The Art Of Perfection In Imperfect Pet Parenting

You don't have to be perfect. You just have to be willing to try.

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

There are so many dogs in shelters, pounds, and rescues near you. Are you wondering if you could really take care of a dog? Do you know as much as you should about training dogs? Do you know what kind of food to buy? Can you housebreak a puppy?

Me neither.

I’ve parented dogs, though — lots of dogs. And I have failed to be the best dog parent in the world. It’s true. I’ve tried to train my dogs. I’ve almost housetrained a puppy! It seems for me that dog parenting is always “not quite” and never perfect.

I’m Not Perfect, And That’s Okay

Cropped Hand Feeding Ice Cream To Dog On Field

(Picture Credit: René Neuhäuser / EyeEm/Getty Images)

The idea of having a perfectly trained dog seems as fantastical as riding my unicorn to a dinner-date with Ryan Gosling. It’s elusive. It’s a dream. It’s ridiculous.

I look at it this way: I’m not an amazing parent. I’m not a stellar employee, or daughter, or wife. I don’t keep up with my friends as well as I should.

But for some reason, people still like me. I have friends. My husband is still here after 18 years, my kids say they love me, and I’m not estranged from my mom and dad.

This is Buster. Buster loves me.

(Picture Credit: Meleva Steiert)

Buster, seen above snacking on Cheez-Its, likes me too. He’s my dog.

I don’t walk him as often as I should. I give him treats from the table. He only knows three tricks. He’s sitting next to the desk right now waiting for me to play with him but I’m frittering on the computer.

I am an imperfect dog parent.

The Point Is We Try To Be Better

Affectionate female pet owner hugging black dog in park

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The truth is that I’m not perfect at anything. But just because you do something imperfectly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

Effort is worth something. Trying isn’t as good as succeeding, but when it comes to relationships, effort counts. It’s about progress, not perfection.

Love is a work in progress.

So I make all kinds of resolutions about not feeding my dog from the table, about hiking more — believe me, I could use the exercise — about remembering to order the stupid flea drops online because it’s too expensive in the store.

I’m irritated when Buster wakes me up at four in the morning because he has to pee. But even so, every day he looks at me like I’m his frickin’ hero. He’s ready to cuddle when I sit down in front of the TV. There’s no end to his forgiveness of my many faults and shortcomings.

Actually, he’s more sympathetic about failure than my own mother. There’s nothing more perfect than being an imperfect pet parent, and if you are lucky enough to get the chance at being an imperfect pet parent, take the chance! You’ll never regret it.

Are you an imperfect pet parent? Does your dog still love you with all your faults? Tell us about it in the comments below!