Let me just put this out there: I am not an animal person. Sure, I like animals, I’m not s serial killer. I just have never loved animals or understood people’s deep, extreme (sometimes annoying), undying love for their…pets.
I’ve drafted a few blog posts that contain bold statements like: A a pet is a pet. You leave it at home, feed it, water it, clean up after it. Pets are not kids, not even close. Pets are a decade (maybe a little more) commitment. Such posts never came to be out of fear of being attacked by members of the “pets are my kids” community.
Well, then we got a dang puppy.
This puppy was always going to happen. Last fall, I mentioned to my husband that maybe we should adopt a puppy. We looked around and by Christmas, there were no puppies. So we let the idea go and decided to wait until we bought a house and had a little more room (and a backyard.)
A little background: I had one dog growing up. We got Crystal for Christmas when I was 4 and she died my freshman year of college. My parents weren’t dog people, I wasn’t dog person. My husband on the other hand, grew up a dog person. They always had dogs, bred dogs and they are just dog people (the same kind of dog people I never understood).
So when we had this idea of a puppy, it was going to be my husband’s puppy. He was the dog person. I would, of course, take part in the picking and upbringing of the pooch, but I was NOT going to be it’s person.
Then we got this dang puppy.
This puppy came about one morning in April. Just your typical April morning during a pandemic…during a Stay at Home Order. You know, the type of morning where all rational decisions are made. So, after nearly a month of being locked inside our 1200 square foot condo, with our two kids under 5 and my now work-from-home husband, the puppy sounded like a great idea.
Also, our 3 year-old had been dragging around a stuffed Pluto on a leash for a few weeks and feeding it. It was sad to watch a little boy care for an old, beat up stuffy. The boy needed a real dog!
I searched on Craigslist. Sent a few “Is he still available” inquiries. I got one response from a nice lady in Litchfield Park, Arizona. She had 4 Aussiedoodle pups ready for homes. I kid you not, within an hour we were packed in the car on the way to meet her in a Fry’s parking lot. I did spend about 20 minutes on the phone with her asking and answering a ton of questions; we weren’t totally negligent.
She asked me which one I wanted and I said “the calmest one.”
I know myself and well, I have a low tolerance for hyper. I also have (spoiler alert: had) a low tolerance for messes, dirt, licks, dogs in my bed and dog hair everywhere.
When we got there we were greeted by a kind lady (not a serial killer like my true crime junkie self was imagining) and she had our new puppy baby in the backseat of her car. She told me to grab him (hindsight is 20/20, definitely do not lean into a stranger’s back seat to get a puppy – duh. But like I said, she didn’t give off serial killer vibes and my husband was right there) and OMG, that little flufferball of love turned my hardened, not a dog lover heart to an instant dog lover.
On the way home I drove and nearly crashed the car a few times trying to pet our new little guy. My husband pre-planned out that if I drove, he would get to hold him all the way home (see, he’s a dog person.) The kids were a little apprehensive, but they would eventually warm up to him.
We thought we had a name picked out. You see, I lost a bet to my husband years ago and the name of our first dog was on the line. He was ready to finally collect and fully armed with the little moniker, Chalupa Batman. Yep, CHALUPA FREAKING BATMAN. My superhero-obsessed son was totally on board. My princess-obsessed daughter had already lost interest because we were getting boy dog and there were “no boy princesses.”
After some time and some heavy input by the 3 year old, we settled on “Thor the Hulk.” I wanted a solid name like Charlie or Frank , but apparently losers of years-old bets don’t get input.I didn’t put up too much of a fight, though…it wasn’t my dog remember?
Within approximately 15 seconds of getting home, the puppy started following me around. Cute. He has good taste.
Then I made the mistake of feeding him.
Then I made the mistake of taking him out every hour.
Then I made the mistake of feeding him again.
Then I made the mistake of snuggling him.
Then I made the mistake of letting him sleep in our bed. Right next to me.
Now I have a dog.
It’s mine. I won’t even try to convince you otherwise. He’s mine.
…and I love him.
It’s taken me some time, but a little dog hair doesn’t bother me much anymore. I have lint roller and a nice vacuum for that. The dirt? No backyard = no dirt. The messes? Now that he’s house trained, there really isn’t much mess to clean up. The dog in my bed? Still there. Still right next to me. We had every intention of crate training him during the night, but who can refuse all night long puppy snuggles? Not this girl! And the licks? Still bother me. I can honestly say I’ll never be okay with a dog licking me. He licks his…everything and I’m definitely not interested in being that close. But a few stern “no licks” and he doesn’t lick me. Amazing.
I am a changed woman…kind of. I still don’t love other people’s dogs and I definitely wouldn’t consider him a kid. But, he is a member of this family and lives a pretty good life. He’s very calm and loves a good snuggle. He really is a good boy. No, he’s the best boy.
If you’re on the fence about getting a dog, I vote do it. YOLO. What do you have to lose? I am 100% fully aware dogs are a huge responsibility, but if you can manage to keep a few kids alive, I’d say you’re pretty prepared for a dog in your life.
…and the little boy whose parents decided he so desperately needed a puppy? Well, he tells us regularly that he “didn’t want a real dog and only likes fake dogs.” So I guess you could say he is definitely my kid and do not get a dog for a 3 year-old.