When I was in high school, my guidance counselor asked every student to think about what they would spend their time doing if they had one million dollars. The idea seems silly looking back, but the basic concept was to think about what you would want to do if money wasn’t an issue. I asked my dad what he thought, and he told me, “If I could do anything in the world for one million dollars, it would be mowing lawns.” Funny enough, the lawn needed to be mowed, and I think that was his way of telling me to get it done. After thinking about the question all night, the only thing I could come up with was “dogs.” I wasn’t sure what I would do with dogs, but I knew if money weren’t an issue, I would want to spend all of my time with man’s best friend.
I grew up with three fantastic dogs. One golden retriever, a chocolate lab, and a pug. My parents were never crazy about the idea of owning pets, but my brother, sister, and I insisted we each get a dog to add to our family. It took years, but eventually, my parents caved in. It was a great decision, and now I sometimes wonder if my mom loves the dogs more than me. My parents taught us to care for the dogs, and we spent every summer training them to learn new tricks.
I was sad when I left for college and had to leave two of my best buddies behind. My lab, Cocoa, died a few years earlier, but the other two were still full of life. The highlight of my visits home was getting to take the dogs for long walks around the forest behind my parents’ house. There are a few trails back there, and sometimes I would let the dogs off the leash because they were well behaved and full of energy. It warmed my heart to watch them run around, sniffing all the smells and eagerly following each other like siblings.
Now that I live on my own, I keep toying with the idea of getting my own dog. I’ve seen research that suggests having an animal in your life is better for your mental health, but I’m not sure I’m ready for a long-term commitment like owning a pet. I did get pretty far into the logistics of owning a dog, and I even found a company that could walk my dog while I was away. Getting a dog is a tempting idea, but I don’t think my roommates would be too excited.
For now, I’ll have to assuage my yearning for a dog by visiting my parents and seeing Roxy and Bugs. I wish I liked cats more, but they just aren’t the same as a dog. They do the strangest things and freak out for no reason. I would miss going on long walks, and dealing with a litter box does not sound like my cup of tea. Instead, I’ll stick with cat videos and petting all the dogs I see on leashes around town.