Dog Ownership: One Thing I Didn’t Know

One month after the incident while on I was on my family reunion trip, Ramona's nose is still raw. April 2013.

In the middle of my last night at a family reunion, which had taken me away from home for a whopping four days, I got a frantic text from my dog sitter: Ramona had found a way into the pantry, gorged on a volume of dog treats I had no idea even existed in my house, and thereafter vomited throughout the evening and into the night all over my bed, the carpets, the couches, and the guest bed.

While I’ve traveled in the past, she’s consumed dark chocolate (necessitating an emergency-room visit), sleeves of crackers, an entire loaf of bread, and miscellaneous items she could pull from the dog sitter’s purse or my closet.

She doesn’t do these things while I’m in town.

When you consider bringing a canine into your life, dog lovers will warn you about the commitment required: twice-daily walks, veterinary expenses, training, discipline, regular bathroom breaks, playtime and attention, and so on. If you can’t assume these activities and expenses, you should enjoy other people’s dogs—and pass on getting your own.

Dog lovers don’t tell you about the shared stress of time apart.

Ramona does not like me to leave for long on an average day—so she considers my leaving her for multiple days truly unacceptable. My travel demands her ostentatious revolt, even though I ensure she has someone to stay in the house with her while I’m away. (No kenneling or lonely overnights with only a morning and evening dog walker for her!)

On my end, I miss her terribly. Although I shouldn’t allow it, she sleeps in my bed, and I find it difficult to sleep well without her now. I don’t like entering houses or hotel rooms without Ramona there to greet me.

I’d rather stay home with my pup.

Once upon a time, I’d take a weekend away here or there. I’d jaunt off for a week’s vacation. Now: Not so much. And, really, oddly enough, I don’t even mind.

What were your pet-ownership surprises?