It’s been one month and three days since we brought this rascal home…but who’s counting!? In one month he has gained ten pounds, explored every inch of our backyard, and devoured a three foot long jerky treat, several snails and two large grubs. He’s already starting to retrieve balls, frisbees and sticks and is learning how to sit, stay and come. He’s a real character too…he barrels across the backyard after a ball, rolling head over heels, when he gets to it. He sleeps on his back, legs splayed, in front of the fan. And he yields a hearty laugh from his six-year old human while they play in the backyard.
But, I would be spinning a yarn if I acted like this change has been a walk in the park. It has been five years since we had a furry friend in our home and I bucked the idea of having another one join our family for a very long time. I knew I had only so much capacity in my life for chaos and that was now being filled by my kid. There was a reason why we chose to have just one kiddo…cause this mama likes order and predictability…and it turns out, she’s not a very good multi-tasker. So I knew, deep down, that adding another being to the mix would stretch me in some very uncomfortable ways. But you can only deny those puppy dog eyes from the hubby AND the kid for so long. I finally came around to the idea, but with some stipulations.
- I wanted a puppy who would see my son’s mach-3 energy level as normal. An adult dog might not be so forgiving of my rambunctious six year old…but a puppy would just fall in line with it.
- I wanted a boy. We had two girls before and there’s a reason why they call girl dogs “bitches.” I was hopeful that a male dog would mean a little less drama.
- I wanted to have a few months on my own with the pup before school was out for the summer. This way I could find my groove with him and hopefully get us past the potty training stage.
- I wanted to be able to anticipate his homecoming. We put down a deposit for him two days after he was born…which gave me eight weeks to warm up to this change.
And all of these still hold some level of legitimate, thoughtful planning. However, several have backfired on me. Not only has our pup, Ace, fallen in line with our crazy six year old son, but he has also upped the ante. Turns out he believes my kid is one of his litter mates and will nip and wrestle with him non-stop. My son enjoys this about 98% of the time. The other 2% of the time is spent crying and yelling to stop the insane play. The ownness for this maddening behavior does not fall on the dog alone. My son is the king of mixed messages right now, giggling and squealing while also screaming at deafening levels to “make it stop!” It’s tons of fun. *smirk*
Let me tell you, this new pup is a real mama’s boy. He is the definition of sidekick right now and is on my heels all. Day. Long. And don’t even think about putting him in the baby play yard when you need a break, especially if you plan to be in his line of sight at all. When the breeder told us that “he loves his people,” I should have known that particular feel-good sentiment would actually be a neediness that can be maddening to this introvert. And let me just say that this dog has a real stubborn streak too. I think it’s rather ironic that a synonym for stubborn is dogged…teehee. The first time I raised my voice at him, he barked back.
We didn’t have a single potty accident during his first weekend home. Turns out we were on a honeymoon of sorts. I proudly announced this to my dad and not one hour later, he squatted right in the middle of the kitchen, and it hasn’t stopped since. I would say, one month into this adventure, that we’re about 75% potty trained. He’s notorious for going out in the backyard, getting distracted and then coming back in and hunching just seconds later. Since his homecoming, we have removed all rugs, gone through about thirty rolls of paper towels, and no longer have an endless supply of plastic shopping bags because it’s a literal shit-show around here. I’ve lost count of how many times he has piddled in the corner while I have been cleaning up a deuce. I calmly reprimand and then take him outside, where I follow him around like a ninny, chanting, “go potty…go potty…go potty.” Then the wind blows, a bird sings, or a squirrel scampers across the fence…and all concentration is lost for the task at hand. We head back inside and the cycle continues.
If any of my stipulations for this dog have come to fruition, it’s that I had ample time to wrap my head around the changes to come. During that time, I doted over his pictures. I nested at home…preparing his crate and buying all manner of dog accoutrement. I mean, for Pete’s sake, I even washed my son’s old swaddling blankets for the new pup! And I might have even read a chapter or two about puppy care…something I didn’t even do when preparing for my human baby! I admit, in my mind, there was a level of bittersweet realization happening too. I knew, as soon as he arrived, that my days of being alone during school hours would soon be over. I would no longer be able to sit at the coffee shop, reading and writing, for hours on end. And as silly as it sounds, I grieved over the fact that my undivided attention my six year old was accustomed to would now be shared with his “new brother.” Life would change…but I had ample time to brace myself for it.
Thirty plus days in and I find myself falling in love with his sweet, little ways. Like how he can be starving in the morning, but will take the time to greet me before scarfing down his food. Like how he proudly runs around the backyard with his hula hoop. Like how I find sticks in my purse and carry a supply of plastic baggies for those ‘just in case’ moments. He’s an addition that I can get used to having around. An addition that could be with our family long after my son goes off to college. Someday we will long forget his wild puppy days and instead enjoy the fact that we have a very loyal companion.
As my son often says with a grin, “you’re outnumbered now mommy!”…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.