Recently I have been reflecting on how much Mason has changed my life. When I first got Mason I was 20 years old, still in college and living with 4 other people and a cat named Captain. For years I had wanted a dog, but the timing was never right. One day I just decided to go for it. I wanted a dog that I could take on hikes with me, go camping with, take down to Church St. and the farmers market, I wanted a dog that I could take everywhere I went.
I grew up with dogs, Pepper and Duchess. Both were the sweetest things you could have ever met, they were good off leash, they hung out together all day long outside on our porch. You could trust them. That is what I was hoping for out of a dog…then I got Mason.
Let me start by saying Mason has taught me sooo much in the last 4.5 years since I have gotten him. He has taught me patients, understanding, compromise.. sacrifice. Having a dog is absolutely nothing like what I had imagined. Yes I knew they were a big responsibility, of course I knew I had to take care of him, but I really only imagined it in this very vague sense. When I finally brought Mason home I was hit with a very large dose of reality. To say Mace was a handful is the biggest understatement I could make!
Not only did his behavior and disposition change when I brought him home, but he had enormous health problems.
When I went and met Mace he was in a backyard, with no collar on, barking at me. He came right up to me said hi and I took him for a walk. He pulled, he jumped, he chased things, and I thought it was all very cute. Next thing I know he is in the back of my car coming home with me. I had NOTHING for him so armed with my sister, and my roommate we went to Petco. I bought Purina (it was the cheapest and I was on a college budget), some treats, toys, 2 bowls, a leash, a new collar, and some rawhides for him to chew on.
That first weekend he came everywhere with me. We went to City Market and I tied him up outside to wait while I got him treats, we went to the Waterfront Park, and we went apple picking. Everything was going great, sure he barked at a few dogs while we went past, and no he wasn’t off leash reliable, but those were all things we could easily fix with some training.
I officially realized how hard it was to have a dog. I had to make sure he was walked before class, and then again after class (no matter how tired I was). He required daily exercise, trips to the dog park, Mount Philo and extra long walks. Most importantly vet care, I needed to get him his shots, heartworm, flea and tick and set up regular appointments. I had no idea!
When I was at class Mason hung out with my roommates, when I was home he chewed on his rawhides and hung out with me, we walked on the busy streets of downtown Burlington and we played at the dog park. All of this changed after the first month or so. Not only did his personality shift, but so did his health.
*Sorry to leave you with a cliff hanger, but Mason’s story is so long and complicated I could’n’t fit it all into one!*