As someone who identifies as a bit of a home-body and who has taken multiple personality assessments that label me an "introvert" (although I prefer to think of myself as a situational extrovert), I really haven't minded the social down time. I've managed to adjust to sharing my husband with textbooks and Dr. Edward Goljan, and I've avoided going completely stir-crazy thanks to a certain fuzzy creature in our home who provides endless amounts of entertainment.
This brings me to my next lesson in Medical Matrimony: Get a dog. Preferably a dog that thinks you're fan-freaking-tastic.
For those of you who may be thinking, Who has the time for a dog?, I'll have you know that while Dr. D is a busy med student and I have a full time job, we share equal responsibility for this little fur ball and we've had an absolute blast with him over the past 2 years. (Disclaimer: the puppy/potty training stage was a bit of a struggle so if you're a full time student and you don't have a partner living with you to help split puppy duty, I'd suggest adopting an older dog). Don't let the time commitment scare you off! Dr. D and I have learned that the benefits of loyal dog companionship (canis fidelis, if you will) far outweigh the disadvantages.
I'd like to share a few reasons why having J-dog around has been such a hoot in our household:
- Witnessing a dog's range of emotions helps you appreciate and experience those same feelings more deeply in your own life, especially when you find yourself jaded after a long and arduous day. For example, I don't think any of us truly understand just how FREAKING AWESOME it is when we come home from work/school every day. According to J-dog's perky ears, tongue-lolling smile, and frenzied propeller-like tail motion, coming home is an event worthy of pure joy, and thanks to him I now feel that joy every time I walk in the door. Also, if I could bottle up and give away the unquenchable hope that J-dog displays every time I open the peanut butter jar, I think antidepressants would be rendered useless.
- Dogs can learn to do things about 5 million times faster than babies. This is great not only because they can do a lot more than just lay there, eat, and poop for the first months of their lives, but because you can teach them to do silly and fantastically entertaining things without getting CPS called on you. If I were to teach my baby to fall over and play dead when I yelled "BANG!" at it, I'd be deemed an unfit mother. But when my dog does it, it elicits applause. Booyah.
- I typically plug in my headphones and mess around on my computer while I wait for my baking to finish, which could easily spell crispy, burnt disaster since I can't hear the oven timer. However, J-dog always lets me know when the oven beeps at the one-minute mark with an earnest nose to the arm followed by a "rally the troops" lap trotted around the couch where I'm sitting. I have no idea how he learned to do this, but batch after batch, he never fails me.
- J-dog is the best remedy to a stressed out/studied out/burned out day. Whether it's cuddles or wrasslin' you're after, this dog's got both in spades. Dr. D is now in the habit of taking what he calls "Poodle Breaks" during high-stress study sessions, which usually involves a little bit of chasing, some tug of war, a dash of capoeira style sparring, and typically ends with J-dog hitting Dr. D in the crotch. And yet, miraculously, the Poodle Breaks continue. I'm a bit more partial to the cuddling.
...in the future, Mom. The waaaaaaaaay future.