Preparing For Your New Puppy

Many articles have been written about preparing your home for your new puppy. Preparing for the chewing, the potty training, the socialization, the vet bills, the parvo-avoiding. But this article is not about preparing your home, it’s about preparing YOU.

My basset mix is ten years old, and something happened last night that made me think, “THIS is what people need to know about dogs before they get one. Not how to potty train or which dog food is healthiest.”

I went downstairs for a last cup of water before bed, saw the dog lying by the sliding glass door, and thought, “Look at me! For once I’m remembering to let the dog out, and he won’t bark and get me out of my cozy bed right when I’m finally dozing off.”

I slid the door open, and that dog, the one I wanted so badly ten years ago that I told my U2-loving-but-on-the-fence-about-a-dog husband that I’d name our dog Bono, gave me a look out of the corner of his eye that said he was not about to go out, and that I was inhumane to suggest it. We had a staredown. Me facing him boldly, straight on, and him still avoiding my direct gaze. “Fine,” I said. “But I better not hear you until morning.” I slammed the door shut and went to bed. And of course, what do I hear just as my creaky joints are finally starting to settle and my insomniac eyes are starting to close?

Woof.

This happens all the time. My husband says I should teach Bono a lesson by not going down there, but my husband can sleep through a “woof” every five minutes.

I got up. Again.

Be prepared, that’s all I’m saying. A few more things I wasn’t prepared for:

1) Excitedly running to the door the first time Bono barked to go out to potty after about 14 months of unsuccessful training, only to have him run over to the couch where I’d set my dinner and eat my dinner instead of going out.

2) Leaning over to pick up his poop only to have him jump up and put his paws on my butt so that I stepped forward into his poop. (At least the poop was outside.)

3) Running around the neighborhood yelling “OFF! OFF!” after he escaped out the front door and bolted down the street jumping (in extreme friendliness) on frightened walkers.

And so, before you prepare yourself for the training and the vet bills, prepare yourself for the attitude of an infant and a teenager all rolled into one. Prepare yourself for the lack of sleep and the embarrassment. Prepare yourself for a Bono.

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