Owning a dog in your twenties can cause controversy. I know I received my fair share of doubt and worry from friends and family before I adopted my two dogs. It’s completely understandable, we all know owning a dog is a big deal. Depending on your dog’s breed and age when it arrives, you could be looking at over a decade long commitment. It’s definitely not something you should rush into on a whim, however this shouldn’t put you off. I thought I’d share my honest thoughts about owning a dog in your twenties, warts and all!
I adopted Woody in September 2017, when I was 23. Hen was fail fostered in June 2019, when I was 25. There are so many benefits to owning a dog in your twenties and for me they definitely outweigh the extra responsibilities. That being said, I have had to make compromises here and there to ensure I can provide the best possible life for Woody and Hen.
Owning a Dog in Your Twenties: What’s it Really Like?
I Always Have Company
By far the best benefit to owning dogs is the companionship and loyalty they provide. Nothing beats coming home to two wagging tails and endless gifts of smelly slippers, dirty socks and an array of carefully selected dog toys. Woody and Hen’s company brings me so much joy on a daily basis just by being their crazy spaniel selves. Our bond is particularly reassuring when my ME/CFS flares up, as well as when I’m working from home. Being self employed can be particularly lonely at times, which makes me even more grateful for spaniel cuddles!
Social Occasions Can Be Tricky
I’ve met a lot of incredible people through owning my dogs. Adopting Woody opened up a whole new social circle for us. The majority of my friends are also twenty-something dog owners and we meet up regularly for walks. Understandably, this is right up my street, as I love spending time outdoors. However other social occasions, such as parties, nights out or fancier occasions, can be tricky. Fortunately there are plenty of friends and family who are more than happy to look after Woody and Hen for me every now and then, as well as excellent local dog walkers and home boarders. Owning a dog in your twenties will mean a little more forward planning and consideration, particularly if you have a busy social life!
I’m More Active
I lived in Cornwall for at least 3 years before I adopted Woody. First for university and then for six months before I got him. I’ve always enjoyed exploring beaches and walks in the Duchy, however I was nowhere near as active as I am now! Nothing quite beats walking with a dog, it’s just not the same without them. In the past I was guilty of driving to beaches just to stand in the sand for a few minutes before driving back home again. However owning Woody and Hen has given me the motivation to get outside. We all know how crazy an unexercised spaniel can be!
Travelling Can be Difficult
There are so many dog friendly hotels, campsites and self-catered accommodation in the UK, we really are spoilt for choice. I’ve grown up with family staycations all my life and love exploring all corners of the UK. We’ve always holidayed with dogs, so it’s completely normal for me and Woody and Hen love joining me on our dog friendly travels. However, if you regularly travel abroad, owning a dog in your twenties may be a bit of a struggle. Travelling abroad with your dog is by no means impossible, however you’ll have to research and plan well in advance. Alternatively there will be extra costs and logistics involved in finding holiday dog care while you’re abroad, especially for longer trips or if your dog can’t stay with friends and family.
Extra Responsibilities and Expenses
The cost of owning a dog was one of my biggest worries before adopting Woody. At the time I was working in an office 4 days a week. I had a little bit of disposable income but wasn’t sure if it’d be enough to cover the extra expenses a dog is inevitably going to bring. After talking with pretty much every dog owner I knew at the time, I decided to go ahead and adopt him. Owning a dog in your twenties doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, however there are some costs such as annual veterinary fees, insurance and food that are essential. Understandably, the more dogs you own the more expensive it will be. However with plenty of research and forward thinking, I’ve managed to keep Hen’s additional costs to as minimum as they can be.
I Always Have An Excuse to Adventure
I used to struggle to find people to go exploring with. I’m talking larger adventures like climbing mountains, hiking the Cornish Coast Path and wild camping. I’m very bad at organising fun things in advance and the Cornish weather rarely helps either. However Woody and Hen are almost always up for an adventure and having them along for the ride helps me feel more confident when exploring outdoors. I rarely feel alone with my dogs by my side and I know I would never have dreamed of completing half the hikes we’ve accomplished without them!
How old were you when you got your first dog? What do you love most about owning a dog in your twenties?
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