I’ll start this off by saying that I am not a patient person at all. Knowing this to be just who I am, whatever in the world possessed me to get a puppy – I could never explain, but we got one. I know, it was a ridiculous decision after factoring in all of the madness already living within my home. In my own defense, I thought about how cute it would be to have a little fur baby chasing around my four year old and keeping her company. It was a good reason, in my head anyway. I’m always a tad unsure of having animals though. Mainly because I really lack the energy to clean up after ONE MORE living thing. Regardless of this fact, several times per week I receive text messages from my beautiful husband, Chris, that are eerily close in resemblance to the famous SPCA commercial. You know the one. One animal or another with big sad eyes and a cute, dirty face – that make you feel like a total piece of crap as a human being for not having already adopted it? It doesn’t help that Chris has a job that calls for him having to be at other people’s homes and nearly each day there is at least one customer with hordes of animals that they are desperately trying to get rid of. We are in the country, animals multiply quickly here. Possibly the lack of better things to do?? Whatever it is, there’s a ton of them. On top of that, Chris is what I call the animal whisperer. There isn’t one animal that he sees that does not instantly love him or come up to him for love. I’ve seen it and it’s creepy. Case in point, while at work one day – he pulled into a customer’s land that had horses, and as he slowly passed one grazing beside the gate, the horse stuck one leg out and bowed to him. Another week a coyote came right up to him and just sat in front of him watching him work. It’s like he’s there long lost cousin. Each time a customer warns him about how aggressive their dog is, minutes later that same dog is laying in his lap, as the customer stands there in amazement. They love him and it’s odd, but cute.
I told my husband a while back that I would only say yes to getting an animal, if it was a very large breed dog that could serve as protection for our child and the home. Having had one of those little yip-yappity terrier dogs that serve no other purpose than to look adorable, smell god awful, be completely helpless and totally annoying, this was my one demand. You know the kind – where they are a hopeless bundle of nerves and pee every time the doorbell rings, the ones that could truly benefit from an ongoing prescription of doggy Xanax? Yeah, been there done that and I will never go back to it. In my mind I had envisioned the dog for us being one so large that we could strap a saddle on it for our toddler to ride through the neighborhood on, while thumbing her nose at the peasants having to walk or drive pathetic cars and such. Though I truly love large dogs, I do have this hesitation around any animal that is much larger and stronger than I am. Knowing that they could easily rip me apart is a tad unsettling, but also understanding that animals sense fear — I’ve been worried that having such a large animal and being afraid of it, wouldn’t mesh well with me trying to keep it under control.
A couple of days ago my husband sends me a picture of this little puppy, with a look on its face as if to say, “Please kind Sir, take me home.” How could I say no? When he told me that the puppy is part black Labrador, Rottweiler and Boxer – I was pretty much sold. I knew he would grow quickly to be huge and fiercely protective. So I took the bait. I spent all of the next day researching the best food for him to have, and ran around town trying to find said food and everything else he was going to need. I moved furniture around to make room for a nice comfy bed for him and fixed it up with toys and blankets to lay on. My girls and I were excited all day to finally have our newest addition, home with us. We even chose a name for him, Hercules. My toddler said, he needed a “big name,” and I agreed with that statement. Later, the owners came to the door with the sweetest fur ball I had ever seen. Almost solid black with some light brown markings and a stout body. He looks all Rottweiler, but with the snout of a Labrador. Hercules was so calm and easy going. He didn’t whine or bark and wasn’t jumping around. He also looked not to care at all that he was going to a new home without his owners and twelve other dogs. Totally mellow. I thought to myself, maybe this one will be easy. Until about 30 minutes later.
The new pup peed twice in the house between having been taken outside for ten minute potty breaks where he did nothing but lay in the grass, licking himself. When he wasn’t peeing, he was spread out on the floor like a black, throw rug. My toddler made sure to check him a few times and tell me afterwards, “He’s not dead, Mom.” I was glad to hear that. So far, he’s the laziest dog I have ever seen. We literally have to pick him up, take him outside and sit him on the ground in order for him to go. All I kept envisioning was Yellow Dog on the movie Funny Farm with Chevy Chase. This one was certainly guaranteed not to run away! Or run anywhere for that matter.
Mind you, I got this dog as a companion for my toddler, but from the moment he came into the house, he became mine. He followed me everywhere, cried when he couldn’t see me and wagged his tail in excitement each time he heard my voice. He spent the evening laying directly on me or pressed up against me and when it came time for bed, of course he had to lay with his nose pressed against my skin all night. I figured it wouldn’t hurt too much to let him sleep with us for the first night, but was dead set that after that, he would sleep in his own bed. Otherwise, we would have a hundred pound dog sleeping in bed with us for the rest of our lives. I’ll admit, I was a little perturbed that I couldn’t lay right next to my husband and instead I had to have this puppy with the worst gas I’ve ever smelt coming out him, right between us. That was until I turned on my favorite show and a must have to relax each night, The Golden Girls, and Hercules sat straight up, ears perked and eagerly watched the opening song and credits. It was as if he knew what it was already. It was then that I knew, that this would definitely be my new best friend.
The next day I set up a nice area to begin training him to be house broken and calm when I am not in his sight. I read countless articles on how to house train/crate train a puppy and made a schedule for his feedings, potty and play breaks. All of the sudden I could visually see in writing, how much more enthralled my life would be. As if it wasn’t hard enough to find any spare time between the kids, husband and chores – Now I have a puppy, who to me is the equivalent of a new born baby. I just made my life that much harder. All because I couldn’t say no to a couple of sullen brown eyes. It’s not the first time that I couldn’t, either. My husband and children are walking proof of that!
Night one of the crate training was eventful to say the least and night two was a step better, but we’re getting there. He’s learning to listen to my commands, almost as well as my kids. Which isn’t saying much, but that’s another story. I spent most of the first night either trying to ignore his whines to be let out of his cage after he had already gone potty a few times outside, and intermittently trying to convince him to quiet down before he woke up the entire house. Eventually, it worked! He went to sleep and stayed asleep until late in the morning when my other two kids woke up. Today, as I stood out in the hot sun explaining to this nine week old puppy that the grass was for pooing and peeing and that we were not going inside until he did at least one of those, it clicked that I have officially gone mad. Here he was staring at me like he knew not of what I was talking about and just desperately wanted to go inside and I in turn stared at him thinking, why won’t you just pee so we can go inside?! I’m not sure where the middle ground here is. One of us has to give and being that I have been potty-trained for quite some time now and know that it is in fact possible, it’s not going to be me. Then my father called me last night to tell me how terrible of an idea it was for me to get a dog, how he will attack me and the family and wind up being the alpha in the house and untrainable. He also went on to say how I will never be able to leave the house at will anymore. Now I understand where my fear of large animals comes from. Thanks Dad! I had to take some of his advice with a grain of salt, because my Dad is so worried about his two indoor cats that he will not leave his home for more than a couple of hours at a time for fear that they will crumble into nothingness if he is not there to show them where their water and food dishes are or empty the litter box. He has even taken to installing cameras all over the house so that he can check up on what he sees to be as two utterly hopeless animals, throughout the day. With him, I have to learn what advice is coming from knowledge and which is coming from fear. Animals do have a primal instinct to survive and when their caretaker is away, they typically do.
Who knows, maybe we are on the road to having a trusty new housemate or maybe we are on the road to total pandemonium. Only time will tell!! I hope everyone else is having a much more exciting weekend than I am, watching a dog poop and telling him how great of a job he did. Ironically enough, now I just miss the time where I only had the house and kids to take care of. Aw, those were the days. A simpler time, where all was normal. Then again, the grass is always greener on the other side. Mine should be getting a lot greener as soon as this pup has done his business in every corner of the yard! 🙂