I am, by nature, a lazy person.
If it were socially acceptable, I would absolutely, no questions asked choose to lay in bed binge-watching Pretty Little Liars and eating Domino’s buffalo chicken pizza all day long, every single day.
But unfortunately for me, I have to be a functional human being with a job in order to pay bills and maintain my current lifestyle, so it’s not often I get to veg out and live like a total degenerate.
Part of my daily routine (being the responsible adult that I am) consists of taking Howie on a run/long, brisk walk (pending my mood/energy level) every day when I get home from work. I do this partly because exercise is good for me, but mostly because if I don’t, Howie is an unmanageable ball of energy for the remainder of the evening.
But today the weather was cold and rainy, I was exhausted, and I really had my heart set on a lazy night at home under blankets watching Netflix. I decided as I was leaving work that I was not going to exercise today – instead, I was going to immediately change into a sweatshirt and sweatpants and do absolutely nothing until it was time to go to sleep.
My counterpart, however, did not agree.
Howie cried for an hour straight. I had taken him out to use the bathroom, but that clearly was not enough; he whined and barked at me from 6 until 7, when I finally caved, rolled out of bed, put on my running shoes, and slouched out the door, with Howie prancing happily, tail wagging, alongside me.
Ten minutes into our run, I was admittedly feeling a little bit grateful for my restless puppy. That is, until we walked back into the apartment and Howie, now covered head-to-toe in water and mud, glanced up at me, then shook his entire body from nose to tail-tip (think Beethoven, circa 1992).
My white floor, white doors, white trim, and white walls were now completely mud-spattered from ceiling to floor. Deep breaths, Mary Kate, deep breaths.
Needless to say, I spent the rest of my night cleaning pretty much every inch of my apartment. Howie slept on the foot of my bed fifteen feet away.
But quite honestly, as I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor, and even as I’m typing this now, I really can’t help but laugh at myself. I love having a dog.
I’ve never, ever been a dog person, but roughly a year ago, I had this overwhelming urge to get one. I put massive amounts of research into my decision – although some people (cough, my parents) might say my choice was ill-advised (read: irresponsible).
But I really didn’t think I was naive. I thought my expectations were entirely realistic.
If there’s anything I know, God teaches and grows us in unexpected ways. I knew owning a dog would be a challenge; I didn’t realize having a dog would forcibly change my day-to-day life.
But the changes have been only good. Going for a run everyday after work is good. No longer being able to leave clothes strewn all over (because Howie will surely eat them) is good. Cleaning my apartment twice a week (like really cleaning, like scrubbing-the-floor-on-my-hands-and-knees cleaning) is good.
I’ve had to do a lot of growing up since graduation 11 months ago, and Howie’s been a huge part of that. Not to mention I’ve also just loved having him around – and that’s also been really, really good.