced we were happy with two kids AND NO MORE, it was a bit of a shock to realise how similar having a puppy is to having a baby. The never-take-your-eyes-off-even-for-a-second phase is much shorter, but we’re still exploring how dog ownership is changing our activities. So far, since we spend a lot of time around the house and doing things outside, rather than spending our afternoons at The Ritz or in museums, it hasn’t had a major effect.
There was the moment at a National Trust property when I thought I’d lost the kids because they had run ahead while I was looking after the puppy. After a few moments of panic, I could spy them in the distance across the lawn. The rest of that visit I spent lurking around the edges of the garden, where dogs were not allowed. That feeling of the world turned upside down, with all the usual bearings moved, was reminiscent of having a newborn (human) and I hadn’t felt it for a few years.
Our travel plans will also change – rather than taking long trips far far away we will either need to take Sunny with us or take shorter trips without him. We don’t want any more poos on iPads!
Like parenthood, having a dog is something you can’t appreciate fully until you actually own one, and start to see life through a furry lens. It made me wonder if you can ever imagine any freedom or limitation in every nuance until happens, from getting around in a wheelchair to suddenly becoming a minority race in a new neighbourhood.
The social interaction with other dog owners was a surprise to me — which sounds naive in retrospect — but after getting over the shock of all the repeated questions and comments (What kind is he? How old is he? He’s so playful! He’s so cute!), I can appreciate the bond of the ‘dog crowd’, ask those same questions myself of the other dogs, and extract useful info like the names of good groomers and dog trainers. And thankfully the set of questions and information is different from the human baby ones about sleeping and what’s going into their mouths and out of their bottoms.
Speaking of the ‘dog crowd’, in terms of identity I went from ‘I am certainly not a dog person; I’ve never liked dogs!’ to, well, look at the name of this blog! The shift is not as extreme as becoming a parent, but there certainly is a transformation.