Wednesday, July 7, 2010

MM 101, Lesson 3: Canis Fidelis

You may have gathered that there have been many quiet evenings spent at home for us over the past couple months; Dr. D at the kitchen table with his books, and me on the living room couch with my laptop. By no means have we been complete shut-ins--we've still managed to do a little traveling, had some meals out on the town, some drinks with friends--but we're nowhere near the social butterflies we were before this boards business started.

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.
It's quite possible for me to go on forever about this awkward, fluffy, mess-of-a-dog we share our home with, but I'll spare you for now. Just know that I would highly suggest canine companionship for any young couple that is faced with a lifestyle-changing situation like medical school, grad school, or the professional world. I've found that it's helped us stay grounded in our home life, and we've grown closer by learning to love someone/something besides each other--it's also an affordable alternative to parenthood. It's giving us some time to warm up to the idea... the future, Mom. The waaaaaaaaay future.


justin said...

This was probably the wrong post to read, since Ash and I have been considering getting a dog though have yet to consider it a "good idea." We keep coming around to the multiple excuses such as we have no yard (not even a patio), no time, or money! However, seeing that Ash and I are in the same predicament as you two (her with a full time job, and me in grad school) your blog lays down a fairly decent argument why exactly we should become pet owners. (Mind you we have fish, but you can't exactly cuddle with fish). So I just have two questions....what does the dog do while both of you are away? and how long can pooch hold it?

Mrs. Dr. D said...

Hey Justin! Sounds like in your situation, a young puppy might not be the way to go--they have to be let out to do their business between 5-7 times a day. I was able to handle it because we literally live next door to my office, so I could pop on over and take care of J-dog. Now that he's 2, he only goes 3 times a day: once before work, once after work, and once before bed. That sounds like a schedule that you guys could handle a bit better, so maybe adoption of an older pooch is in order?

When we're not home, J-dog mostly sleeps. Dogs sleep anywhere between 12-18 hours a day! We just make sure to walk him after work and give him a good amount of playtime/activity on weekends.

Adjusting to a dog in the home does take some time, though, and money (vet visits and food are the main expenses). If you have prolonged vacations from school--like over the summer--I'd say that would be the best time to adopt.

Good luck with your decision! Say hi to Ashley for us :)

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