I spent much of last week on the verge of tears, my chest heavy with anxiety. I kept wondering, with every jump on the furniture, every puddle of pee I had to clean up, Did we make the right decision? Puppies, it seems, are a lot of work. There’s a lot of yelling and training and making sure that she gets outside before she makes whatever corner she happens to be in her new bathroom. And it’s been exhausting, both mentally and emotionally. Wes definitely came home to me crying two nights and when I brought her to the vet for her check-up they remarked that I looked like a new mom.
The problem hasn’t so much been Tsunami, but with me. I thought I would handle this completely differently. I thought that I would love her instantly and love this step that Wes and I were taking. I thought I was ready to have a puppy who basically has no control over anything, including her limbs most of the time. Instead, I was a mess. I resented her for taking up so much (all) of my day. I had an excuse to stay at home all day, but I couldn’t spend it in bed or on the couch reading or checking blogs. I had to make sure that Tsunami was fed and played with and not ruining every piece of furniture we own.
Part of it is that, in Hawaii, puppies aren’t allowed outside until they have all of their shots, which means we still have two months before we can take her to the park and play fetch with her, or we can go running together. She can’t do anything but sleep, pee and poop, eat and play a type of fetch (we’re still working on the drop part, but she’s getting better). She is just 9 weeks old yesterday and she’s always underfoot. The first day home alone with her Wes offered to make dinner to give me a break, but I quickly learned that it wasn’t a break for me as I still had to entertain the puppy. So lately I’ve taken to letting him entertain her while I relax by cooking dinner. And it helps. I go out for longer hours during the day, both so that I can get some time away from her and so that she can get used to being in the kennel and realizing that it’s not a punishment to be in there. I take naps and go to the store and Friday I even made it back to the gym.
But I still feel a bit inadequate. My friend Ashley has a dog and got an 8-week old puppy over Christmas and our reactions to these small creatures are radically different. Now at 16(ish) weeks, her dog is still peeing on the floors and even managed to ruin the heel to one of her shoes, but instead of becoming frustrated and crying and wondering if getting a puppy was a good idea, she just brushed it off as another thing that puppies do. Put in the same situation I would definitely be crying. I’m having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, even though I know there is one out there.
Already we’ve taught her to sit and stay. We’re working on getting her to know where her bathroom is and as I write this, Wes is trying to get her to understand the game of fetch. She is a good puppy, but she’s still a puppy. She loves to fall asleep in our laps and we give in for a few moments before transferring her to her mat because she’s just so cute and it won’t be too long before she’s too big to curl up in our laps. She thinks Wes is pretty tasty and has taken to the throw blankets we leave on the couch. She runs around a lot and gets thirsty and when she drinks drips water all over the kitchen. She’s afraid of the broom, but not the vacuum. She’s only 10 pounds 2 ounces, on her way to close to 50 pounds.
I will probably continue to have moments of anxiety and wonder what the hell we were thinking by getting a dog. Why we would tie ourselves down with a pet while living in Hawaii. But then she’ll look at us with her puppy-dog eyes, or we’ll spend a day at the dog park or on a hike and it will no longer feel like she’s something that’s holding us back. Soon enough she’ll be something propelling us forward.