Get a puppy, they said.
It’ll be fun, they said.
They weren’t wrong, necessarily. That just isn’t the whole truth. The whole truth would’ve included sentiments such as:
It’ll be hard. It’ll be frustrating. It’ll be awesome and horrible in the same 5-minute span. That’s what they would have said, had they not just wanted to play with a puppy that didn’t live at their house, but hey, I’m not pointing fingers. What I’ve done, then, is gotten a puppy – so I can tell you the truth of the matter. If you decide to join me in this endeavor, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
For some background – we are not what you might identify as dog people, per se.
Neither my husband or I ever dreamed of being dog owners in adulthood. But we do have a child – a darling, nearly 8-year-old little sweetie who, long ago, began a very subtle and crafty campaign for a pup. (Just kidding, nothing a nearly 8-year-old does is subtle.) We weren’t swayed at first, not even slightly. We held strong to our disinterest in adding another small thing to schedule around and have to feed. Human children, we could deal with. Dog children, though – we weren’t quite on board.
Then one fateful day, I found my husband – who had always led the charge in our firm “NO” to the “can I have a puppy” campaign – LOOKING AT PUPPIES ON THE INTERNET. When the initial shock wore off, it didn’t take many pictures to convince me to visit said puppies, and the rest of the story basically writes itself.
Because once you see the puppy, you can’t not get the puppy. That’s science. Pretty sure.
And so, we surprised our 7-year-old with a pup of her very own, veritably blowing her mind, since we had always been so aggressively negative to her pleas. That in and of itself was pretty fun. I’m a big proponent of surprises with the small ones. I’ve yet to experience anything more gratifying than our second grader coming home one afternoon to a puppy of her very own. Our little Moxie.
It makes sense to start with the positives of puppy ownership; I’m not a monster, after all.
First and foremost, I love this dog. I may not be a dog person, but I am a my-dog person. I love her so much. I don’t love all of her behaviors, mind you, but I do just really love this ferocious little monster.
She is also adorable. She does somersaults in our yard and basks in the sun like a very unladylike Queen of Sheba. Her tail wags so hard her whole body shakes when her little person comes home from school. She loves us even if we just said several choice words at her for peeing on the carpet. She finds the cutest places to nap, snuggles when the mood is right, and adds a new level of adorable to our household. Kids’ cuteness is only compounded by adding a small animal. Also science.
The best thing, I think, is she’s changed up our schedule. Instead of rolling out of bed in just enough time to dress the kid and get to our jobs, we have longer, more leisurely mornings together. Yes, they start a little earlier than before, but that just means there is plenty of time for coffee before the day begins. We go outside way more often than before – spending our mornings and our afternoons out with the pup. We take more walks. We all do a little less electronic relaxation (TV, iPads, etc) and spend a little more time looking at each other, all because of this little ball of fur we want desperately to not pee in the house. The Vitamin D intake is through the roof up in here.
Now for the big ol’ HOWEVER you knew was coming: our little doll face is extremely high maintenance.
She barks, views our home as her own personal toilet, whines when you’re not actively playing with her, and chews on shoes and toes and fingers and faces, given the chance. She didn’t sleep very well at first, and since it’s Colorado in the Spring, we spent a lot of 2 AM’s out in the snow with a very cranky puppy. I don’t know if I expressed this clearly – but she bites literally all the things within her mouth’s reach. Also – sometimes I don’t want to have a leisurely coffee-sipping morning outside. Sometimes I want to stay in bed with my human people until after 7 AM – but no dice. Sometimes I don’t want to get off the couch, because I’m watching Say Yes to the Dress – but her needs/bladder wait for no man, woman, or reality television show.
Having a puppy is a workout. I was prepared for that – and I must say our Moxie girl exceeded even my wildest expectations on that front. But I also love her way more than I thought I would. I love watching her chase my daughter around the backyard, getting in the way of cartwheels, and catch left and right.
Knowing that these two will grow up together (and one day they won’t be small and running around in my backyard all day, every day) brings a tear to my eye even now – and this is what really makes it all worth it.
Having a pup is certainly not for the faint of heart, but neither are most of the things we do to make our kids happy. And while I clean up a lot more pee than I’d like to at this stage in my life, overall I’d say this little bundle of joy was a pretty good call.
Pardon the photo-overload, but what good is a post about puppies if it doesn’t include copious photos of said puppies?! So, you’re welcome.