Category Archives: Puppy Tales

Puppy love!

Big news! (drumroll please)….. our puppy arrives September 7th!

For those of you following along, we’ve been debating whether to get a dog for a couple of years and finally decided to make it happen. It might have been the day I looked out the window and found 10-year-old Aden playing in the back yard with a cicada. (No joke!)

The poor kid really needs a pooch.

I started to do some research but I believe fate is what brought this puppy to us. I ran into a friend at a concert two weeks ago.  She has a beautiful 16-month old Golden Doodle named Dempsey who we met as a puppy who was very sweet and good with kids and other dogs.  She told me her breeder had just had a litter that week and had more puppies than expected.

Dempsey

Dempsey

Aden and I looked up the breeder on the web and liked the way they talked about the dogs– professional and affectionate, but not over the top. The site answered all my questions and had adorable pictures of their dogs and puppies.

The father of the puppies is an English Cream Golden Retriever and the mother is a Moyen Poodle named Zoey– the same name as our cousins’ dog whom we love. This English Cream breed of Golden Doodles have very light-colored, wavy hair that hopefully won’t shed too much, which is good for 7-year-old Eli’s asthma and allergies.

Every time I stopped someone on the street to ask what breed their cute dog was, 8 times out of 10 it was a Golden Doodle. Everything I read confirmed that they are social, great with kids, have a good disposition, and smart, so easy to train.  It seemed like a good fit for us.

We were sold.

Next we had to decide whether we wanted a male or female. I was leaning towards female to even out the gender in our family a bit. I read that females were more mellow in the puppy phase and more independent as adult dogs. Males can be more difficult to calm but loyal and affectionate.

We chose female because there were less girls in the litter, but I’m still on the fence. Our breeder says personality is much more important than gender so we’re checking the website regularly, where she posts information on each puppy. She gives them each different colored collars and takes notes on their behavior to get a sense of their personalities.

These are the puppies at about three weeks old. Still haven’t all opened their eyes yet!

new puppies!

I’ve bought a bunch of books and have been quizzing friends so I’m as prepared as possible for this big change in our lives. When I told a friend who just got a puppy a month ago that we put a deposit down and are expecting ours shortly she said “you may regret it on a  minute to minute level, but never a day by day level.”

I told her there will be no regrets, only puppy love from here on out.  How can you not love something that cute? Even if he is chewing my favorite shoes  and peeing on my rug. He/she will be a part of our family and you don’t mess with family.

I’m eager to hear your thoughts on boy or girl– as we may still have a choice– and also possible names. I welcome all advice as long as it’s positive. There’s no turning back now.

Doggone it, it’s time

My son, Aden’s birthday is this week. He’s turning 10 and all he wants is a dog.

It’s time.

I’ve been procrastinating, worrying, and quizzing friends and family for months, if not years. We’ve dog-sat many weekends and survived. I can’t put it off any longer. Aden needs a dog… like I need to write…like Wilson needs sports…like Eli (7) needs to talk, like Jacob (13) needs to text.

A dog will center him, soothe him, and make him so happy. I’ve seen it happen with other animals. You should see the way he stays up late reading books about lizards, plays with his friends’ hamsters,  and sticks his hand in a muddy swamp to catch crawfish.

Neither Wilson nor I grew up with any animals so this is new territory and I’m nervous. The dog will require time, energy, and expense. I’m not kidding myself– I realize most of the responsibility will fall on me.

But the kid needs a dog.

Aden with Uncle Jon's dog, Ranger

Aden with Uncle Jon’s dog, Ranger

It’s the right time because I’m home a lot, the weather is nice, and we’re around for the next several months for baseball so we can’t make weekend plans. I’m hoping to get a furry friend before August.

So I’m using this post to crowdsource. Aden wants a puppy and Eli has allergies so we’ll start with those requirements. I’m going to research what breed to get, the best training books, recommendations for obedience school, and a good vet.

97% of the dog owners I’ve spoken to adore their pooches and say it’s the best addition to their family and worth all the work and inconvenience.  I’m moving forward with that encouragement in mind and getting excited. And scared. But mostly excited.

Seeing Aden’s face when that dog arrives is also a big motivator. Fulfilling his dream will be fun for all of us.

I couldn’t get my act together to get a puppy here this week but I bought him this guide to dog care to open on his birthday so he knows the process is underway.  But I’m counting on you people to help me with info and advice.  Emails would be ideal but you can also comment on the blog or on Facebook and I’ll start gathering and educating myself.

Thanks, in advance for your guidance and patience. I’m going to need it.

My kids are hounding me for a dog

Aden's a dog's best friend

Aden’s a dog’s best friend

Our family was dog-sitting this week for Wilson’s brother’s dog, an adorable mutt named Ranger.  (When he was a puppy, he had black spots around his eyes that looked like the Lone Ranger’s mask.) We’ve taken care of Ranger before, but each time,  the pressure intensifies to get a dog of our own.

I like dogs and know that it would enrich my kids’ lives if they had a pooch, but I didn’t grow up with one. My mother dislikes and fears most animals and my father chose not to fight that battle. Wilson didn’t grow up with animals either so we’re clueless and intimidated by the idea of adding a dog to our family.

My middle son, 9-year-old Aden, is my most challenging child. He acts tough, but can be sensitive and moody.  But he loves animals. Every book he has taken out of the library since kindergarten has been about animals.  When we visit friends, he gravitates towards dogs more than other kids. He instinctively knows how to talk to them, pet them, love them.

I’ve resisted getting a dog because my youngest, 7-year-old Eli, was still having accidents until about a year ago. After 12 consistent years of changing diapers and throwing away stained Batman undies,  I wanted at least one poop-free year.

Eli giving Ranger some love

Eli giving Ranger some love

Many of our friends have gotten dogs in the last few years. I’ve seen their adorable, floppy puppies attracting the attention of excited kids and swooning adults and felt the pang of desire.

Our Fido-loving friends can’t imagine their lives without them and I’ve seen them treat their dogs with the same concern and adoration (sometimes more) that they have for their kids. It’s sweet.

It also scares the crap out of me.

I think about the long walks in the freezing cold, the chewed up furniture and toys, and the neediness of a puppy in its first six months.

I have three energetic boys who don’t listen to a word I say and a husband to whom I don’t pay nearly enough attention. I work part-time in the city and part-time at home and I have several volunteer and house obligations.  Do I really want yet another living creature depending on me?

The kids say they’ll help with the responsibilities and I believe they want to. But the reality is I’ll be the main caretaker of the dog. The only way I would get a dog would be if we had a trainer or obedience classes because we don’t know the first thing about food, schedules, or behavior. But that’s more time and energy.

Aden and Eli walked Ranger many times this week and played with him a lot. But when the novelty wears off, will I be nagging them to take the dog out like I do to clean their rooms?

I loved the infancy and baby stage of parenthood so taking care of a puppy and being needed in that way is appealing to me. But I know there will be plenty of times I won’t feel like standing on the sidewalk for the thousandth time in 20- degree weather waiting for it to take a leak…or coming home early from a party because it’s been alone in the house too long…or worrying about it when it’s sick.

Ranger is over a year old but still pooped in our front hall at least 6 times this week and peed inside twice. I’m sure part of it is different surroundings and missing his own family, but sometimes dogs just poop on the rug.

I’m not so psyched about that.

While I would love to rescue a dog, Eli has allergies so we need a non shedding pup. With the wide range of breeds out there, I’ll need to do ample research to  choose the right dog for our family.

It sounds like I’m hesitating as I voice my anxiety, but I know it’s not a matter of if, but when for us. When I see Aden cuddling on the couch with Ranger I know he needs a dog. He’s actually better behaved and more relaxed with a dog around.

He’s one of those kids who feels things deeply but can’t communicate his needs. Being around animals brings out his best self and perhaps makes him feel an unconditional love and understanding he may not feel from humans, even the ones who love him most.

How can I deny him something that would be such a positive influence?

I’m sure all you dog lovers will say just do it! Anyone want to share stories about the challenges? What breeds would you recommend? Please educate and encourage me in the comments.