My husband has been talking about getting a dog ever since we got married, but there was always something that stood in our way; money, time, our apartment didn’t allow pets; you name it, I had an excuse. I didn’t grow up with pets so I didn’t really understand the desire to have an animal living in your house. I saw a dog as a messy animal that was just really expensive. However, just the other day our family has expanded by one.
The village public safety officers were notifying everyone that they were going to do a roundup of all the stray dogs in the town. If you had a dog, you needed to tie it up, or take it inside to make sure they were safe that day. Everyone was aware of this, and apparently it happens periodically to try and keep any overpopulation in check. On the day of the roundup to my surprise Nathan came home and told me that there was someone I needed to meet outside. The puppy that had been following us around town since we arrived had evaded capture by hiding under the boardwalk. She then came out as school let out, and followed Nathan home! He had asked all around town if she belonged to anyone and no one was claiming her. It appeared that I was going to finally lose my two year battle against dog ownership.
Samwise (Sammy) is a relatively young puppy, we think about 4-5 months old, but we aren’t sure of exactly what breeds she is a mix of. When we take her to the vet we will find out some of this we are told. She will need her shots and to be registered I guess. We are guessing she is at least part german shepherd because of her ears (which have begun to stick up).
We were very fortunate to have neighbors here who used to have a big dog and still had some of its things, so we were gifted bowls, a dog bed, and some invaluable chew hide treats. At the village store we picked up a 10lb bag of puppy chow (for a ridiculous $37!) and arranged her things in our second bedroom that we had not been using. I have never had a pet before, let alone a needy puppy, so there is going to be a real learning curve for me, but Nathan grew up with dogs so he has been very helpful letting me know what to do.
Writing out my feelings on this is therapeutic really so I think it’s important to list not only some things that I’m nervous about, but also things that this situation has made me thankful for.
Things I’m nervous about:
1. That she won’t ever stop biting. I know she is curious now, but I’m not sure how she will learn to stop. Sammy is teething too, which can’t help the situation, but being nipped on the back of my legs when I’m talking on the phone rather than playing with her every second is getting old.
2. That she is going to ruin my stuff. I like things to be pretty and neat and orderly in my apartment, and now have the time to actually make it nice, but I’m also now battling against a puppy that thinks it’s okay to chew on my nice kitchen throw rug and take it for a run down the hall.
3. That she will never get used to living inside or wearing a collar. She was a stray puppy living outside with no real rules, and now that I’m trying to enforce some she is rebelling. She HATES her collar, and only really lets me put it on when she really has to go outside. I had to make an impromptu collar because we don’t have any here, and I think it isn’t ideal for her, and I can’t leave it on because the crocheted yarn stretches and she bites it when I keep it on her in the house. I’m sure time and habit will remedy this situation, along with an appropriate collar that stays on comfortably, it’s just overwhelming right now.
4. I don’t know how to tell how she is feeling. Yesterday I was worried that she was depressed because she wasn’t running around. Today I’m overwhelmed because she IS running around a lot more and trying to eat everything. Tail wagging is good I guess, and she is always wagging her tail and not whining too much so I guess we are okay.
5. She is so expensive. I will get over this, but I have always been a very frugal person, so having to spend more money without having had any real time to plan stresses me out. I really have no idea of how much a dog can actually cost, healthy or not, and when I don’t have concrete numbers for things, I automatically start calculating ridiculously high. It is overwhelming, but I’m sure with some smart shopping and research I will figure it out- and who knows, maybe it won’t be that bad- I hear they have insurance for pets nowadays. Crazy.
Things I’m thankful for:
1. As much as I hate getting up in the morning, I’m now being forced into a routine. It is good to get up with Nathan at 7am and be able to see him a little before he goes to work instead of sleeping in and then staying up really late because I’m not tired. Being responsible for another living thing motivates me to get moving when I would certainly rather stay in bed.
2. Companionship. As much as she frustrates me right now, I have to say that it is nice to have someone else here during the day. It weirdly makes it easier for me to feel motivated to do things, and I think it is cute when she watches me do the dishes.
3. Nathan is happy. It is important to me that my husband is happy. Marriage is about compromise, and to see him happy and playing with Sammy makes this worth it.
4. It is no small miracle that Sammy hasn’t gone to the bathroom inside. Because she grew up outside so far, we are told that it will be much easier to housetrain her; the less poop I have to clean up the better!
5. This is a sort of litmus test for having a baby. Never before have I had to take care of something that can’t communicate with words and has lots of needs. Even though she has pushed me to tears, I can now be a little more aware of what having a child is like- minus all the hormones that are going to make me a TOTAL mess when that time comes.
6. I know that someday she will calm down, and feel like part of the family to me. Even though right now I feel like I’m faking it, and have no clue what I’m doing, I have known enough people in my life who love their dogs like family, and I’m looking forward to that.
Everything out here is turning out to be more complicated as well. As long as we remember to take it one step at a time it isn’t so overwhelming. Just the fact that the vet is only in the next village over one week a month, or that it appears nowhere online will ship a crate to here is challenging. But as we talk to people in the village and teachers who have been here longer, they give us tips and we will make it through. Sammy is happy enough with the whole second bedroom to herself right now anyway 🙂
Anyone else with a new puppy right now going through some of the same things?? Please comment below with pictures and advice!