So, we got a puppy. Everyone said I was crazy, but I knew better. I’d been thinking about a dog for a long time. It is no secret that I love animals. If I could move to the middle of nowhere with my family and have a bunch of land and rescue animals as a living, I would do it in a heartbeat. I’ve always had cats because let’s face it–cats are WAY easier than dogs. But whenever anyone would label me as a “cat person”, I would always stress that I was an animal lover. Equally. Dogs and cats. Living together in anarchy. Totally.
Unfortunately, anarchy is sort of what has unfolded in our household. On the plus side, the puppy and the cats get along almost better than I hoped. I’m a little disappointed that the “alpha” cat hasn’t taken more of a shine to the puppy and engaged in play and/or cuddling. At best, he sort of sits on high and taunts the puppy with his existence. I’m still hoping he’ll come around. The other cat is surprisingly brave around the puppy and the puppy has heretofore given her a wider berth and more tentative handling although he is growing more bold daily. The real surprise has been the boys’ and, to a lesser degree, my own reaction to having a boisterous puppy in the house.
A boy and his dog. Isn’t that the idyllic picture? Who wouldn’t want to grow up to have a faithful companion by their side. But I think having grown up with cats up until now the energy of a puppy was a little unexpected to the boys. In my mind it was a perfect match– two high-energy boys with a high-energy puppy wearing each other out with fun and frolic each day…lots of fresh air and exercise…what could be better?? Um. Lots of things.
For starters, my boys like to do things on THEIR time. Not puppy time. They would like to watch some TV and laze around on Saturday morning whereas puppy is up and raring to go. And playing with him while watching TV doesn’t seem to be an option. Second, this puppy is big and getting bigger. He is hard for them to control. And nippy. OK, he flat out bit me pretty good and now I am constantly vigilant about how we are playing with him. No tug-of-war because it makes him crazed and growl-y, only fetch. “But that’s boring!”, I hear. Unwittingly, I have introduced another whole set of rules for the boys to follow when they weren’t crazy about the ones they already had to follow (and selectively do). This has caused more stress than I was bargaining for.
Which leads to the very natural question of, “What the hell were you expecting bringing a puppy into your home?” Right. I’m an idiot. I had two funny answers that I was giving everyone at first. One was that things were getting a little too calm in my life so I needed to shake things up with a puppy. The other was that since it was clear I wasn’t going to have another child, a puppy was the next best thing. Sadly, both of these reasons actually were part of my motivation, but maybe not exactly in the right way.
For the first, it wasn’t so much that I wasn’t enjoying the even keel that my life had taken for a short time and that I needed something to spice up my life, but I thought that since things were going so well that it was a good time to introduce another responsibility. However, when I analyze it, and myself, I start to wonder…am I really just so used to the utter chaos that my life has become that when things become balance I look for a way to throw it out of whack? Lord, I hope that isn’t true.
As for having another child, don’t let people tell you having a dog is like having a child. It is MORE like having a child than having, say, a cat, but it is still not nearly as difficult. On the other hand, your baby probably isn’t going to bite you if you take away the piece of garbage she is gnawing on. Yes, I was waking up in the middle of the night to take the puppy out and still have to do that sometimes. Yes, they need constant attention. BUT, I can stick the puppy in the crate and go food shopping and all is well. And I knew all of this. I also knew that puppies and dogs are pure love at the core. And I’ve got love to give. Who better to bestow this love upon than a sweet, loyal hound? I would love to love a baby, but that ain’t happening. And while I know as this puppy grows and our bond grows, that the unconditional love will surely grow too, I also know he will never take the place of the baby that I didn’t even realize I truly wanted and probably will never have. But that is for another post.
And so here we are. One big, happy, chaotic family. Upon examination, I guess this puppy has come into my life to teach me not to be so proud. To re-teach me some patience because Lord knows I have lost that along the way. To keep me (and the boys) from getting lazy. To help me love more without expecting anything in return. To lighten up a bit and have some laughs. And to enjoy my imperfect, happy, topsy-turvy life for what it is and not look for anything else to change it.