No one ever exactly wakes up one morning and thinks to themselves, Gee, today I think I want to bring a shoe-eating, yard-digging, cat-chasing, cord-chewing creature into my home! Yes, won’t that be grand!
The day I adopted Reux, a then 4-month-old border collie lab mix, I knew that a lot of work would await me down the road. I was fully aware that bringing a puppy into my life wouldn’t exactly be filled with the endless frolics in green, grassy fields that dog food commercials on TV always portray. But, I’d
always grown up with family dogs and felt like I was educated enough on proper training theory that I would easily be able to handle a 30 lb. puppy. How hard could it be, really?
The truth is that raising a puppy is very hard, somewhere between trying to put a left shoe on a right foot while being tickled to death by a 4th grader and trying to run a marathon with your shoe laces tied together. It’s a tough task, and I can see why so many puppies end up back at shelters after so little time.
I also see why newlyweds first try their hand at raising a puppy together before moving to the big leagues with a human child. It’s much easier to raise an animal with a partner, a team member who can run home to let the puppy out of his kennel when you have to stay late at work, or who can get up early in the mornings to feed him and take him for a walk so you can enjoy an extra 30 minutes of sleep. Having someone else around to share the duties can make puppy-raising a far more enjoyable experience for both you and the puppy.
I am a single puppy mom. I get up early to feed Reux, come home during lunch breaks to let him out of his kennel, go straight home after work to take him for a walk, say no to late nights out at the bars with friends, and often find myself to be the only single parent at puppy class.
But despite this, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. Amid cleaning up puppy puke, puppy poop, and puppy pawprints, I remember to smile. Life with a puppy is much better than life without one. In the long run, I don’t mind the muddy paws and dog hair – it adds the flavor to my life.
My name is Kate Spencer, and each Thursday I’ll be bringing you musings from the life of a single pet parent. You’ll read a lot about my cat, Fez, and my puppy, Reux, and my struggles to be a good pet parent to them both.