Like having a child, a dog gives you so many of those heartwarming “firsts.”
I remember my dog’s first bark, the first time we walked around the block, the first time he successfully completed a “roll over.” I remember his first swim, his first birthday and first Christmas and so many other “firsts” too.
Not all firsts are quite so endearing.
For instance, I remember the first time he learned that leashes can be pulled on — after all, who can forget being pulled through a snowbank and smacking into an icy, wire fence?
I also remember the first time he broke out of his cage and left a path of destruction in his wake.
Or, how about the first time he thought he’d try out a gel pen as a chew toy and left ink stains in the form of paw prints on every piece of new carpeting we’d just purchased?
After a certain point in your dog’s life, though, firsts become rare. It happens so slowly you don’t realize it’s happened, but it has.
Your dog becomes incredibly predictable. A tail wag before breakfast, licks when you get home, barks by the front door to signal that it’s time to go potty. And of course, that way he always curls up by your feet and lets out a big sigh once he’s comfortable and settled in.
Through this whole allergy ordeal, I caught myself saying “for the first time ever” far too often. It felt strange and weird coming out of my mouth. It’d been such a long time.
And reflecting on all that’s transpired, none of it was good.
For the first time ever, he refused to eat his food.
For the first time ever, it took me longer to prepare his breakfast than it did to prepare mine.
For the first time ever, he refused to open his mouth so I could shove more pills down his throat (OK, to be honest, I can’t believe that one took as long as it did to happen).
For the first time ever, my dog tried to eat dirt and swallow wood chips.
For the first time ever, he didn’t spit out wood chips in his mouth when we said “drop it!”
For the first time ever, I was awoken at 4 a.m. by my dog, who whined and whined until I finally opened my eyes.
I’m ready to go back to the way things used to be. I want my healthy, predictable old dog back.