Here it is, one week into our new lives as pet people, and I am feeling the need to gather my thoughts on all things puppy.
In no particular oder.
Oops. “In no particular order” I meant to say.
1. But, speaking of oder…er, odor…puppies stink! I suppose it has something to do with my hypersensitive pregnancy nose, but gosh a’mighty, everything in our house smells like a puppy now. The puppy’s sunroom (which will ONLY be the case until said puppy is mature enough to live safely in the great outdoors ), my children, my children’s clothes, my children’s hands, my children’s hair, my sunroom curtains, my tiny nostril hairs, and, of course, the puppy.
2. A week before Jake was ready to join us, his owner said that she would be working on his whining at night. I reassured her not to worry, that he would fit in perfectly around this joint. As if he could get a word – or bark – in edgewise. And I was right – he fit right into the chaos that was already here.
3. It was fascinating to observe the initial reactions from each of my family members concerning Jake the Pup. Mr. Gore was like a kid at Christmas, finally reunited with one of his true loves, dog ownership. Gideon (the “master” of the dog) was just dazed with happiness and disbelief. May he never forget that day! Betsie was sort of manically excited and standoffish at the same time, petting him and running from him in the the same 5 seconds. And then there was Miss Sunday. Talking nonstop. Making lists of what we need for the dog (including a brush for his hair). Deciding when the dog will be ready to go hunting. And basically knowing everything there is to know about what it takes to bring up a puppy in this world. And me? As Betsie would say, I was “skerred”. Please, God, keep this puppy safe for us and don’t let it poop on my floor, Amen.
4. Five minutes after we presented Gideon with his “life day” puppy, I turned to Mr. Gore and jokingly said, “Okay, I got my pictures and had my moment. We can get rid of the puppy now!” Because it was at exactly that moment that the doubts set in. “What were we thinking?!”…
5. And so I was EXTREMELY relieved to wake up the next morning to a word of encouragement from one of my sweet readers: “Others may have said this already, but you need to know one thing about getting a puppy: for the first couple weeks you will think it was a huge mistake. You’ll second guess it and think “what have we done?!” But believe me, once that phase passes, and it will, you’ll recognize that you’ve been blessed beyond what you ever hoped for by the love and companionship of this most wonderful little creature. Trust me.” For the record, no one had yet told me that, but I needed to hear it. I get it now! It’s just like bringing home a baby.
6. Speaking of baby, I think the puppy might be stealing some of my mommy instincts that should be reserved for the infant who will be joining us in the very near future. I’m sleeping lightly, I’m paranoid that something will happen to him, I tiptoe through the house when he is napping, and I can’t tell you how many times I have peered into the sunroom to make sure little Jakey-poo is still breathing. And then I have to remind myself…this is a dog. Not the baby. Baby isn’t here yet.
7. If you are having trouble making it through the long “dog days of summer” (sorry…couldn’t resist!) without allowing your children to watch endless television, invest in a puppy. We’ve not only had the TV off for nearly a week, I have barely seen my kids since Jake joined our family. They are obsessed.
8. Except for Betsie, who has gone from manically excited by the dog to terrified. The poor girl doesn’t realize that he singles her out because she is so low to the ground. She was sitting down on the floor the other day and he came to inspect her…she was SO frightened, she couldn’t even spare the time to stand up and started crawling as fast as she could, screaming bloody murder. Which only made the puppy run alongside her, causing her to somehow scream louder and just freeze up in trembling terror…but I have to admit, my humor was at odds with my compassion. Sad, yes. Funny? Also yes. He’s so little! But then, I guess, so is our skinny Pinky girl.
9. Forgive me, but I’m not really an animal lover. I admire them, I think they’re pretty, I see the handiwork of God when I look at them, but they’ve never really gone beyond my mind and reached down into my heart like, say, a person does. We always had dogs and cats growing up, but they sort of blended in with our outdoor country scene, and, though sad when they died, I didn’t really weep or allow their respective deaths to interfere with my appetite. But Jake the puppy? He belongs to my firstborn son. And if you lay a finger on him, I will cut you.
10. You won’t believe this, but I finally found a use for my teensy-tiny Lodge mini skillets. They are just Jake’s size. So I’m super glad that my Christmas gift last year is being spent on a dog…
(but I have to admit, that’s awfully cute).
11. Lastly…a week has passed, and though it has set me back in my preparations for homeschool and bringing home a new baby, the words of encouragement from the above reader are ringing true already. Jake has been worth it. I shared the following on my Facebook page last week:
So I spent the entire morning keeping our puppy alive. He COMPLETELY keeps the kids distracted and happy, but I’m too afraid to leave him alone with them just yet…
Thus the house is a WRECK and I just took 10 steps backwards in any progress I’ve made to prepare our home for baby #4.
But on the other hand, from my kids’ point of view, this is what childhood is supposed to look like, right? Running through the house, barefoot, with a puppy on your heels? Spending hours on the front porch with your family, making the acquaintance of your newest member?
I may not have things as I would personally prefer them at the moment (i.e. clean and tidy), but I’m thinking Norman Rockwell would find plenty of beauty and inspiration in our chaos…
and so I will too.
Now if you’ll excuse me, while Jake is resting on the front porch and the kids are with their Papa, I’m going to go mop and disinfect my sunroom.