First Time Dog Owners: What We Didn’t Expect

As I took Sadie on a walk this morning, I day dreamed about breakfast.

I was seriously craving eggs and made myself an egg white, cheese and Canadian bacon bagelwich right when we got home.

Egg White + Cheese + Canadian Bacon

I love the Toufayan everything-flavored thin bagels. All of the little seeds add so much flavor and give the bagel a deliciously nutty texture.

Check Out the Goods


This bagelwich totally hit the spot!



I was surprised that I had a good workout this morning.

By the time Ryan and I climbed into bed last night I was exhausted. Apparently a weekend of wedding-related decisions, activities and errands took a lot out of me!

As I groggily walked to the gym this morning, I wasn’t anticipating a fantastic workout, so I was pleasantly surprised when I felt a surge of energy during BodyPump.

It felt great to get into the gym after two days off and sweat it out!

I followed up the ‘Pump with a 40 minute walk with Sadie.

Strike a Pose

Yesterday as Ryan and I drove back to Orlando, we started talking about Sadie.

Though my parents had a great dane when I was born, and Ryan’s family owned a cocker spaniel when he was younger, we both basically feel like first-time dog owners.

I asked Ryan what has been the most unexpected thing he has experienced or noticed since Sadie came into our lives and he said he was shocked at how needy Sadie is and how he feels guilty if he doesn’t give her attention.

We both started laughing because we pictured ourselves owning a dog that would sit happily at our feet as we sat in the backyard. Little did we know we’d be blessed with a total nut job!

He then asked me the same question and I said I was shocked about two things.

First, I cannot believe how funny Sadie is. She makes us laugh constantly and I had no idea she’d bring so much joy into our lives.

"I'm a Hoot!"

Second, I had no idea I could love an animal so much. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true! Sadie really does feel like a member of our family and I love her to death.

Question of the Morning

If you are a pet owner, what surprised you the most about owning an animal?

69 Responses

  1. I totally agree about a dog being part of the family. My husband was out of town this weekend, so it was just be and the pup. Sooo much fun! She makes me smile from ear to ear. 🙂

  2. I have two cats and they are the sweetest, most annoying things in the world. My male cat had a severe urination issue for several years and my female cat loves to “talk” (i.e. meow) to us in the early morning hours. It does still surprise me, though, that even when they are being horrid creatures, I love them so, so, so very much.

    • i love this sentence: I have two cats and they are the sweetest, most annoying things in the world. – that’s exactly how we feel about sadie! 🙂

  3. I’m with you. I didn’t think I could love an animal as much as I love my little chug. 🙂 She is a little nutty and causes me some stress once in awhile (okay, a lot of times), but I couldn’t imagine my life without her now!

  4. I actually AM a first time dog owner (never had one growing up or anything), and I totally agree with everything you said. I didn’t know how needy my baby would be, how funny he would be (ours is like a cat and likes to sit up on the back of the couch), or how much I would LOVE him. It’s a little overwhelming actually how much I worry about him and think about him. I can’t imagine my life without my dog anymore now that he’s in it- and I didn’t think I was a dog person til we got our dog!

  5. I’m always surprised by how affectionate my cat is….I thought cats normally didn’t give people the time of day but all he ever wants to do is snuggle which I enjoy

  6. I think the two things you mentioned are definitely not as expected. I love my pups soo much. They are so adorable and cute and always make me happy as soon as I see their cute faces.

  7. I’m totally the same way– I grew up with dogs, but for some reason, now that I have MY dogs, I am completely overwhelmed by how much I love them. I even call one of my dogs my soul mate (my husband loves that). They’re just the greatest.

  8. Ha ha – yea, ours are pretty needy too. And they have wild personalities – that are completely different from each other. The biggest shocker for me was that we talk about our dogs like they are our kids.

  9. I’d agree–I also think that it shocks how much pets are like people. I have two dogs now and they have COMPLETELY different personalities just like people.

  10. I WANT to be a pet owner… I really want a doggy. We just don’t have the time though.

  11. Even though my husband and I both had dogs growing up, I don’t think we realized just how much attention she would need. We have a springer spaniel, so of course she is so energetic and always ready for playing and ready to go for a walk. Although, she would get exhausted after 5 miles with you. She can barely do 3 miles before she gets tired out! But she is like a child in that she constantly wants our attention and I don’t think we expected that. But I don’t think we expected to love her as much as we do either. I really do love her as much as a child. Is that weird?

  12. Okay, that photo of Sadie striking a photo literally made me LOL! She really does look like a hilarious pup 🙂

  13. I’m not a pet owner. My husband and I like dogs and each had some growing up but I don’t think I’m the type to own one. Because the thing I’ve realized when visiting his family and their multiple dogs is that they shed all over the place. I think that would drive me up a wall.

  14. I love my dog so much, she’s perfect. Sure, she makes doods on the floor sometimes, but she’s getting old, which might be why. You just cannot look at your pup without smiling 🙂

  15. io could not agree more. I had the sweetest family member AKA dog growing up and he just passed away in 2008. I was devasted and my oparents to this day have not gotten another dog because they think no one can replace my pup 😦 i LOVE dogs!! i want to have one or two when i have a family!

  16. I’m not a pet owner anymore, but I would love to be. We had a Golden Retriever named Scamp growing up and he was the sweetest dog ever. I remember always being surprised at how scared Scamp would get during thunder storms. Nothing else frightened him like thunder and lightening. My mom had a rule that Scamp wasn’t allowed to sit on furniture, but no one could say no during a thunder storm. He would jump up on the sofa and put his palms in your lap. It was so sweet. I can’t wait to have my own puppy one day.

  17. Hazel is sooo naughty. But at nights when she snuggles up to me and is so innocent, I forgive her:)
    And vizsla puppies are probably the cutest things in the world.

  18. I don’t have kids yet–just my dog Sam (golden retriever). I honestly fear that I won’t love my future children as much as I love my dog!

  19. I have 2 ginormo doggys. A labradoodle, Licorice, and a goldendoodle, Twix. They are my babies. I was shocked to know that I could love an animal as much as I do. THey are literally my babies. They require constant attention and I get realy sad when they don’t wanna sleep inthe bed with me. LUckily, that rarely happens.

  20. I grew up with dogs but my husband did not. In our 2nd year of marriage he agreed to get one to cure my raging puppy fever. 5 years later, we have THREE dogs. 🙂
    What has surprised me the most is how much HE loves them. I’ve always been a dog person and have loved them all my life, but he had never even been around a dog before his 20’s. But I find him constantly snuggled up with them, talking to them, kissing them, playing with them, talking ABOUT them. It’s absolutely precious. 🙂

  21. Your breakfast looks delicious! I have those everything bagel thins at home right now, too! 🙂

    I have a cat and feel like she’s part of the family also. She makes me laugh so much. I think she’s confused that she’s really a cat and thinks she’s a dog. One thing that surprised me the most was how she lets me wrestle with her. Gently of course. But she loves her belly rubbed and I will roll her around on the floor while petting her and she doesn’t even mind! So laid back I love it!

  22. Thank you for this post. My husband and I are about to get our first puppy Labor Day weekend. I never had a pet before other than a goldfish, but he has grown up with dogs. We are trying to prepare ourselves for the adventure that we are about to embark on, but I know that regardless of how prepared we are, we need to expect the unexpected! We are super excited to add a new member to our family and all of your pictures and stories about Sadie make me even more excited!

  23. Hi Julie! I really want to adopt a puppy and I also work full-time like you so I am struggling with how I would be able to work so many hours and still take care of a puppy. What do you do with Sadie during the day? Does she stay in a crate, inside but out of the crate, or outside? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Love your blog.

    • both ryan & i work full-time and it has actually turned out okay. when sadie was a puppy & we were potty training her, i would come home at lunch every day to let her out and take her on a 10 minute walk around the neighborhood, which i think really helped with potty training. during the day, sadie has free roam of our house. i know people who crate train who swear by it though! she did get into some of our things when she was a puppy (i lost a shoe and our coffee table was chewed up), but now that she’s over 2, we don’t really have any issues.

      for potty training, i would highly recommend the bell method we used: we hung a bell on the door and touched her nose to it before we took her out back to pee. eventually she learned to ring the bell if she wanted to go outside to go to the bathroom.

  24. I have a cat, and I’m always so surprised about how much of a dog she is. She follows me around the house, always wants to sit on my lap, sleeps at the foot of my bed. She’s sooo needy and loving. I was surprised about how bad I feel when I leave her alone for long periods of time.

  25. growing up, i had 3 cats and a dog (not all at once). my husband and i now have a kitty… we didn’t want a dog in an apartment. but i am shocked (and was just telling my husband the other day) how surprised i am at how lax i’ve become in regard to her shedding and her toys. i was adament that if she shedded alot, she couldn’t come on the couch and that her toys couldn’t stay all over the floor. but she looks so cute on the couch! and she likes to play with her toys in the living room…. so i have relented because sheba is so cute and i love her so much!

  26. I’m so territorial about my pets…I can’t stand when someone says something negative about them (shed too much, too-fat-cat, doesn’t listen, etc). I’m like “That’s my baby — you can’t talk about my baby!” 😉

  27. i would say the biggest thing that surprised me was how much attention was required…i worked full time, but so did my hubby, and we had alternating schedules, so it worked for us. but i wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own!

  28. I’m the same way about not realizing how much I could love a dog. Up until Molly, I was definitely a cat person even though there was always a family dog or two growing up. But when I saw Molly, and she was the teeniest puppy, I was a goner. I do realize some mistakes I made due to the fact that she was the first dog I took care of all on my own… not socializing, using the crate as a punishment, not being diligent with training. But it’s live and learn, and I love her. The next dog will not be brought up the same way though!

  29. I AM a first time dog-owner, and having a vizsla as a first pup certainly isn’t for wimps 🙂

    She’s the neediest, sometimes whiniest dog I know and I wouldn’t trade her for the world… she’s so SILLY and loving and goofy and ready to play and sweeter than any person I know… I can’t imagine life without her!

  30. I’m right there with you about how funny they are! I have one pure-bred Border Collie and one Border Collie mix at home and they both do the darndest things…things that are funny immediately, like leaping 5 feet into the air chasing bubbles, and things that aren’t funny until you retell them later, like stealing two whole Subway sandwiches off the kitchen table while the family ventured into the backyard for two minutes.

    The other thing with Borders is how much work they are! They are CONSTANTLY craving attention and something to do…and if you dare to ignore them, they punish you in the most fiendish ways, like eating the cutest pairs of underwear you own right out of the laundry hamper (another thing that isn’t funny until much, much later).

  31. I completely agree with Ryan on the GUILT! Ugh! I feel so badly if i’ve had a busy day and dont get a chance to sit down and pet/play with my families 3 dogs! Our girl, Mallory, is a NUT she’s afraid of the silliest things (like tinfoil?!) and runs laps around the house just for the fun of it, she also chases birds that fly over our backyard and bites the boys (murphy & rory) on the head! Murph & Mally are australian shephards and rory is a little lap dog, he likes to think hes big and tough, we also decided he would speak spanish if he were human. My whole family is guilty of “talking for the dogs.” We’ve always had dogs, I feel like my day would be a lot duller with out them!!

  32. I am also amazed at how much you can fall in love with your animals. The thing that surprised me the most, though, was how much they lighten my mood and brighten my day. When I wake up or come home and see them so excited to see me, I can’t help but feel happy.

  33. I adopted a puppy about 6 years ago from the Humane Society thinking aww a cute puppy, that should be fun. Little did I know how much work, fun, and love I would have for my pup. Although being a responsible pet honor is truly more upkeep then I had thought about (no more randomly crashing at a friends house, running out of town, waking up late, etc), he has become a part of my family. He is a big part of my life and a real companion, I feel lucky to have found him:)

  34. Sadie is beautiful!!! We have a cat named Piper and just yesterday were showing pictures of her to our friends when we realized that we were probably the only ones in the room who really cared. We had to leave her with my Grandma in the Bahamas for the summer, but when we look at pictures of her our hearts just swell with love. I had no idea a dinky little cat could contain within her soo much happiness and joy!

  35. I also feel so much guilt when I leave my dogs home for the day when at work or when I can’t play with them as much as I like. I also feel they are a part of my family and I miss them SO much when I am away!

    I didn’t know exactly how much time and work went into owning dogs…it’s a lot! It’s a lot of planning too, when you want to go out of town because you have to have a place for them to go or have someone watch them.

    I never thought I’d have two dogs at once, but it’s actually quite nice because they entertain eachother when I am exhausted! 🙂

  36. I completely understand the love and annoyed sentiment! Honestly, as I am in my second ownership of a dog, what has surprised me most is how much it hurts when they are gone. The owner/pet romance is filled with a constant presence that leaves a gaping whole… Now, even when annoyed, I just try to smile and appreciate that a creature so awesome wants my nonstop attention because I know how much the absence hurts.

  37. I think the biggest surprise with my two kittens (ok, I guess they are cats now) are how social and needy they are! We actually got these two from a breeder, because the boyfriend wanted this specific breed (Scottish Fold) due to their dog-like personalities. Which means that they are nowhere close to being as independent as other cats–they’ve got to know where we are at all times! But at the same time, I love this about them, because I know two cats are eagerly waiting for me to come home each day 🙂

  38. We were surprisingly smart when we got our beagle. My husband was in his final year of law school, so he was home most of the day except for the few hours of class. He really took on potty training and it also gave us an opportunity to leave Manny out of his kennel a little bit at a time before being a free-range beagle. I also lost a couple of shoes, but he’s four now and never tears up anything.
    I am also amazed at how much I love my dog. My husband is certain that I love the dog more than him. It’s not true, but Manny is a very close second!

  39. It’s funny how these little creatures really touch your heart. I can’t imagine our lives without our dog Sammy. He really is so much more than a pet. I imagine it changes with kids, but I feel the same way about Sammy as you do with Sadie.

  40. I can’t wait until my husband and I can get a house so that we can get a dog. I had dogs all throughout my childhood and I really miss having them! There is nothing like having a sweet dog to make your day!

  41. I was surprised at how attached my dog got to me. I was home a lot during the day with him, so I became his go-to-person. He ended up “moving in” with my boyfriends mom (we live in a condo, they have a huge yard and a dog that always played with him), but we went there every night to hang out with him and he would always follow me around. He only wanted his momma! He gave me an unlimited amount of love and affection.

  42. My cat surprised me when he started jumping into my bed early in the morning. Throughout the night, he won’t do that, but as soon as he thinks I could start waking up, he jumps in and starts to cuddle like a little baby.
    Animals can bring so much joy and laughter into one’s life, it’s wonderful.

  43. My husband is a first-time dog owner but I had dogs growing up. I don’t think either of us anticipated how much our lives would change. Things like going to dinner AND a movie or taking a day trip or visiting out of town family now comes down to Denali. How long will we be gone? Is there space at the kennel for Denali? It was almost like having a child except you can’t put a dog in a cart at the grocery store. For as much work as Denali is, nothing beats hearing him behind the door waiting for me after a long day at work.

  44. I grew up with dogs and am a dog-person through and through, but my lifestyle (living in an apartment, full time job) meant that it would be too cruel to get a dog, so I adopted a cat (my first) 5 years ago. I never knew cats are just as interactive as dogs are, and also VERY funny. Oh, and needy, gosh, he’s needy.

  45. My family had dogs when I was growing up, but when my hubby and I got our dog, Diesel, it was different because he was “my own.” I didn’t know really how much responsibility there was to having your own. Plus, I’m amazed with how much I love him! He’s like my child. 🙂

  46. i was going to read your responses….but wowzee momma…there’s a lot!!

    i have had pets all my life ( i’m 41 ). however, i just adopted a third dog into our home. she has brought a lot of life into our home and boy she loves all the attention. she loves to cuddle and is happiest in either mine or my daughter’s lap. i love my 3 dogs and 2 cats ( one cat stays outside by her choice ) so, so much. i think i actually see them smile sometimes when they’re feeling so happy!

  47. I was suprised at how smart my little dog is! He is 15 pounds and has taught himself how to jump up, hit the door handle, and open all of the bedroom doors throughout the house!

  48. I’ve never owned a dog before. My parents had a doberman for the majority of their relationship, but it passed away when I was about two years old.

    My fiance on the other hand has always had a dog and is usually the one to take care of it.

    How did you both decide on a breed together? Where did you end up buying Sadie (breeder, pet store, someone in town, etc.)? Do you have any problems with both working full time and owning a dog? That’s probably my biggest worry!

  49. This is so funny because yesterday I was at my cousins new house and her husband has two vishlas! It totally reminded me of you and made me want to get one! They are soo adorable. Have a great monday!

  50. I too was SHOCKED by how much I could love our dog. I used to be one of those people that would roll their eyes at dog owners and I’ve totally turned into that girl!!

  51. I don’t currently have a pet, but I want one so much (a dog to run with preferably). I think animals are so special.

    I did have cats in high school (they live with my Mom now because I moved so much in college and was never home) and they are awesome. I miss them.

  52. It’s true you never know how a dog will change your life. We’re so lucky with our dog, because he’s exactly our speed: he’s up for a romp through the woods, an afternoon at a friend’s house, or a lazy nap!

  53. I love this post! I just moved back home with my parents and our eight-year-old lab. You’d never know that was his age, he still acts like a puppy. He cracks me up so much – I can sit there forEVER and play with him and just laugh and laugh. Dogs are the best!

  54. I was most surprised at how much I’d love her . How I look forward to coming home to her wiggling her bum at me .
    ANd yes i have a funny one too !

  55. Yep, I have a crazy and hilarious cat named Goblin, and Yes it has totally surprised me how much I love him!! 🙂
    Feeling that kind of “parental” (says the non-parent w/ no real parenting experience) responsibility for him has been a lot… BIGGER than I had ever imagined, if that makes sense. He makes me and my roommate (his other mother) laugh so much we even send emails to each other during day about him. Nerdtastic! But we are proud cat ladies 😉

  56. I have a cockapoo and when I first got her, I expected her to be like my previous dog, lazy and just enjoyed laying around all day. My current dog is absolutely crazy and won’t sit still for a minute. We used to call her ‘hell on four paws’ but now I’m so glad I have her because she brightens my day with just a wag of her tail 🙂

  57. That happens to me all the time….I go to the gym T-I-R-E-D and wind up having a great workout. I love it when that happens!

    Your Sadie is too much! I love her crazy face! Such a cutie…good luck with your first fur child!

  58. I have a great dane and since she’s stopped needing to be in a crate when we’re not home she’s found an affinity for my pumps… they are her most favorite chew toy and momma is not happy but when i come home and she has gotten one of my shoes off the shoe rack and knawed the heel off she is usually looking at me like I had noooooooooo idea it was your favorite pair and you were going to wear them tomorrow…

    just as well, my knees agree with flats more these days anyways… she licks everything too… i mean everything… people, couches, plates, chairs lol… one strannnnge puppy…

  59. I got a dog because I wanted a running buddy. My dog won’t run. I wish someone had told me that!!

  60. I am also shocked that I could love an animal beyond words can express. It’s not corny at all Julie! I mean probably it is to someone who doesn’t have a pet or never had one. To me, it’s just amazing! I never had a pet in my life, in fact I used to be terrified of dogs and cats! We got our Muffin about 10 months ago. I kind of wanted a dog to get over my fear actually. One of my best friends got a dog a year before us and I was initially scared of him as well. Then I got really used to him that I wanted to give all this love I actually had for dogs to my own! Sometimes when I am cuddling with Muffin, I really can’t believe that it’s real! I’ve come a long way from, changing my path when I saw a dog coming towards me, to cuddling with my own dog whom I cannot imagine this life without! Love my pooch! 🙂

  61. I was so surprised at how much work it was to take care and train a puppy. My husband is a total animal lover and has grown up with all sorts of pets. Me? Not so much. I was very surprised at how attached I became; he definitely is a part of our family and we always talk about how our kids will grow up but our puppy will always be a baby. It truly was like taking care of a baby. Thankfully my husband did most of the work, driving home every lunch to feed and let him out, getting up at the crack of dawn to let him out, potty training him, and just basic training, etc.

  62. I’ve got a Sadie too! And she’s changed our lives for sure 🙂 Just found your blog and am having fun reading all your recipes! Congrats on the wedding!

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