Well, the word’s out, I guess: We got a puppy!
After several months of emailing back and forth with the breeder and some debate in the household over whether or not to wait until next spring, as well as the overall Is This Really A Good Decision Because Aren’t Puppies Kind Of A Lot Of Work?, etc., we made the leap and are now the happy trainers-sort-of-sometimes-maybe of the Smelly, also known as Fluffy Galore. (Which is possibly an unfortunate nickname, seeing as he’s a guy and all. Luckily I’ve only called him that once, and The Boy didn’t hear me. So there.)
What do I have to say about it? I have to tell you that as of 3 days into dog ownership, I was not at all sure we’d made the right choice. I’d known dogs were a lot of work, but I’d mentally prepared myself for the work being of the “muddy paws need to be wiped — again”, “fluffy white mane of fur is now coating couch rather than dog”, and “required jogging/squirrel chasing for 35 minutes, twice a day, no excuses; not even if it rains” (see also: muddy paws) variety.
No one had prepared me for the soul-draining, sleep-deprivation-causing, flat-out exhausting work of house-breaking a dog — especially one who for one hellish day needed to go every 15 minutes. Was it a temporary infection? Anxiety at being in a new environment? Not sure, but that day was rough. Although you might think that 15-minute pee intervals would give me a 15-minute window to Get Shit Done in, you’d be wrong. I got about 3 minutes per window. Occasionally, they were consecutive. You try writing so much as one coherent email with that kind of time; good luck getting anything more productive done.
And the rest? The rest of the time this past little while has been spent watching the doglet like a hawk, cleaning up messes, and ensuring he does not chew on me, the rug, my shoes, etc.
It isn’t all bad, not by a long shot. Mostly what I see is a fluffy, happy puppy who naps sweetly at our feet, emitting teensy grunts while his paws twitch, and who, once awake, is always playful, happily jumping up and hopeful for a tummy rub, ready to meet the kids playing in the park near our house, always running up, tail-wagging, to meet the neighbourhood dogs.
Oh, and in the interest of honesty, I have to say that the pictures we have of the dog? Are now slightly inaccurate. After a wonderful Easter weekend spent with The Boy’s family (and their dogs), the Smelly, having rolled around in thorough fashion for 3 days in The Boy’s mom’s garden, is much more… beige? grey? earthily-coloured? than he was in the pictures.
There. Full disclosure.
While I’m on about all this, I should say something about The Boy. It’s been just awesome to see us as a team — it’s been awhile since we really embarked on a Project together, and this has been really reassuring to me: to see us on the same page with barely any need to consult. He’s been a champ about staying up late, and being the Mean One who ushers the puppy into the kennel when necessary, taking him out in the rain in the wee hours, and generally being my rock when frustration and sleep-deprivation and Holy Christ, You Peed In The House Again; What Am I, Made Of Paper Towels?! threaten to overwhelm me.
(This is especially frustrating because he is an incredibly smart puppy. Mostly, we both figure, it’s an issue of us not understanding his signs that he wants out, and him not yet having learned signals that we’ll get.)
Although I can’t say wholeheartedly that this was For Sure the right thing to do, at the right time (The Boy’s gone for three days in this coming week, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to reach the end of my tether at some point during that time.) I can say that it’s been really rewarding and reassuring for me to see us work together in a constructive way.
And before anyone gets on my back about taking in a dog when I wasn’t even sure I wanted one, yadda yadda, I’m not the only one who lives here. I’m also pretty sure that once we get over the initial hill of basic house rules that I’ll start really appreciating the warm-hearted fluffball for who he is: a sweet, playful, happy companion, who already nudges us, albeit sometimes rather more toothily than I’d like, reminding us with sudden warmth that we have company, no matter what we’re doing.
In non-dog-related news, the weekend was 95% wonderful, and 5% depressing on the plant front. Point-form version:
- Got to hang out with The Boy’s family and see his growing nieces and nephews, which was awesome, as was some of the dog-rearing advice from his mom.
- I found a top to wear to A Certain Wedding occurring in the next week.
- Inspired by the recent completion of my two-year Pomatomus socks, I got the first of my toe-up Jaywalkers done — a project which had been languishing for a little over a year. Better still, I got about 40% of it done on the ride back home from The Boy’s hometown — an exciting first, since I used to get headaches when I tried to knit in the car. W00t!
- All of the herbs (parsley, cilantro basil) which had been growing very well in egg cartons, and which I’d planned on setting out into the garden (or the greenhouse) this week, now seem to have died after 3 days’ neglect.
- On the plus side, we were welcomed home today with the colourful crocus blooms out front, so perhaps there’s hope.