After debating whether being a full-time college student, part-time worker, and a full-time social butterfly would leave enough room to be a proper "full-time dog mom," I took a leap of faith into what I felt like was actual motherhood, and ended up adopting (I recommend adopting from your local shelter) an animal who has seemed to rescue ME more than I have rescued it.
Although I've always lived in a household that constantly sheltered some type of animal, I knew that owning my own fur baby as a "grown up" would be a completely different experience. I always pictured having the "perfect family," with the "perfect dog," that had the "perfect name" like Charlie, Max, or Milo from those "family" movies—but instead, fell in love with a shelter dog named "Katrina" (which fits her because she's like a cute, literal walking hurricane) while volunteering on Fridays at the local shelter. For 2 or 3 weeks, I waited for Katrina to get adopted, but each Friday that I went back, she was still there; I eventually became convinced that she was my soul animal and that she was waiting for me to adopt her. After one last time of saying "If she's not gone today when I get there, I'm taking her," I arrived to see Katrina still waiting for her forever home—and made the ultimate decision that she HAD to go home with me.
Even though I have never been a dog person, and I never got attached to any of the other shelter dogs, puppies, or kittens (that were ALL just as adorable), Katrina stole my heart—and went home with me the day after I put in my adoption application. THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is when I learned that there are oodles of perks that come with loving a precious fur baby; and one perk that specifically impacted me as a dog mom, is the fact that I MUST get up in the mornings.
There's no pretending that there isn't a functioning (well, semi-functioning) world outside my house—and basically, on those ultra-bad days, I can't just lay in bed, fall apart, sleep all day, or not take care of myself. Right now, when I least want to, I continue to work hard, so at LEAST my dog can have the best life it deserves. There's an actual creature depending on me to: take care of it, let it out, feed it, water it, let it out, walk it, let it out, and did I mention let it out? I've even found myself a lot more active, in and outside of the house; I do a lot of small things I didn't do before, just so my dog isn't bored—resulting in the loss of my own boredom, slight depression, and a side of 10 pounds in weight loss.
Along with adopting a fur baby, I have easily found out that I also adopted a best friend. As crazy as it sounds, dogs make it completely clear that you're their A1—and that you matter more than anything else in the world. I couldn't imagine my life without my best companion, a colossal of dog toys, dog hair, and the best silent company. I find myself enjoying more of the little things in life, more patient, and in constant laughter at the goofy things that my little shelter dog does.
Of course, there are some days where being a dog mom is hard—and she's like having a three-year-old that never sits down, but there are definitely more days of good than there are bad. I highly suggest that if anyone can afford to put the proper time, money, and effort into raising a dog, that you do it.