Having a new puppy is very much like welcoming a new baby. There is a great deal of excitement as the time for the date approaches. Do we have what we need? Bed…. dishes…. food…. treats…. what should we name the new arrival?? Finally, the day comes when you bring your new family member home. Then it’s all smiles and cuddles and chuckles until the dog settles in.
Larry and I brought Maddie (half Yorkie, half Chihuahua) home about a month ago. Her first couple of days she stayed cuddled on my lap, looking up at me with those big, liquid, puppy eyes. What a piece of cake, I thought. This dog is peaceful by nature, quiet as a mouse, and she sleeps a lot. What more could I ask of an eight-week-old creature?
Fast forward one month.
Our originally-pretty-but-now-ugly baby gate, woven with fabric and duct tape and zip ties, still won’t contain the hound as she runs through the house as if her closely bobbed tail were on fire. We’ve become programmed to take her out to the same spot every hour in the hope she’ll pick up her own scent and realize this is THE spot to do her business. Unfortunately, the spot she has adopted for this purpose is immediately in front of our dishwasher.
After much discussion, we are still convinced it’s best to crate train our new housemate and, uncharacteristically, we’ve managed to stick to that. (Usually by this time in our relationship the puppy is taking up more than his/her share of our king-sized bed.) Every night we tuck her into her kennel, where she vocalizes into the wee hours. For a month now she has sung the song of her people, howling for the mistreatment of puppies everywhere, all night long.
Today my normal routine consists of getting up around five, grabbing a cup of coffee and rescuing Maddie from the crate. The moment she’s free of the cage she goes into a deep sleep, so the next couple of hours till dawn I sit with her in my lap trying to make my coffee last and wishing I’d grabbed the remote before settling in. If I move now she will wake up, I’ll have to take her out and risk having her slip her harness and disappear into the darkness. And so, I sit nursing a half cup of cold coffee, trying not to disturb the sleeping puppy, while struggling to reach a magazine on the floor with my toes. Just. One. More. Inch. Darn!!
I keep telling myself we’re only a month into this new living arrangement. One positive is that she will get older and with that will come some form of calm and understanding on her part. One negative is that I, too, am getting older and with that comes a lot less patience and stamina on my part.
She is adorable, and often enjoyable, and always energetic. Just like childbirth you must forget the pain or you’d never do it again, so I will focus on the innocent eyes, the puppy breath and the pitter patter of four little feet. My defense wounds from fighting off her puppy play and sharp puppy teeth will heal. She hasn’t done a lot of damage, but the next time I’m in a department store I’ll need to pick up a new pack of golf socks. For some reason, I have only one each of four different colored pairs left intact.
It’s a big commitment, and just like having a baby, you’re all in or you’re all out. Understanding that, I’ve decided the early morning with her snuggled in my lap is a great time to be quiet and listen to my own thoughts. She’s an addition to our exercise program, because the necessity of frequent trips outside makes both of us move more, and that’s a good thing. Watching her learn about this new world around her makes us laugh, and seeing the trust growing in her eyes gives me a feeling of accomplishment.
As aggravating as it can sometimes be I know it’s time well spent; our little Maddie will be a good family friend for a lot of years. More importantly, if there’s a takeaway from having a puppy it must be this: it’s not what you say, but what you do that makes a difference.
Life is Good