I have a confession to make.
I rescued my Pomeranian just over four months ago and my entire life revolves around her. I am, by definition, a crazy dog mom.
When I put in an application for Sammy, everyone questioned it. “You’re 23 and live in New York City, why would you want that responsibility?” and “You’ll never be able to travel,” or my personal favorite, “It’s just not fair to the dog.”
Well, I will admit having Sammy has absolutely changed my life – for the better. Before I even signed the adoption papers and met Sammy for the first time, I was already a little crazy. I obsessed over every detail – making the house dog-friendly, buying all the treats and food that her foster mom said she liked, calling the nearest vet and making her first appointment.
After the interviews, the home check, and the reference reviews, I got word that Sammy was going to be mine, and I immediately started crying. The night before I was to meet her, I also started crying while penning an open letter to her. And while I waited on the sidewalk in lower Manhattan with the crate carrying my new dog, waiting for my Uber, I couldn’t stop the tears. A businesswoman heading out to lunch stopped to ask me if I was okay, and I told her through the tears that I just adopted my new best friend. She said some kind words in response, but that was probably the first instance that I realized what it was like to be a crazy dog mom.
Weeks went by and Sammy and I clung to each other as if our lives depended on it. We became attached. People asked me how long I’d had her, and they were shocked to hear it was only a few months. When she was scared, she hid behind my legs or jumped into my arms. I didn’t go anywhere without her. I cancelled plans to stay in and snuggle on the couch. I was completely and totally obsessed with this little ball of love.
When people see the photo shoots I have with Sammy on the holidays or the stories I tell them about her, they look at me as if I’ve totally lost my mind. They laugh and say I talk about her as if she’s my kid. I would never compare anything to the emotional and incredible experience of childbirth, and I can only hope that someday I will be able to experience that miracle myself. But for now living on my own and being responsible for another being, Sammy is in some ways like my child. Now I can’t declare her on my tax forms or take her to “Take Your Daughter to Work Day,” but it is my job to keep her healthy and happy every day and I take pride in that responsibility.
Having Sammy in my life hasn’t really changed my every day activities all too much, besides making me 100% happier. She has helped me with my anxiety and gives me the love I need to make it through the tough days. Everything I do, I take the extra step to find a way to allow my pup to come with me. In the warmer months we go to cafes and happy hours that have outdoor seating so that Sammy can come with me and curl up at my feet. On the weekends, Sammy jumps in her carrier and hops on the subway with me to have picnics in the park with friends. We take trains upstate to go hiking or out to Long Island to walk on the beaches. In August we’re taking our first flight together. We plan trips around dog-friendly hotels and airBnBs. I pretty much do everything I did before, just with a four-legged pal by my side.
I don’t believe every dog owner has to go as far as I do. In fact, I wholeheartedly admit that I go slightly too-far sometimes when it comes to my dog. I mean, we didn’t need to have a St. Patrick’s Day photo shoot for Sammy’s Instagram. We didn’t need to go to a dog-themed Easter egg hunt at a friend’s house, complete with homemade dog treats. And yes, I do always refer to my dog and I as a “we” because that’s what we are. Two buds. Partners in crime. And those crazy experiences sure as hell make life a lot more fun for us.
I will admit, sometimes being a crazy dog mom has its downsides. One night when I was giving Sammy her favorite belly rub, I found a bump on her stomach. She’s only two years old, so needless to say, I panicked. I immediately made an appointment with her vet for the next day. After sitting in the waiting room for what feels like forever, we eventually went in to chat with the vet. He put his fingers on the bump and asked, “This is what you’re talking about?” I nodded my head in fear, bracing myself for the worst.
“Yes, that’s a belly-button.”
I nearly choked from laughing. My debilitating worry for over 24 hours was because of a belly button (or in fancier vet terms, an umbilical hernia). The vet didn’t even charge me for the appointment, and I’m pretty sure he told the story of the crazy dog mom and the doggy belly button at his dinner table that night.
In general, I’m not offended when people call me crazy. I love my dog, and I would do anything to keep her safe and happy. In my mind that’s not crazy, that’s just being a good owner.
And I’m sure if you asked Sammy, she’d say she’s totally okay with it.