99 reasons I lost my marbles when we got a puppy and how you can avoid it
We got a dog.
I have never had a dog, but my husband has had several and it's been a dream of his to raise one with our family. I have spent many years claiming I am allergic. I mean, I actually am, however, age and change in allergies has made my symptoms lessen. So, we got the dog.
A couple nights prior to the big day of bringing home baby I lost my shi*. I asked my husband if he had really put any thought in to this situation and how come he was so calm. We were basically getting a baby and raising a newborn all over again and I felt 100% unprepared. Not only did I have NO CLUE what I was doing to prepare for this wild creature, I was also running through all the scenarios in my head.
- We will never sleep a full night's sleep ever again.
- We will have to board him or have someone stay at our house every time we want to go somewhere for longer than like 12 hours.
- I don't understand dog language. I barely understand child language, so how do I communicate with this foreign object.
- He's going to chew up ALL THE THINGS, pee on it, roll in poop and track it in the house....the mud, the biting, the jumping, the barking, the knocking over breakables and dragging me down the street when I try to take him for a walk.
- I'm going to end up being the sole provider of this animal, despite what my husband and kids assure me. I've never been more sure of anything in my life.
The list went on and on in my head. And then my brain short circuited. Truth was, I wanted this dog for my family, because they kept asking and because it could be really super cute (in pictures). But, I was not excited about all the above listed scenarios and concerns. The losing of my shi* led to an unnecessary argument between my husband and I. Eventually, he recognized that I was not going to crawl out of my hole of puppy despair anytime soon. We hugged it out and I went on sulking around the house as I re-arranged the entirety of it to accommodate the incoming house guest, and watched with saltwater filled eyes as Scott installed a baby gate (mind you we had UNINSTALLED the baby gate and happily filled the holes with spackle).
Like announcing you're pregnant, everyone who has had the "bringing home baby" experience wants to plant a seed of advice. Maybe I should have listened more intently. So, now I am forwarding that advice to you. Maybe you need to hear this? Maybe you're thinking about getting a puppy and, like me, have no clue what you are doing?
TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS: So your significant other is totally jazzed about getting a dog and has some childhood experience with it, but maybe you're hesitant and don't know what to expect. Talk about how you're feeling and make sure he/she understands your reservations. Especially if you have small children and are enjoying the pleasures of not changing diapers or cleaning up after the toddler threw breakfast all over your entire kitchen. Things are about to get rough. Discuss a nightly routine, who's responsible for what, get the kiddos involved in helping with potty breaks and poop pick-ups. Don't avoid the conversation and have a mental breakdown like I did.
BRACE YOURSELF FOR STICKER SHOCK - PLAN AHEAD: Real talk, people. Dogs are expensive. Pick up a book about raising a puppy and tag the pages on what you'll need to purchase. Research the dog food brands that align with your nutrition preference/budget and calculate what the needs will be. Dog foods range quite a bit, so it's good to know what you can afford. Other things will be: crates, x-pens, beds, leashes, sturdy boxes or crates to hold all their toys and accessories, and of course lots and lots of toys. It all adds up quickly. I began spending more time at the pet store than Target. That says a lot, people.
GET THE KIDS INVOLVED: One of the most helpful things my husband did prior to taking home the pup was purchasing a book about Labs for our kids to read. Our oldest, who is just under 12, spent a lot of evenings reading the first handful of chapters to educate the rest of us. Additionally, we had conversations with each of them about their responsibilities, roles, and expectations as sisters to their fur-baby brother.
YOU WILL LOSE: You will lose. You will lose: shoes, toilet paper, toys, books, food, makeup, clothes, anything that has some sort of fabric. So hide all of your things in closets, pantries, cupboards, drawers, file cabinets, garages, and cars. There is no safe place. But also take this opportunity to clean house and get organized.
TO COUCH, OR NOT TO COUCH: Simply put. Have the conversation ahead of time if you are okay with the dog being on the couch or not. Our dog is on our couch. Right. Now. That's all I have to say.
So, here's where we land. I'm crabby most days, am sleep deprived, I rarely sit down, I'm picking out new flooring for when we've passed the potty training phase, and I cannot stop shopping for dog toys and treats. I'm not sure who I am anymore. BUT. I have come to realize.....I miss him when I'm at work, I love looking in to his eyes and trying to figure out what he's thinking. I love watching him chase the kids and cat. I love following him down the stairs in the morning to the back door to let him out because his legs are still asleep and he's tripping over himself like a drunk. I love the way his butt wiggles like it's detached from the rest of his body when he's excited to see us. I love him. I really really really do.
I love the dog.