Two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I left for work in the morning like any other day. When we came home, we had an additional family member – a small dog named Bella.
Neither my boyfriend nor I had ever owned a dog before, but we had talked about it a lot and thought we were ready to take the plunge. We’ve been together for two and a half years, and living together for over a year. We both love animals and were very excited to start creating our own little family.
Because my boyfriend is highly allergic to cats and slightly allergic to dogs, we knew that we needed to find a hypoallergenic dog. We also wanted to adopt a dog from a shelter, not buy one from a store. When we saw Bella listed on the shelter’s website and realized that she would be (at least somewhat) hypoallergenic, we jumped on the opportunity.
We raced to the shelter after work, and two hours later we had a new little friend. Although we had thought about it for a long time, we weren’t really prepared – we didn’t have dog food, a bed, a crate, or any supplies. We spent the next few days getting ourselves and Bella situated and during that transitional time, we fell completely in love with her.
What we didn’t quite realize before we adopted Bella is that having a young dog is similar to having a baby. Because she’s only 1 and had inattentive owners before us, Bella wasn’t potty trained or trained at all really. My boyfriend and I had to quickly learn to become more patient with her, and, in turn, more patient with one another.
We both had to recognize that we were going to treat her slightly differently and wanted to train her in different ways. My boyfriend and I had to discuss our thoughts on training with one another, our ideas about reinforcement, and how our lives and schedules would have to change for her.
Since becoming pet parents, my boyfriend and I have both become more tolerant. Before adopting Bella, we were only concerned with ourselves and one another. Now, in addition to caring for ourselves, we both work together to take care of Bella.
We take turns walking her before work, giving her medicine, and cleaning up after her. Most evenings, we go out together on walks with her, which is something we hadn’t done very often before – so in addition to making us more active, Bella got us to spend time together going on romantic walks by the water.
While it hasn’t all been easy, it’s been really great to take this step together, and I know we both feel more committed to Bella and to one another than ever.