How To

How to Read After You Adopt A Dog

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Nikki VanRy

Contributing Editor

Nikki VanRy is a proud resident of Arizona, where she gets to indulge her love of tacos, desert storms, and tank tops. She also writes for the Tucson Festival of Books, loves anything sci-fi/fantasy/historical, drinks too much chai, and will spend all day in bed reading thankyouverymuch. Follow her on Instagram @nikki.vanry.

Instead of taking the big leap towards children, you’ve gone out and adopted a sweet pup who is supposed to warm up your home and your soul. It’s easier than kids right? (Answer: Yes.) Does that mean reading will be as easy as it once was with your new dog around? (Answer: No.)

That doesn’t mean your reading life must end, though. Just as Rachel gave some awesome lifehacks for reading with babies, here are some tricks for reading with dogs in the house.

1. It will be slower. Don’t get discouraged.

It is a scientifically proven fact that your dog will be most interested in you right after you’ve settled in with the perfect book, cup of tea, and blanket. She might need to go out, thus ruining the blanket tucking strategy you had. If you have two dogs, they will most likely want to play right on top of where you’re reading. Put the mug of tea out of reach and wait for the dinosaur-fight to move on before tucking back into that book you love. With a dog, you’re going to have to roll with it.


2. Read while your dog is eating.

Rachel points out that time while baby is eating is the perfect time for reading. While most dogs don’t eat for two hours a day, you CAN improve your chances for some more quiet reading time. It’s called the Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble Meal Dispensing Dog Toy, which is a realllllly long name for a ball you put food in. Basically, you’re turning that five minutes of daily quiet eating time to about an hour or, even better, another chapter. (And if you have not already visited…)


3. Listen to books while your dog is walking and sniffing. 

For maximum pup happiness (as well as yours–that’s part of the reason you adopted the dog right?), you’re going to be taking some walks. All day, if you really want to. You’re also probably going to find yourself standing awkwardly at a dog park. This is prime time for audiobook listening, especially if you’re not an extroverted sort at the dog park (and you’re on a book website, soooo).


4. Read while your dog is napping…

But only if you’re okay with body parts going numb. The dog is going to either be on your feet (best-case scenario) or on top of you. One arm will probably be crushed under him, while the other tries to flip pages one-handed. Ebooks and audiobooks are good options here. Since most dogs are sleeping anywhere from 12-18 hours a day, that’s loads of possible reading time. (And you get some adorable cuddling in as well.)


5. Learn how to DNF.

If you’ve officially become a “dog person,” you’re going to have be more wary of the books you pick and also become okay with DNFing books if certain topics come up. Any book that deals with dogs saving the day, older dogs passing away, the bond between dogs and people, etc. is going to turn you into a hot-ass mess complete with ugly-crying. If you ARE in the mood for some ugly-crying, get yourself The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, The Stand by Stephen King (#KojakIsTheHeroOfThisBook), or The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. (Any of the books on this list or this one too.)


6. Incorporate your dogs into your reading. 

If you’re adventurous and want to combine your passion of reading with your love for dogs, you might be able to bring your dog to one of the many dog literacy programs popping up. Your trained dog cuddles (and probably squashes body parts) of young kids who get to practice their reading skills by reading to your dog. Just search for a program in your community–there’s so many of them! You could also run a used-book sale or auction with proceeds benefitting a local animal welfare organization, or volunteer your time to walk adoptable dogs (even more audiobook time!).


7. Some things are going to give. But it doesn’t have to be reading. 

General cleanliness is probably out the door. Work clothes that don’t have hair or slobber on them too. The mailman will never again drive by without a cacophony of sound. But you’ll also gain so much more when you adopt a dog: an entity to blame farts on, a walking buddy who will always let you listen to audiobooks, and that constant companionship and love thing. D’aww. (And yes, I am totally going to shove photos of my dogs in your face now.)


What other tips do you have for reading when you have a dog in the house?

(And since I just can’t help myself, head on over to PetFinder if you’re ready to take the plunge.)


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