Our WFH weeks turned into months with zero plans to return to the office. The time was right for us to add a puppy to our lives. We’d raised three Kids to reasonable Humans, so how hard could it be?
Like a lot of other potential puppy Parents in this COVID time, we found all shelters were empty with waiting lists. All Breeders located within four states were sold out until late 2021. Terminally impatient, we searched the web and found a Puppy Locater Service and selected our pup solely by picture. Naturally, he was in Detroit, far from our California home. We readied ourselves by reading the books and blogs, bought enough stuff to set up our own pet store. When it was go-time, getting him home involved a lot of communication shenanigans, some fear of being scammed plus the cashing in of miles to finally (and COVID-safely) collect our little wiggly bundle. We were first time puppy owners, just like that. And it was not the same as raising Kids.
One: Name. The Breeder named him Hamilton. Hamilton’s name suited his picture and we found it a nice homage to the Play which we enjoyed immensely. Hamilton is also a burg outside of Detroit, hmmm. Our middle daughter remained nameless until it was time to sign the birth certificate whilst we bickered over two potential names. I won. Advantage: Pup
Two: Meet the Parents. The Puppy books and blogs recommend that you extensively research the Breeder and somehow interview the pup parents (how is that is even possible?). Well, heck, my Kids didn’t get to make any determinations about us before they arrived and they’re practically perfect. This one is neutral
Three: Illnesses. Try searching “puppy diarrhea” on Google at 10pm and remaining calm. After reading all the horror (Hamilton slept peacefully after making a total mess of his pee-pee spot), I found myself at 5am buying organic chicken breasts and white rice, nearly screaming with panic during what turns out to be a COVID canned pumpkin shortage. Kid and puppy diarrhea cures are the same, as is the (unfortunate) inspection of poop. Thank goodness there was no internet when my Kids were little, I would have been one of those berserk zombie Moms forever banned from my beloved Pediatrician’s helpful office. Advantage: Pup
Four: Scars. Three Kids, three sets of stretch marks. Why couldn’t they share? The puppy teeth eventually fell out, my hands, arms and ankles healed. I got two new pairs of flip flops for the one destroyed, only the bank account was scarred (not sure this counts). Advantage: Pup
Five: Training. Hamilton arrived being able to stand, sit, stay, lay down, pee and poop. We just had to tell him when to do it and remind him. Frequently. Remember crossing a busy intersection with a “I do it myself” toddler? Or (shudder) “inspecting” every bathroom at the mall before wipes were invented? Advantage: Pup
Six: Activity. Babies arrive sleepy and cuddly then suddenly there are Millions.Of.Things…homework and jerseys left on the counter and plays to attend and tournaments and chargers to be UPS’d to dorm rooms and you feel like you are spinning on your axis and the pile of papers on the counter (that you will “get to”) are higher than the counter and sleep is totally overrated. Puppies sleep sixteen to twenty hours a day, and whirl briefly in between….you get to stop and smell the flowers, even if it’s the same flowers on the same walk every day and you actually eat or pee on them too. Then you take a nap. Advantage: Pup
It’s been worth it, every minute, both with the Kids and Hamilton. I smile as Hamilton walks ahead of us, head up proudly, tail and butt swaggering in opposite directions. His happiness is contagious, our lives have slowed down to meet the wonder in his everyday routine. Yes, we absolutely spoil him with treats and toys. The Kids roll their eyes, sure that they were not treated this well. They were. Wait until the Grandkids arrive.