Early this morning, I took Theo to the dog park. The dog park always has a few weirdos. Strangers will talk to you about the consistency of their dog’s bowel movements, weird habits they should never share, or just spout random unsolicited advice, all before you’ve even had your morning coffee. An older woman struck up a conversation with me and asked what I do with Theo while I work. I told her he stays in my apartment. She literally made a horrified face. As if I said I beat him. I immediately felt ashamed and embarrassed. I felt the need to explain myself further to this complete stranger. I said, “Well we do walks every day, come to the dog park 3 times a week, and have weekly playdates with other dogs. I don’t crate him and he uses pee pads so he doesn’t have to hold it all day.” She still acted as if I was the most negligent dog owner. I was at a dog park at 8:30 AM on a Friday! If that doesn’t show true dedication, I don’t know what does.
How rude! I can’t push that face she made out of my mind. As if I don’t feel guilty enough about working and owning a dog. Obviously if I had the choice, I would be with Theo all the time! Are single professionals not allowed to be pet owners now? Plus, this woman didn’t even know anything about me and was so judgmental. I had wanted a dog for years and originally got Theo with my ex-boyfriend because his office was dog friendly. I had never intended for Theo to spend 40 hours a week alone. Circumstances change! Since that relationship ended, I’ve done the best I can to give Theo the greatest life possible. Dogs are expensive and I obviously need to financially support myself, and my dog, or we wouldn’t even have a place to live. I hate when people make you feel guilty for being a working dog owner. A lot of people do it!
The dog community forums online often cover this debate. People are heated on both sides. Some people believe if you are gone for more than 3-4 hours a day, you shouldn’t own a pet. I believe if your dog is well exercised, fed, entertained, played with, and loved daily, then there shouldn’t be an issue with working and having a pet. I also believe that some people should mind their own business. : )
It is all about balancing. Like this man with the sweet mullet.