I have never broken the law. I have never smoked. I have never snuck out of the house after 11 p.m.
I guess I could deceive myself and claim that breaking the law just wasn’t all that interesting to me, but the truth is that my parents sheltered me so much that I just never even thought about doing anything they hadn’t previously approved. It’s not that my parents are overprotective or that they don’t trust me to make good decisions, but rather that they expect that if I were to try a vice, it should be in the comfort of my own home or somewhere with people I can trust.
Whatever it is, being the “good girl” has made me somewhat dependent on them. That’s why, when my parents told me they were abandoning me for the summer, I was somewhat angry at them. How could they do this? What if someone breaks in? What if I suddenly fall so sick that I can’t even drag myself to the phone to call the ambulance? What if — Heaven forbid — my Wi-Fi breaks?!
They ignored all my worrisome thoughts and continued planning their trip to Germany.
Finally, their departure date rolled around. I still hadn’t come to terms with the idea that I would be alone for a month for the first time in my whole life, but I was less panicky now. I mean, I was going to have to live by myself when I went to college in August anyway. This would be a good experience. Plus, nothing that terrible could happen, right?
Then my friend called. She wanted me to take care of her dog while she went on vacation. I owed her a favor so I agreed. Big mistake. The last pet I had was a turtle. It died tragically because I forgot to replenish the water in its tank as I had forgotten I owned a turtle for about a week. It was painful and I felt so guilty afterward I vowed never to take care of another animal ever again.
How could I say no to this cute face?
That was a while ago though and I felt as if I had moved past that stage. But as always, I was wrong.
The dog gave me allergies. She broke some of my dad’s antiques. She pooped EVERYWHERE. She even got into our toilet paper stash and ripped the whole thing to shreds – all over the house. Twice. On top of all that, I had to walk her twice a day, an hour each time.
I felt as though I was reliving the movie “Home Alone,” but instead of dealing with robbers, I was dealing with a dog and instead of completely dominating the robbers, I was letting the dog dominate me.
I stuck it out for another three weeks before my friend came home. I complained about my experiences to her for about an hour, but once I had finished venting, I realized that I would definitely miss the dog I had been taking care of. She grew on me. After all, she actually taught me quite a lot about living alone. She taught me to exercise regularly (by always waking me up at 6 a.m. on the dot), she taught me to self-groom (though I won’t be licking myself anytime soon) and she taught me to take a risk sometimes (chasing a cat across a busy intersection — why not?).
Hey, who knows? Maybe I’ll even try to sneak a dog into my dorm room next year!
Lead Image Credit: Hughes Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation