A Furry Dilemma

If you know anything about me, it’s that I love animals. All animals. Much more than people. I’m drawn to them like a bee to a blooming flower’s sweet nectar. I’ve always pictured myself as the mom not necessarily to human children, but children with wagging tails and four paws. And when I say children, I mean many. I want to have as many dogs as reasonably possible.

But I have another aspect of myself that you should really know about. I love to travel. I could easily live from a suitcase and hop on a plane to wherever it will take me. I want to take in as much of the world as possible, experience new places and cultures and beauty. Heck, the second I’m a college graduate, I want to take a year just to venture off to somewhere new and make some sort of contribution to others, however big or small its impact may be. And at some point, I would love to take a tour with the Peace Corps, too.

If you couldn’t tell already, these two passions of mine aren’t the most compatible. A dream dog family isn’t a practical bunch to stow as a carry on to a foreign destination. Many countries probably wouldn’t even allow pets or see their purpose. With the responsibilities that come with being a pet owner, you don’t to feel careless and leave your animals for many extended periods of time when their lives are already too brief. But just having their presence in your life, so comforting and safe and fulfilling, is something that makes the vet appointments and groomer fees and occasional frustrations worth it.

So, I’m at a dilemma. I’m stuck between my conflicting interests. I’m a free spirit who feels incomplete without furry companionship, simultaneously craving independence but depending upon the love of an innocent soul that is only found in a dog.

I realize what I want from my life is a challenge. I have ambitions to both travel and build a dog-filled home. Just like me wanting to do something I really love doing and am passionate about whilst doing so from home as a freelancer or whatever title that may be. I have these goals envisioned for myself, but the logically means for achieving them are not as easy, the decisions required to fulfill them still hard to pinpoint.

My biggest consideration getting a dog is the therapy factor. Emotional support animals are most likely my most important means of alleviating anxiety compared to other methods. A little moment like petting a dog or having a puppy sit on my lap does miracles for my emotional health.

There has to be options out there for people like me. I know I’m not the only one. It’s just about working out the necessary details to make everything work out. In situations like this, I take the optimistic route for my own sanity. Life is complicated enough. There always seems to be details and kinks to work out to make your goals a reality, so I see pet ownership as just another detail that will inevitably pop up throughout my life. Chances are, if I want to travel, I will also be owning a dog. I don’t want to keep myself away from either goal just to avoid a fear that they are impossible to correspond.

So I’ve of course done a lot of thinking. Knowing that house and pet sitters are out there. That I could ask my family for help if I need it. That depending on the destination, a small enough companion could probably tag along on an adventure. I already worry enough about future situations and how to respond to them, and yet this is something that I’ve already accepted.

Call me crazy all you want, too high in the clouds of possibilities and aspirations to see a lack of practicality. How can I both want to open my heart to a dog family and a world in need I so desperately want to reach out to and explore? I don’t know either. No matter how old my soul feels, I’m still young, a life ahead of me that I want to sink my teeth into, every little bite I can. As a 20-year-old, I’m not supposed to have it all planned out yet, but I have to at least do all I can to prepare for what might be next.

A globetrotting stay-at-home dog mom? Who can somehow write on a regular basis and do so sensibly? Yeah. I’m a work in progress. Always am, and hopefully always will be. But at least I can be a work in progress with a puppy in my arms.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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