Becoming a Pet Owner, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Hank Dog

I’ve never considered myself to be a dog person. We didn’t have pets growing up. In fact, (I think enough time has passed where I can admit this without fear of ridicule) I was afraid of dogs when I was little. There were a few exceptions. Our next door neighbor had a dog in their backyard that I called Benji. (That may have been his real name, but I don’t really know.) My friend Joey had two dogs that I liked alright. Other than that, I didn’t really like dogs.

Megan, on the other hand, grew up with dogs. (That is to say her parents have always had a dog, not that she was raised by dogs). Naturally, once we were married, she wanted us to have a dog. Over time I warmed to the idea. I decided that it might be fun, but I wasn’t going to turn into one of those dog people.

In April, we brought Hank home. He was a 10-week old basset hound. Over the past six months I’ve learned a lot of the ins and outs of being a pet owner. I have adjusted my life to the annoyances of having everything chewed and slobbered. I’ve enjoyed his antics around the house. It’s a lot of fun to watch him play with other dogs. He like everybody and wants everybody to like him. He’s a natural politician.

All that is well and fine, but something else happened that I didn’t expect. To explain, I need to tell a story. When we got Hank, our vet pointed out that he has an overbite, and that we should monitor that because it could cause him problems later. Well, later arrived this month and there was a problem. His lower canine teeth were starting to poke into the roof of his mouth. After consulting with a veterinary dentist (Did you know they had veterinary dentists?!?) we decided to have those teeth pulled.

Yesterday morning I took him to the vet, and then left him there to have the procedure done. As I was leaving, I had a very funny feeling in my stomach. It was a pretty standard dental procedure, but I was feeling very anxious about Hank. I spent the day working at home, and all day I felt weird. I actually missed the little guy. The plan was for me to come get him that evening, but when I called them they told me he would have to stay overnight. That night, I was sad he was gone. I missed him. Even though I should have been happy I had a night without having my shoes chewed, without having plants from the back yard brought into my bedroom, without having gross dog slobber on everything. Last night was a very nice, relaxing evening, and I spent it feeling anxious about a dog!

I got up this morning and went straight to the vets to pick him up. It felt so good to see him, and to bring him home. He’s still got a lot of the anesthesia in him, so he’s been sleeping all day. But I keep going to the bedroom to check on him, and it makes me feel better knowing he’s home and ok.

So, what does this say about me? Have I become a dog person? I don’t know about all this, but I do know that I like the idea of having him around a lot better than not.

me and the hank dog
Ted C. Howard @ted