So you have done it. You have personally been responsible for keeping a child (or children) alive. That in itself is an amazing feat since just a few years prior you could barely even be held accountable for doing your own laundry. Now your kids are begging and begging (did I mention the constant begging?) for you to get a puppy. Although you may not be thrilled about the idea, puppies are super cute and fluffy and because you have successfully nourished your children for a few years now, you feel as though a puppy would be nothing new, right? Wrong. Puppies can be the single most difficult undertaking that a person can sign up for in their lifetime and I learned that the hard way.
First of all, puppies grow up. When you bring them home that adorable face and tiny body is something that no one can dislike. For the first few days everyone that you know comes to visit your newest family member and offers tips and suggestions on raising them. They pose for pictures and talk about how adorable the puppy is. The problem with that is that they all go back home, leaving you with this biting, chewing animal that uses your living room carpet as their own personal toilet. You try to keep up on remembering to let them outside to relieve themselves, but since the two screaming toddlers in the house are the first priority, the puppy soon learns that pooping on the floor is a much quicker option.
Teething. You think that your surviving the teething months with your baby was difficult, trying going through it with a new puppy. You can go to the local pet store and purchase every chew toy available and the puppy will still decide that your favorite shoes or even the furniture more suit his teething needs. During this period I actually considered pulling the puppy teeth out myself for a quicker fix, but chose to endure through the torture. My dining room walls paid the price and now bear the teeth marks of our newest addition, Easton.
Potty training. No matter how diligent you are at housebreaking, there is always going to be an accident. I figured that since I raised three children out of diapers, breaking a puppy from using my house as a toilet would be nothing new. Wrong. Babies can’t run while they are young. They may poop in their pants, causing the whole house to smell worse than a sewage plant, but at least it is contained to one area. Puppies not only poop several times a day, they are sneaky about it, choosing to leave their droppings behind furniture, or even my own personal favorite, in my bed. For this reason, I recommend closing all doors in the house until the dog is fully trained.
Getting help. Remember back to when I said that the kids were begging for a puppy in the house? Well these are the very same children that will be bored with the dog quicker than you can imagine. They may offer to take the puppy out one morning, but as soon as their favorite cartoon comes on the television the dog is completely forgotten and is your sole responsibility, along with all of the other house chores.
Alone time. Ever thought that you could never get a single second of alone time? Add a puppy into the mix and I can guarantee that even that idea will be diminished instantly. Now when you try to use the bathroom you will not only have at least two of your three children in the room, but will also be in the company of your new puppy, who will probably be chewing on the shower curtain. There is just nothing like trying to use the toilet, yell at the dog and keep your toddler’s hands out of the linen closet at the same time.
Stick it out. With all of these things said, if you have already brought the puppy home, then congratulations, you are committed. Although the hardest task that you will ever take on, puppy rearing also has its advantages too. When your kids begin to get older and talk back, you will have a four legged companion that is always on your side. The hard puppy stage is temporary and there is nothing that I hate more than people that give up. This puppy now thinks that you are its mom. You have cleaned up messes and filled bowls of food. You have provided shelter and a warm bed.
Pat yourself on the back, you are now not only a mother to humans but also to a four legged baby that will be a friend for life.