Having both grown up with dogs in our lives, my boyfriend Aaron (now my husband) and I always knew that owning a dog was in our future. Canine companionship was something we wanted to experience together, and it felt like a natural next step in our relationship. Suddenly, after a few short months of dating, a scruffy ball of terrier energy named Leroy came bounding into our lives from a local rescue and he has been a sidekick to our adventures ever since.
Almost immediately, our relationship evolved to support our new titles as pup parents. Let me just say that even deciding on a name together was no small task, and the decisions that followed came quickly and in abundance. Being responsible for another life form outside of ourselves now became paramount and tested how we tackled things as a unit. No longer were we griping about which sushi restaurant to order-in from. We were learning to communicate better through choosing the best veterinarian or pet insurance plan, and deciding who picks up the poop, or how we want to handle discipline. One of the beauties of dog ownership has been learning to practice patience and compromise with each other. We also learned that it wasn't solely about making these particular decisions that mattered, it was about defining our long-term goals as a couple and now as a family. Learning to articulate our expectations solidified a strong foundation for us to build on.
Leroy quickly became a permanent fixture in our lives, so much so that even dog-friendly offices and apartments are now major decision factors in our careers and home life. These days, we plan every outing with Leroy in mind, always seeking out dog-friendliness -- from accommodations, to beaches and hikes, to restaurants and cafes. Leroy is the type of dog who always wants to be a part of the action, and he has kept us seeking adventure both near and far. Fortunately, we have always been an active couple, and we hope becoming owners to an energetic pup will keep us young. These kinds of experiences continually spark new stories and create new memories that bring us closer.
With all the highs and lows of dog ownership, there's nothing like learning to laugh about cleaning up accidents, and maybe even replacing a rug you've always secretly hated anyway. Our trials and tribulations in co-pet parenting have taught us to not always take things too seriously. One of the most valuable lessons we've learned in our practices is remembering to praise each other for victories of all types and sizes. Observing how a little bit of praise can go a long way with Leroy has helped us to reflect a similar approach in our relationship.
Since deciding to document our lives with Leroy through photos and stories on social media, Aaron and I have been welcomed into a supportive, active community of animal lovers both online and off. Through that community we have been able to create lasting connections with people all over the world. Adopting Leroy has taught us so much about who we are, as well as who we want to be: people who will never stop trying, and never stop loving. He has kept us grounded and given us a strong foothold into planning our future and we are so grateful to have him along for the ride.
Pets add fun, love, companionship and unconditional love to your life. Whether a dog, cat, guinea pig or bearded dragon, there's a perfect pet for everyone. Take #thepetstep and search for your new companion here. Because Pets Add Life.