The Art Of Perfection In Imperfect Pet Parenting

Look at this doggy.

You don't have to be perfect. You just have to be willing to try. (Picture Credit: Getty Images)

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 anything about training dogs? Do you know what kind of food to buy? Can you housebreak a puppy?

Me neither.

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

The idea of having a perfectly trained dog is 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 yet estranged from my mom and dad.

This is Buster. Buster loves me.

This is Buster. Buster loves me.

Buster 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 owner.

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 is too expensive in the store. I am irritated when he wakes me up at 4:00 in the morning because he has to pee, but even so, every day he looks at me like I am his frickin’ hero. He’s ready to cuddle when I sit down in front of the TV. There is no end to his forgiveness of my many faults and shortcomings.

Actually, he’s more sympathetic about failure than my mother. There is 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.