So, after years of longing for little Fido or Fidette, you finally bring your new puppy home. As a grown adult, you’ve made a calculated decision based on your mature lifestyle, schedule, finances, home and so much more. Within minutes of squeezing that fuzzy puppy face, you’ll be as happy as you ever could have imagined. And, within weeks, you’ll be questioning everything about yourself, your direction in life, and how, in all of your preparation, you never knew about the pure mayhem that is owning a puppy. Here are those things you wish had been explicitly written in the puppy manuals, but you’re likely to never find anywhere. Puppy owners repeat after me: someday my dog will get older, someday my dog will get older…
1. All in all, it’s pretty much the worst. Similar to what I would imagine having a child is like, no one at the dog park casually engages in chatter about how difficult having a puppy can be. Everyone’s all like, “Oh, we really lucked out!” and “He just sleeps all day! No complaints!” and you have to assume they’re lying through their pearly whites, because, it is mentally/spiritually/physically/financially draining at most times. IF they are somehow telling the truth – LUCK is the operative term. Puppies are, for the most part, adorable and terrible creatures, all at once.
2. You will never go unnoticed in public again. Remember the days of wandering, hungover, to the corner store to get shameful snacks, with an unkempt bun tied messily on top of your head? They aren’t over, but, you need to be prepared to be reminded – at least 18 times within a block – that you look the way you do. Everyone – sexy dog Dads and delirious bystanders included – will bend over to enthusiastically touch and engage with your fur child, and then look up in horror when they realize you own it.
3. On that note, never forget your dog’s age or potential weight. Because you will be asked a thrillion times within that same block. If you forget said dog’s exact age or potential weight, you’ll be mistook for the dog walker, or worse – a neglectful parent who obviously doesn’t have his/her shit together. I mean, since when was age measured in weeks? Or potential weight a thing? I am not currently celebrating my 1349th week of existence. And I don’t feel like chit-chatting about how, down the road, I’ll likely clock in 20 lbs heavier. Give me a break – math is not my strong suit.
4. Your sacred apartment/home will soon be a poopy, pee-stained, shredded-fluff mess. The months spent prepping your trendy downtown condo or spacious multi-floor abode are behind you. Before getting a puppy, you probably dreamed of co-existing in your pretty space; your dog quietly frolicking alongside your Crate & Barrel couch while you made risotto. WRONG. You will not be eating until the rare occasion that they’re subdued (weight loss very likely) and that couch will have parts of it dismantled that you didn’t even know could be dismantled.
5. You will make so many new friends who could care less about you. Be prepared to enter your local dog park and have people happily shriek the name of your dog. Not yours! Dog’s. They don’t even know who you are. God forbid you try to get a lil’ personal info from the only people in the world you now see three times a day; they’ll find a way to steer the convo back to your pets, because you are your puppies’ slaves and identities are forbidden. #actuallynonewfriends
6. Surprise! You live with a tiny ninja. You probably thought that a simple gate, crate, door or blockage would encourage your angelic baby to stay where you want. HA! Didn’t you know that Fido is actually Bond? Or a small incarnation of Jason Statham? He will not only free himself immediately, but he will find his way into things that you deem unreachable as a human being. Plus side? If you’re considering having art stolen from the Guggenheim, your puppy is trained for the heist.
7. You can bring your dog to work! If you want to constantly be stuffing his kong full of yucky treats to keep him occupied or shuffling him out of the boardroom when he decides that’s the ideal place to leak. If you can run your dog to work and exhaust it, bueno. Otherwise, it’s actually ideal having those short, short hours to yourself.
8. Bye bye dollas. Yeah, yeah – puppy shots, vet appointments and food are expensive. We are prepared for this – we are adults, after all. What we aren’t prepared for is buying different crates, clothes, bowls and cozy structures that might suit your little prince or princess, weekly sets of new toys after your teething baby viciously murders them, or the cleaning supplies to scrub the “f**k you” your dog has written in its own feces off the walls. No one can budget for that.
9. Wanna do anything outside of your home for more than 4 hours? Don’t be silly. If you, or you and your partner, have a dog with a blimp-sized bladder or the budget for frequent dog-walkers/sitters/boarders – right on, guys. But, until your sweet little monster grows the eff up, the rest of us have mastered that special 9pm – 1am weekend party sesh, when arriving home but a minute late will mean the demise of your animal. Literally, they will die of a heart attack because they’ve been keeping track of time with their tiny non-existent puppy wristwatch and you are one minute late to take them outside to roam in circles and do nothing.
10. Although told in the least transparent way, and realized in the most overwhelming way, you have gained a family member. You will feel so exhausted, so confused, so dirty, so poor and yet so, so loved by this little ridiculous thing that needs you more than anything else you’ve ever known. They’ll bark their face off when they see you, plant their feet in front of “danger” (say, a bug or heavy rain), lick your skin off, get unnecessarily, ahem, excited when you’re near and make every moment feel like they live for you. No, your dog is not necessarily a life completion – and these very hard times with a new baby may feel like they are taking you over – but your dog is such a meaningful addition. Meaningful enough to help you look past all the things that no one told you about.