I thought it was about time I gave you an update on the progress of our six-month-old Golden Doodle puppy, Brady Blue. He’s a good dog: smart, affectionate, eager to please, and the right balance of mellow and active.
But taking care of a dog is hard work.
I’m not surprised by the time and energy it requires. I knew that going in. But as I’ve said, neither Wilson nor I grew up with a dog so there have been some surprises along our puppy path. In just four months, Brady has provided amusement, adventure, worry, and dare I say aggravation?
I was warned by everyone that puppies pee and poop all over your house, chew on shoes, and play rough. I knew he might cry the first night in the crate, he had to be neutered, and would bark loudly.
Bu there were many things you dog people didn’t tell me. Here are just a few:
Puppies are obsessed with toilet paper. What’s that all about? Brady’s go-to activity is grabbing onto the end of the roll and running as far as possible. Then he rips it to pieces until it looks like a Homecoming Float threw up on my floor.
Puppies love the snow. One of my favorite experiences as a dog owner was letting Brady off the leash in our back yard after a fresh snow. Watching him race in circles and bound around with the kids was the purest expression of joy I’ve ever seen.
Puppies eat pencils and paper. I expected him to munch on shoes, belts, and backpacks but I thought that was because he was teething and the leather feels good in his mouth. What’s the allure of eating entire pencils and paper? It can’t taste good! I’ve decided he was a fellow writer in a past life and he’s been sent to inspire me.
Puppies have to wear a cone when they get neutered. I had seen dogs with cones before but I always thought it was because they were biters or badly behaved. I felt so sad for my poor pooch when he had to walk around with that cone of shame, banging into walls like he was drunk because he had no peripheral vision. But the second we took it off after the allotted 5 days, he went to town on his wound and we had to put it back on until he was completely healed.
Training classes are a pain in the ass. It’s important to me that Brady understand the rules of our house and maintain some manners so I knew training was a must. Although we’ve learned a lot, the commitment to attend weekly classes and keep up with practicing skills is yet another thing added to my busy plate. Plus, every family member needs to be on board and since I’m the only one who’s gone to every class, we are not in sync on our message, and the learning is slow.
Puppies are so very naughty. Much like children, they know exactly when you have your guard down, and they get into trouble quicker than you can say milkbone. I swear I was on the phone for a second when Brady ran upstairs and pooped in my son’s room, or found a stuffed animal and swallowed all its insides, or discovered an abandoned bag of candy and ate every piece, plus the bag.
Their obsession with food makes them do crazy things. We found this out the hard way. Up until about a week ago, Brady was totally cool with human food. Wilson and I could sit on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and he’d lay next to us without budging. We ate our meals in peace. He has clearly hit the adolescent stage, testing boundaries because this week he jumped up with his front legs on the kitchen counter, grabbed an entire stick of butter and swallowed it whole! Ick and oh boy.
Puppies eat their puke. Soon after Brady scarfed down the butter, he puked all over my couch. And then he ate it as my son looked on in horror. When I say Brady doesn’t like to miss a meal, I mean it.
You have to cook for puppies. Brady puked on and off for the next two days so the vet said I had to give him Pepcid AC, stop his dog food and make him chicken and rice for every meal. That’s right, now I’m cooking two dinners every night.
Puppies carve a spot in your heart you didn’t realize you had. I don’t mind making two dinners every night because I want Brady to feel better. I was as upset about his illness as I would be about my kids’– maybe even more because he can’t tell me what hurts.
He cuddles on the couch with Wilson and me every night while we watch TV. He meets each one of us at the door with his jingling collar, wagging tail, and kisses. Unlike a sibling or spouse who can get on your nerves, he’s the family member adored by all, who brings us together to care for him.
I can no longer imagine life without that dumb dog. He brings out the best in all of us. Despite all the surprises, I have no regrets, only gratitude.
Share some of your puppy tales in the comments.