The benefits to owning a dog in your twenties
I had only just turned 23 when I adopted my first dog Wilma.
I was given the opportunity to rescue her from a bad situation, so it all happened very quickly. Needless to say it was a steep learning curve and a heck of a responsibility I hadn't accounted for. Turns out, being responsible for keeping a dog alive teaches you a thing or two.
There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn't take on the responsibility so young, but there are benefits to owning a dog before you feel like a real grown-up...
1. It will get you out of bed on a hangover
You will fear the hangover like never before.
Long gone are the lie-ins and rotting in bed 'til noon. Headache or no headache, vom or no vom, one-night-stand or no one-night-stand, that dog expects breakfast at 6 and walks in the rain...
But any dog-owner would agree, it's all worthwhile when you're rewarded with the best hangover hugs in history.
2. You'll have far less money to waste
Food, insurance, vet bills, groomers, toys, leads, coats & paddling pools (yes, really). Dogs do drain the olde bank balance.
Your shoe shopping will be replaced with chew shopping, their grooming routine more frequent than your own. But who needs food in the fridge when you've got organic grain-free biscuits in the dog bowl?
3. You'll be a nicer person
It's a known fact that dog-owners are the best types of people.
With dog lead in hand, you will instantly become more approachable; strangers gravitate towards you to say good morning and smile at your dog.
Probably because we finally care more about someone other than ourselves; for all we want is to build a better life for our dog.
4. You'll gain a strong stomach
Nothing will seem squeamish again.
Ear gunk, snot and eye bogies become part of your life. Picking up poo is a breeze.
Vom on your shoes? No problem. Pulling hair out of bums? Nothing unusual here.
5. You'll have an excuse to leave a party
Dancing 'til the lights go on are a thing of the past.
You'll spend the evening reciting your best dog anecdotes, sharing photos of your dog in the bath, your dog on the beach, your dog on his birthday. You'll sneak home early, lured by the anticipation of a greeting from your dog. There's no one you'd rather share your cheesy chips with. Alcohol-fueled cuddles on the kitchen floor await...
6. You'll get more fresh air
And fresh rain.
And fresh wind.
7. Dating becomes more interesting
So you've made it as far a date (rare, when you've a better offer with your dog). Must be pretty serious.
Made it back to yours? Now the real judgement begins. Your date's behaviour in front of your dog is detrimental to their fate. GIVE THE DAMN DOG A STROKE.
8. You'll find the love of your life
You're poor, your clothes are enhanced with dog hair & you decline all after-work drinks, but it's a small price to pay for a furry best friend who's always ecstatic to see you.
Photography: Rachel Oates