When my then-husband and I met our precious Gerty, she was a feisty, bouncy, two-month-old, mostly white furball. I can honestly say it was love at first sight! Two years later, our beautiful son arrived.
And while he instantly became the love of my life, Gerty, our sweet little Shih-Tzu, still holds a very special place in my heart. I really do love my dog.
Dogs can do that to you. With their unique personalities, loyalty, and silliness, you can sometimes feel you love your dog more than your kids, especially on those days when your kids are being extra annoying.
In fact, a study of 2000 pet owners found that 34% of dog owners actually said they prefer their pets to their kids. Go figure!
Yes, I love my son, but, sometimes, I love my dog more. Here’s why:
1. She’s the coolest co-worker
As a writer, I spend a lot of time working at home, with the occasional trek to a coffee shop, bookstore, or library for a change in scenery.
When home, I can always count on my quiet little girl to be curled up close by. She hates being alone, usually following me from room to room, including the bathroom! My son’s the same, but at least I don’t have to wipe her bum.
And his demands for snacks are a lot louder than my dog’s.
2. She reminds me to get some fresh air
When working from home, it’s so easy to lose track of time I often forget to take breaks. Having Gerty is a great excuse for me, and my son, to go outside and get some fresh air at least a couple of times a day.
Thankfully, she’s great at not letting me forget. Like clockwork, she’ll stand by the door where her leash is. If I ignore her, she’ll stand next to me and growl quietly until I notice her. If it weren’t for her, I’d probably neglect to go outside all day!
3. She doesn’t say the word, “mum” 150 times a day
As an only child, my son often asks me to play with him or watch the latest video or show with him. I love spending time with him, but it makes it quite difficult to get anything done sometimes. I swear I hear “mum” at least 200 times a day.
Gerty, on the other hand, is pretty low maintenance. She loves her walks, needs to be fed, and likes the occasional tug-of-war game – she’s not a fetcher.
But for the most part, she’s happy to be left alone to sleep, look out the window, or lie in the sun. She never asks me questions I can’t answer either.
4. I can ugly cry without judgment
I strongly believe it is okay to show our children that all feelings and emotions are acceptable to have; however, I certainly don’t want to scare him by overdoing it.
With my divorce and my mother’s passing both happening within less than a year, it’s been a rather emotional time, to say the least.
On the days when things get to be just a little too much and my son is at his dad’s, I know I can let my emotions flow without worry. My pup’s gentle, loving nature and cuddles are great medicine for heartaches.
5. I don’t have to fight devices for attention
Yes, kids of all ages love their devices and often it would appear they’d rather play Roblox than hang out with you. With older kids, you also have friends and activities to compete with. Not so when it comes to my little Gerty! She’s always up for a walk, play, or cuddle.
Yes, occasionally, she’ll give me the “Leave me alone,” or “Not now mum,” look. But for the most part, she’s up for attention.
6. She’s cool with the basics
My son is pretty understanding when I say I can’t buy him something when we’re out shopping. That doesn’t keep him from having a wish list of plushies and toys as long as my arm!
Gerty, on the other hand, doesn’t ask for anything other than her morning Greenie – she’s like an addict with those things! What do they put in them? Oh, and her walks, and treats, and food and water. So yeah, the basics. No Squishmallows in sight.
7. She doesn’t complain about my music…Or my off-key singing
Guess what? Gerty doesn’t complain about my taste in music or ask me to stop singing. EVER! And she doesn’t insist on playing the Wiggles on repeat. Enough said.
8. She doesn’t wake up cranky
My son is NOT a morning person. Well, only on school days. Funny how that works, isn’t it? My pup, on the other hand, is always energetic with a happy, wagging tail, no matter the day or how early it may be.
9. She loves to give me cuddles and kisses, no matter who sees
While my eight-year-old still loves cuddles, hugs, and kisses, he’s at the stage where he’s asking me not to call him “baby” in public and is very aware of lipstick marks. I’m bracing myself for the teenage years!
Gerty welcomes all types of affection and cute names, no matter who’s around. To her, I’m a cool mum. Always.
10. I don’t have to cook If I don’t want to
When it’s just Gerty and me at home, I can eat cereal or make a simple avocado toast and not have to cook. No elaborate meals if I don’t feel like it. Hooray for simplicity!
11. She doesn’t talk back, ask “why” or roll her eyes
Gerty doesn’t talk back when I say no to something…well, for the most part. There is the occasional back and forth about whether she should get yet another treat.
But her little growls and whines are so cute, it’s hard to get mad at her.
12. She’ll always need me
Our goal as parents is to teach our children independence and prepare them for the real world. And while it’s awesome when our little ones begin to dress and bathe themselves, cook, do their laundry, or even drive, part of us misses being needed.
Thankfully, Gerty will always need me to take care of her. No matter how old she is, she’ll continue to need me to feed her, bathe her, walk her, and cuddle with her.
13. She’ll always be happy to see me
I know my son loves me, but sometimes he needs his alone time or is not in the mood to talk or interact with me. And that’s okay. We all need our space sometimes.
But I can always count on Gerty to be happy to see me and greet me with joy and kisses, whether I’ve been gone ten minutes or a whole day.
14. I don’t have to worry about curfew or who her friends are
As our kids get older, we start to worry about who they’re hanging out with and enforcing new rules to keep them safe.
Not so with my dog. I always know where she is and with whom. Well, except for the time she ran away and was hanging out with another family for a week before they returned her to us.
Oh, and the time she crawled under the gate, and we found her playing down the street in the neighbour’s front yard.
Other than that, I always know where she is.
15. No university fund needed
With Gerty, there’s no stress about saving or planning for uni. There’s no stress about ATAR scores and there’s no trying to scrounge extra money because your child REALLY wants to do dance this year (and seriously, how expensive is dance??). There are no doggy competitive dance teams.
And if there is, I don’t wanna know about them.