One of my friends got a pitbull/lab mix puppy named Emmy last weekend and I fell in love with pibbles all over again. I have two adult pitbulls and babysitting a puppy for a week taught me a lot about the experience of raising a puppy, as well as the tendencies of my own dogs.
This by no means is a post complaining about taking care of a puppy. It’s just a few things I’ve experienced during the week and learned about the way I react to a situation like this.
My friend, Channa, asked me to watch her baby girl while she moved apartments so that the puppy would have a stable place for a fews day to a week. I, of course, said yes because who wouldn’t want to spend their days with a puppy! As someone who has two adult dogs I know most of the time what they’re going to get in to. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed about having a puppy in the house.
- You will fly through all of of your cleaning supplies specifically paper towels, toilet paper and all purpose disinfectant.
I use Clorox disinfectant wipes for everything. I’m kind of a neat freak. I don’t like when things get messy while my boyfriend is making dinner, I can’t focus when there’s water marks all over the bathroom sink. Basically, Clorox wipes save my life so I buy in bulk at Costco. A puppy will make you fly through all your cleaning supplies as well as your hand soap. I went through at least four rolls of paper towels, two or three rolls of toilet paper and finished off a container of Clorox wipes that I’ve been using for the past three months. That little puppy can pee! I realized half way through her stay how many times I had washed my hands throughout the day and how little hand soap I had left.
- Not being able to go outside is sometimes the worst.
Puppies are very susceptible to infections. Emmy was two months when my friend adopted her which meant that she still had monthly vet appointments that she needed to go to in order to finish her booster shots and eventually get her rabies shot. Puppies this young can be a little scary.
I am always afraid I’m going to mess up, it’s part of my crippling anxiety, but I know how to take care of dogs. The staff at the adoption shelter told us that Emmy wouldn’t be able to go outside until she was four months old once her immunizations were finished and she had her rabies shot and dog license (apparently that’s a thing in California, you don’t need dog licenses in Massachusetts). I went two days without going outside whatsoever and that takes a toll on you sometimes especially when it’s so beautiful out and you just want to see a little puppy running through the sunshine.
- Don’t wait to crate them. Making their crate their own space as soon as possible is a great thing.
We decided not to set up her crate when I first started watching her because we though it would be better to not move it around. My friend came and got her baby and then a day later asked me to watch her again because she didn’t get to move all of her apartment and I obviously was more than okay with that. The last day I watched her we decided to set up her crate and let her have her own space. She loved it. She went in there to chew on her nylabone, she napped in there, it was definitely a space she felt comfortable in.
My dogs were never crate trained. Technically the dogs are my boyfriends, but if anyone ever said that to be I would be seriously offended because I feel like they are my children. One of them was bottle fed they got him so young and the other was adopted when she was about a year old. I don’t know if you can crate train when they’re already 3 and 5 years old, but I hope you can because I love the idea of them having their own space. So I highly recommend not waiting to crate train. If it doesn’t work it doesn’t work, but if it does it’s a life saver.
- Having more than one person in the house is sometimes crucial.
I didn’t sleep at all the first night because Emmy had kennel cough and you could hear the build up of mucus in her chest and over the week her cough got worse and worse. The second day she was getting more comfortable which meant she was getting into trouble a lot. By the third day I was so exhausted that seeing my boyfriend come home from work meant I didn’t have to have my eyes on her every single second. Taking care of them on your own is nice, especially when they want to nap on your chest, but having another person is a god send.
- Puppy love is real and it’s always amazing.
I said to my boyfriend, “Do you think she will remember me in a few years?” and “Do you think she loves me?” and then as she was nuzzled in my chest I said, “Oh my god she loves me so much!” and Matt says, “What do you think puppy love is?” And it hit me.
There’s nothing better than the unconditional love of a dog no matter their age. But there’s something special about puppy love. Puppies love everyone and that’s an amazing feeling. As long as your energetic and are paying attention to them their tails are wagging so fast that their butts are moving side to side with them. So, yes, as she grows up she may not like me as much as now (we’ll see). But god mom is so special in Emmy’s puppy dog eyes right now and that just makes me feel so special.
- You’ll drink more coffee than you already do.
I drink a lot of coffee, but having a puppy running around the house made me make multiple french presses of coffee throughout the day. I’d have my morning coffee, and then I’d make another batch at around 3pm because for some reason hanging around the house all day and laying down with a pup is exhausting. I know, boo woo, huh?
- People that make fun of the terms “dog parent” never had a dog.
My cousin just had a baby, she’s about two months old now and last month she was texting me about a two week crying fit that my niece was having that was leaving her feeling like a crazy person. I texted her this week comparing taking care of a puppy to a child and as bad as I felt about making that comparison, I felt like I could understand her pain a tiny bit.
I was so exhausted because I’m an over thinker. I’m a very anxious person and I stress about everything. I want everything to be perfect. I want everything to be special. I always think of all the bad outcomes of every situation which usually leaves me endlessly stressed out (I’m working on it). So by no means is this a post about complaining about how hard puppy sitting is because it’s not hard. It’s fun, and rewarding, just a little tiring.
- You can’t prepare for some of their personal tendencies.
I compared a lot of the things Emmy did this week to the things that my dogs do in order to know what she was doing and why and how to help her. She was sucking on my blankets a lot, something that my dog Layla does all the time. Layla was taken away from her mom to soon as a baby so she sucks on blankets when she’s excited or nervous and wants to fall asleep. While she’s sucking she usually pulls to blanket and most of the time rips it to shreds. Emmy was doing that and I knew I needed to try and establish a sucky for her. Things like this you can’t really prepare for because it’s part of the dog’s personality. I can say though that it was nice being familiar with this kind of behavior and redirecting her to one blanket so she knows not to do that to every blanket. Layla on the other hand has ripped a lot of nice blankets over the years.
- Dogs are a great anxiety medicine.
I already knew this because my dogs are my medicine. As you guys know, I moved to California a couple months ago. I couldn’t bring my dogs because my boyfriend and I wanted to be set up before we brought them across the country. I’ve never had worse anxiety or depression in my life. I can barely drive because I usually am shaking and sometimes get tunnel vision and can’t snap out of it.
Having Emmy running around the apartment for a week was so nice. It made me realize how much I need my dogs with me. I also had far less anxiety attacks over the week. I usually ring in at around 4 to 5 a week and I only had two. I know people make fun of the idea of a dog being an emotional support animal, but it’s a real thing for me. Dogs are medicine. Puppies included.