Gen Y Dogma: Pet Parenting For A New Generation

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Taking the leap by moving in with your partner is a huge step. But the time has come when you’re ready for the pitter-patter of little paws – it’s time to add a dog to your happy co-habitation situation. Writer Christina Peden just happens to be going through this happy – and life-altering – stage of life, and will be chronicling her and her boyfriend’s challenges weekly with their growing furry family as they adapt to their roles as pet parents.

You and your significant other are thinking about adopting a dog. Well, that’s just what my boyfriend, Ryan and I did a few months ago. We’re now proud puppy parents to Matilda, a sweet, rambunctious five-month-old Border Collie-Lab mix. We love her; she’s the best. Now, we can’t possibly imagine life without her. But adopting a dog is a huge lifestyle change (I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that) and it can definitely affect your relationship in ways you might not expect.

First off, I don’t claim to be an expert. I’m no Cesar Millan, but I can share with you what’s it’s like to be a first-time dog parent with your partner and some of the things you’ll encounter when you adopt a dog together (trust me, it’s much different than having a cat; we’ve both had cats).  And that’s exactly what I’ll be writing about in my recurring column here on PetGuide.com.

Here’s just a small teaser of topics I’ll be covering in the weeks to come:

  • How we found the right dog for us, after a lot of searching and some compromising on both our parts.
  • Parallels of puppy vs baby: are they much different for a couple?
  • How a puppy tests the bonds of a relationship – will the test of true love survive?
  • Who gets the dog if you break up? Having the big (and awkward talk).
  • Puppy play dates: does your life revolve around other couples with dogs?
  • Parenting styles: he’s laid back, I’m a hypochondriac… our dog is so going to need therapy.
  • Do we annoy other non-doggy couples with our exhaustive talk of puppy problems and cute stories?
  • What it’s really like in those first days and weeks of puppy parenthood (Spoiler Alert: be prepared for little sleep and sharp teeth)
  • How your lives will literally start to revolve around poop and pee. Seriously.
  • Learning patience — with yourself, the puppy and your partner. And trust me; you’ll need it
  • How you’ll (hopefully) feel more bonded to significant other once you get over the initial hump of the huge lifestyle change a dog brings
  • How to adapt your lifestyle (especially if you’re like us and live in a big city)  to make room for a dog

Now, this list is by no means exhaustive and like I said: mama ain’t no Dog Whisperer! I’m simply here to share my perspective on this whole pet parenthood thing as well as some tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way. Hopefully, if you’re thinking about adopting a dog with your significant other, this series will give you some insight into what it’s like when you dive in headfirst.

If there’s anything you’d like to see in a future column, let me know at [email protected]. Are you a seasoned dog owner with some sage advice about how to handle common puppy problems? Leave a comment below; I’m all ears (and teeth, and fur).

christinamatildaChristina Peden is a lifelong animal lover and avid wordsmith. She lives in Toronto with her boyfriend Ryan where they are proud pet parents to puppy, Matilda and cat, Oscar. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying Toronto, Canada’s all-too-short patio season, taking advantage of the city’s numerous parks or curled up with a good book.