I have never really been the Valentine’s type of girl – until my husband. He enjoys celebrating little events like that. Lately, he’s been hinting how he has been wanting a puppy. With some convincing, we decided to move forward with adopting a rescue furbaby. Luckily, everything went smoothly and we brought home our new, little bundle of joy. Being a military wife means having to say goodbye to my hubby every few weeks for several months so I have the lovely task of training our little furry girl.
We decided to name our three month puppy Potato. We were told she is an Australian cattle mix but because her ears are still floppy, we believe she may be an Australian Shepherd mix instead. Either way, she is as adorable as she is a lot of work. We fell in love with her instantly and want the best for her. A few days later after bringing her home, my husband left for a few months. Suddenly, there I was: alone with the Potato. I was in charge of her health, well being, house training, mind stimulation, and 24/7 TLC. In only three weeks, I have learned a lot about caring for a puppy: the good, the bad, and the gross.
- You can just throw your mop away. You won’t need it.
Because we have two bedrooms with wall to wall carpeting, we must keep Potato in our living room. Her day crate and toys live in the living room so I spend the most time with her there. Living in the Boston area this winter means we are bringing in salt, water and snow into our homes. When we come in from walks, I have the courtesy of taking my boots off at the entrance while Potato runs in and leaves her little pitter patters of paw prints all over our kitchen and living room.
- Goodbye Privacy, I barely knew thee.
Potato is very clingy and doesn’t approve of being left alone. With that said, sometimes, I will let her be in our bathroom while I shower. What does she like to do when she’s locked in there with me? Judge me. She pokes her head in the shower and judges me. I answer Mother Nature’s call, Potato judges me. There is no such thing as boundaries with her; everything I do must involve her.
- My hands no longer belong to me.
Chew toys, tongs, and treat giver. Those are the items Potato thinks are attached at the end of my arms. She is now four months so nipping is still an issue I am working on… every day. Whenever I put my hands in my pockets, she immediately sits and anxiously waits for a treat that I may or may not magically possess. I also find myself shoving my hands in her mouth to pick out whatever garbage, dirt, or small parts of her toys she managed to chew off. I’m not sure if she enjoys this or not because she just rolls on her back and lets it happen. Attempted suicide? Or a cry for attention?
- My toes and ankles resemble cattle.
Potato seems to believe I am some sort of mutated form of a cow. Now, this is not her fault, it is in her nature to herd cattle. If she is in one of her hyper fits, she enjoys chasing my toes and ankles and herds me to where she feels fit. If I disobey her action, she thinks playfully barking will help me submit. This 15 pound meatloaf tries her best to herd her cattle.
- I constantly have to save her life.
Confidence does not begin to describe this little puppy. She is a 15 year old high school girl. This means, she was me when I was 15. In other words, defiant, brave, mind of her own, and everything mom says or does, is wrong. I have left her alone about three time and in those 5-10 minutes, I had caught her chewing through my sound machine charger, chewing through the cable to the living room lamp, and finally, her last proud accomplishment, she had disconnected a bedroom lamp and was chowing down on the cable.
- I am, in no way, ready for children.
I am not saying animals are like children (although, I am. I totally am.) but the comparisons are really, really, extremely close. I have a set schedule for her potty time and feeding time. I have to constantly watch her so she doesn’t choke and die on something, I have to set guidelines for her, disciplining her is a painful process that makes me feel guilty when she whines. I am completely aware of having children is much, much harder by 100% but what you have to understand is this is my first puppy. I do not have my parents to help me raise her to become a proper dog for society. With my husband gone for months, all the responsibilities are on me. Thankfully, a dog cannot throw SCREAMING tantrums but she can still be silently hurt and need medical assistance. A puppy is enough for me. I can wait for children.
- She is great company.
With my husband being underway for months, family being states away, and no real friends in a new, unfamiliar home, it can get lonely – fast. Potato keeps me busy by chasing after her, training her, cleaning up, and giving me love and affection when she sees me down and out. At this time, I am used to being alone but when the loneliness comes crashing down along with the tears, Potato knows exactly how to curl up on my lap and lick my sadness off my face.
Potato and I have been bonding more and more since my husband has been gone. Although there are times I question, “Why did we adopt her NOW? Why didn’t we wait?,” I take one look at her precious face and I’m reminded she is taking care of me while he’s away. Without her, I wouldn’t have the cuddle comfort she brings to me, I wouldn’t have random laughing amusement, and I wouldn’t be experiencing a trail run of minimal motherhood. This four legged, spot covered, burst of energy is my child, my furbaby, and every day I get to spend with her is an amazing experience.