The day Meat-And-Potatoes-Guy and I picked up puppy Calvin (he was 8 weeks old and weighed in at a heartbreakingly miniature 4 pounds), we felt prepared.
We’d had our yard completely fenced in. We’d bought the dog food, the crate, the chew toys. We thought we’d thought of everything.
About one week in, we realized there was a lot we hadn’t considered.
Now that Calvin is eight months, I thought some readers may appreciate learning from some of the little surprises Calvin has thrown our way:
1.) You’ll Be The Shadow
I thought it was the puppy that was the loyal shadow, trotting faithfully at your feet as you move from room to room.
Doesn’t quite work that way.
Here’s why: during the course of the two minutes you turn your attention to making a phone call or fixing a snack, your puppy has time to knock over a houseplant, rip a pillow to pieces, and have an accident in the hallway.
Until puppy is fully housebroken (which can take several weeks, by the way) count on becoming his 24/7 devoted shadow.
2.) You’ll Be Gifted With Plenty of Fresh Air…
If you spend the majority of your day glued to one type of screen or another, be prepared for a minor life change when you get a puppy. Because in addition to 20+ outdoor trips per day during housebreaking, puppy has a few hours worth of boundless energy to burn daily.
This is actually wonderful when the puppy is your reason for getting outside for a walk on beautiful, crisp, early fall afternoon.
Not so great when it’s 10:30 pm, cold, raining, and you’re just waiting for him to go to the bathroom please so everyone can go to bed.
3.) …As Well As Plenty of Guilt
I no longer remember the feeling of stepping outside my door without a slight pang of guilt.
Because a sweet puppy with sad puppy dog eyes is clearly not happy to be left behind.
Chris and I used to stay in the city for dinner after work once in a while.
Those days are long gone.
We now hurry home every day because we know Calvin has been cooped up inside and he needs company and time to get outside and play.
4.) You’ll Become A Vacuuming Pro
Take the time you currently spend cleaning and multiply that by 5 to anticipate your new life with a dog. Because not only do they shed like crazy, they also have a knack for redistributing the dust and dirt from their paws and coat all over your floors and furniture.
Accept that, along with your dog, your vacuum will be your other new best friend.
5.) You’ll Spend a Small Fortune
Chris and I never intended to spend a small fortune on a dog, but it definitely happened to us.
Here’s how: toys, replacement toys for the ones he chewed apart, and replacement toys for those too, vet bills, obedience classes, dog bed, second dog bed to replace the one he chewed, dog walker for days we’re at work, fence to keep him in the yard, baby gates to keep him out of the living and dining rooms, dog groomer to trim his nails…
…and that’s just part of the list. It all adds up very quickly.
6.) You’ll Laugh Out Loud – Often
A typical evening scene in our rec room these days: Calvin becomes overtired and, instead of laying down for a nap, he “snaps” and starts sprinting around the living room at full tilt, literally bouncing off the back of the couch, ears pressed flat out behind him with the speed.
The show he puts on is more entertaining than anything on TV.
The other day, he grabbed a shoe box and went prancing off, head in the air like he’d just been crowned king. Then the box flapped up, covering his eyes, causing him to stumble, almost fall, and careen full-speed into the couch (he was okay).
If you need more laughter in your life, I’m convinced a puppy is your best cure.
Because Calvin’s antics have kept Chris and I cracking up daily since the day we brought him home.
7.) You’ll Realize You’d Do It All Over Again
I may be exhausted from a day of cleaning (please see #4 above) and in need of a shower from an afternoon of throwing tennis balls and sticks (see #2).
And then Calvin will look up at me with his big beautiful eyes and I’ll scoop him up and feel his little heartbeat, his soft warm ears tickling my face.
And I remember that there’s not much better than the feeling of your heart completely melting.
Would I do it all over again if I knew everything then that I know now?
And A Bonus #8: You’ll Find Yourself In The Kitchen, Spoiling Your Puppy Rotten With Homemade Pumpkin Dog Treats
This recipe for homemade dog treats, with healthy pumpkin, may come in handy when you completely cave to big puppy dog eyes.
(Yes, these are Calvin approved – he loves these!)
Here is the complete printable recipe:
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Yield: 25 small treats
- 4 tablespoons 100% pure pumpkin purée
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (or rye flour or brown rice flour)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Knead dough on a well-floured surface and, with a floured rolling pin, roll out to about one quarter inch thick.
- Cut treats with a cookie cutter and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until treats are firm to the touch.
- Before freezing or storing, allow cookies to cool and harden, about 50 minutes.
Always consult your veterinarian before introducing any new ingredients into your pet’s diet.