My friend just got a new puppy. She’s adorable, seriously bouncy, a bit nippy and struggling with bladder control – the puppy is cute too.
There is nothing like bringing a new dog into your home, be it a puppy or a rescue.
We’ve always had rescue dogs, adopting them when they were just hitting doggy teens, like we didn’t already have enough hormones and door-slamming going on.
I’d wanted a dog as a kid but there was no way that was ever happening. Someone bought me a Spit the dog puppet for a birthday present as compensation. A puppet instead of a puppy, like they’d twigged on that I was dyslexic and were trying to trick me.
Do you remember Spit the dog? Weird 80s bloke with a moustache and a ventriloquist dog. I’ve no real memory of ever watching Spit or yer man-Bob Carolgees. He was on kids’ TV, but it was ITV, and we weren’t allowed to watch that as it was common (and didn’t he wear shorts all the time?). I just Googled and he was sold at auction for £5500 – the man not the dog, but that could be my dyslexia again.
Of course, it was nothing like a real puppy. No crapping and peeing everywhere but the puppy pads, never mind that you’d had taken it out into the garden at 3 am muttering ‘wee-wee’ as it looked up wondering why it’d been woken up.
There was no chewing or nipping. No howling at night, no refusal to walk downstairs – trust me carrying a sheepdog down the stairs while it’s peeing as you’d mistakenly told your other half for were going for a wee is no joke.
Like new parenthood, nothing prepares you for getting a new dog. You think you have it sorted? You’ve read the books, you’ve bought the beds and the toys and the hypoallergenic food that costs more than your own dinner. You’ve watched the YouTube videos and laughed at the one where that bloke’s shouting ‘Fenton’ as the dog tries to herd deer.
You are ready.
Bring it on.
It’s normally the end of day two, certainly day three, definitely by the end of the first week where you will have a moment, looking at your trashed house, the exhausted shell that was once your partner and finally look at the little ball of fur and ask yourself, ‘ What the fuck have I done?’
The picture you had in your mind, of walks on the beach, this cute little dog that comes running, eager to please when you call its name, those dreams are shattered in the dust and dirt that was once your home.
You can not leave this little monster for a minute. My current dog barked every time I sat down. I’m not exaggerating – Every. Single. Time. While I was standing she was happy to explore her new home, snack on books from the shelves, savage the curtains, and destroy Amazon parcels with the ferocity of a lion. As soon as I sat down, she was there barking at me to get back up, be impressed with her brilliance, stand UP and applaud.
She did not sleep. She did not settle. She ran us ragged until we were broken, our lives before a distant memory.
But it doesn’t last forever.
Doggy classes and a daily routine, your life returns not to normal, but to a life with a new family member to think of.
Now, my dog knows not to bother me if the laptop is out and she knows that savaging my knitting is not the easiest way to get my attention. She is well-trained-ish and happy to potter and play. All is calm in our world.
I need to remember this, next time I have a yearning for a cute little puppy, all fluffy and tiny with those adorable big eyes. For that way lies chaos.
‘But look – I wrote about getting a puppy – ooh, it would be so much fun to have another dog, wouldn’t it?’ elbowing husband. ‘Look! Look how cute it is. What do you think?’