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She's Definetely Worth It!

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“Mom, that one! I want that one!” I exclaimed to my mom when we got to the breeder’s backyard where she kept all her dogs. When I spotted the little fluffy golden retriever running in circles energetically, I knew she was the one for me! After filling out all the paper work, it was finally time to take the new addition to our family home. During the long car ride home, as my puppy was curled into a little ball in my lap soundly asleep, we all agreed on the name Maggie for her. I knew she would be a handful, but I knew I could handle it and I was so glad to finally bring her home.

Before I had gotten Maggie, I had been begging to get a dog for the longest time, and my parents’ excuse for not wanting to get one was that it would be too much work to take care of a family and a dog. I promised them that I would do everything to take care of the dog if we got one, and that he/she would be all my responsibility.
“Mom,” I pleaded, “I know I can take care of a dog. It is not that much work!”
“You are way too young and are not capable of taking care of a dog! Besides, I am going to be the one who ends up doing all the work to care for her,” my mom concluded. I was confident that I could take on the responsibility of taking care of a pet of my own, but I guess she was not. I also knew that it would not be all work, but fun too! Playing fetch with her, taking her to the dog parks, giving her a tummy rub, and running around chasing her in the backyard, were all fun parts of having a doggie.

Even though I knew taking care of Maggie was a huge responsibility, I did not realize how difficult it was until I actually had her. I had to feed her every morning and make sure she had water in her pool. Especially when it was really hot outside during the summer, I needed to make sure she had enough water at all times so she would not get dehydrated. All of the things I had to remember to do for her were getting overwhelming, and it took awhile before I got use to this new addition to my currently already busy schedule. It was hard to remember to feed and give her water every morning, and I was being constantly reminded to do it. One day I came home from an extremely hot day at school, I realized that I had forgotten to fill up Maggie’s pool with water! I felt awful, because I knew she would be dying of thirst and was super hot. I immediately ran outside to fill up her bowl and pool with water, and as she shot like a firecracker over to have some water I was almost in tears. She had gone all day without a drop of water in the blazing sun, and she was parched and it was my entire fault. I thought to myself, when was I going to learn to be more responsible and remember these things? This is so important, yet easy to do and I couldn’t even remember to do it.
After this happened several times, I understood that I needed to take this more seriously. Maggie is a living creature and if I forget to feed her or give her water, it is a big deal. Every once in a while I will forget to give her water or something and I will have to be reminded, but everyone makes mistakes. Those times when I remember to do everything without my mom reminding me, makes me really proud of myself, and it shows me that I can be responsible for taking care of a living animal.

When we brought Maggie home, I immediately wanted to play with her. “Go get it! Run Mags, run!” I shouted as I threw the ball, and Maggie ran after it. The funny thing about playing fetch with Maggie was she would only play with her specific ball. If the ball was not green with white fluffy fuzz around it, and if it did not squeak, then she would not chase after it. Obviously this is an extremely fun game for Maggie to play, but it is also fun for me too. I love seeing her sprint after her ball and leaping into the air with excitement, then flopping back to the ground. She does this every time and I cannot help but to crack up in laughter and smile. Knowing that I took a moment out of my busy schedule to spend time with her, and to see that she is so happy proves to myself that I can be responsible for even the fun things in taking care of her! Even just taking fifteen minutes to give her some attention fills my heart with a sense of accomplishment and feeling that I did something good.

Sometimes Maggie needs to be taken care of at the worst possible hour. Whenever there is a thunderstorm, Maggie freaks out! She hates them so much, and is terrified of the thunder. During the night when there is loud thunder and Maggie gets really scared, she runs upstairs into my room, which she is not allowed to do, and either jumps into my bed and lays with me, or lies next to my bed whining until I wake up. When she does this, although I might be mad she woke me up, it makes me feel special that she wants me to comfort her, and of course I feel bad for her so I let her sleep with me for that night.

Maggie is an outside dog, and she runs and runs and runs all day long. One day she came inside with a cut on both of her back paws. At first we did not think anything of it. After awhile it got worse, so we took her to the vet. She ended up having to get surgery on her paws, to remove the nail. This just broke my heart to know she was in pain. I could not imagine how much pain she was in. Having surgery is just awful, and afterwards she was so sore! I hate pain and when Maggie is in pain, I feel as if I am in as much pain as she is. After her surgery she had to wear bandages on her back paws, and a cone on her head so she would not pull off the bandages. Twice a day for about a month, I had to give her pills that were required to prevent infection and ease her pain. Having to take care of a sick and injured “patient” for a month is a lot of work. I had to make sure she did not chew at her bandages, and if she did have to go to the bathroom, I had to put a zip-lock baggie around her feet so her bandages would not get dirty outside. This took responsibility, and when she was better I was so relieved, and was proud of myself. I felt very grown up for remembering to give her the pills, and taking her out every hour to go to the bathroom.

I have had Maggie for four years, and she is just a joy to have around. After all these years of taking care of her, it comes naturally and it does not even seem like a hassle. Being responsible for something so big and important helped me to be responsible for even just littlest things. Maggie has taught me to be more grown up in many ways and I am glad my parents let me finally get her. I know it was a great decision, and she has changed all of our lives for the best!





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