It took me a while to be able to write these words, but I think I can finally say it out loud. My partner is a functioning Pupaholic.
People don’t realize how to read the signs. They don’t understand it’s an affliction and there’s nothing anyone but the sufferer can do about it. What we can do, as their support system, is acknowledge it and work through it with them.
I want to write this for the sufferers, around the world, dealing with this condition. I want to shine some light on the symptoms, so anyone else struggling with this affliction can realize it and work through it. Here are five signs you may be a functioning pupaholic:
1. Do you feel the constant need to pet random dogs?
We live in a world where dogs are everywhere. How are we supposed to control our urges when they are right there, in our faces, begging to be pet and told they’re the goodest?
I won’t lie and try to say it’s easy. There will be times you slip up, times you make mistakes, even times you succumb to petting multiple strangers’ dogs in a single day. As long as you are aware of what’s happening, and working to control your urges, that’s all anyone can ask of you.
2. Does seeing a dog inhibit your control of your voice?
Pupaholics have been found ten times more likely to talk in a high-pitched voice whenever encountering a new dog. They also often struggle with proper English during these episodes. Whenever a new dog comes into sight, the pupaholic quickly reverts to talking in gibberish and asking questions the dog simply can’t respond to.
Luckily, for most dog owners, this kind of behavior is acceptable. They also find themselves struggling with the affliction and are understanding of the challenges pupaholics face during these encounters.
3. Can the sight of a dog completely derail what you’re doing?
The effects of pupaholism can be dangerous if not understood and controlled. Some sufferers have been reported to lose all mental focus when a dog enters their field of view. Conversations are completely forgone as their energy becomes solely focused on their new, four-legged “best friend”. Tasks they are performing fall to the wayside as their entire mental focus is now handed over to the canine.
These are the lucky ones. A pupaholic who is operating a motor vehicle can be in the most danger. They can be a danger to themselves as well as others, if they are unable to control their reactions to seeing a dog while driving. If you know you are a pupaholic, please be aware of this possibility for the safety of yourself and everyone around you.
4. Do you find yourself in an endless loop of dog videos?
A pupaholic’s days can flash by in a blur of dog videos. Concepts like time are completely lost. The emotional roller coaster appears benign but the time lost streaming video after video adds up. Some pupaholics will spend hours watching these cute videos, even if they have other things they should be doing. College kids miss deadlines, the honey-do list goes another unfulfilled day. Where does it end? The world keeps going, while these pupaholics are lost in the blue light of their cell phones and computer screens.
5. Do you question if the service animal secretly wants to be your friend?
They don’t. Servicing their owners is what they want to do. Trying to pet them, feed them, or distract them is not ok. This can be one of the hardest tests for a pupaholic.
You’re not alone.
Millions of pupaholics, just like you, are going through life, trying to figure out how to control their urges. The first step to living with the disease is accepting you are a pupaholic.
If you find yourself relating to the symptoms described in this article, it may be time to talk to your loved ones. Know that they care about you, no matter what. Once you are able to openly talk about it, you can begin to understand your condition.
The life of a pupaholic can be one of struggle as you try to find balance between life and playing with puppies, but it is a good life. Live it to the fullest, knowing there are others out there struggling, just like you. Take pride in knowing yourself and never forget things could be worse… You could feel this way about cats.
A version of this post was previously published on GoFindYourHappy and is republished here with permission from the author.
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