July was all about one thing: Lucy.
Getting to know Lucy, feeding Lucy, playing with Lucy, taking Lucy for walks, patting Lucy, taking photos of Lucy, smothering Lucy (Jude) and training and cleaning up after Lucy (me). Having a puppy is not that unlike having a toddler. The only difference, as far as I can tell, is that dogs are easier to train and it’s generally not frowned upon if you leave them home by themselves for an extended period of time. Everything else, (biting, toilet training, needing a lot of attention, being enticed to buy a plethora of ‘must have’ aids, toys and accessories etc) seems more or less the same. We had a little over a week to prepare for her arrival. I went to the local shops and bought her a bed, some chew toys, a collar and lead, food, some puppy training pads, a brush and a couple of bowls for water and food. I patted myself on the back for being so prepared and thinking of everything that she will likely need. On the day of her arrival we realised we needed a harness and belt for the car and some training treats. So off we went, back to the shops. ‘That’s Ok’ I thought, rather naively, ‘there was bound to be a few things I didn’t think of. Now we everything’. I quickly realised that the bed I bought her was too small and in the four weeks that we have had her we have made various trips back and forth to the shops to buy:
- Nail Clippers
- Carpet deodorising foam
- Scent deodorising spray
- Many, many more puppy training pads
- More chew toys
- Flea and tick medicine
- A treat pouch
- Another brush specifically for tangles
….And those are just the things I can remember. In hindsight a simple google search might have better prepared me for what we actually needed. But I had grown up with dogs, I had my very own dog when I was thirteen and I was entirely responsible for her. I assumed I knew what was to come. It’s a bit like when you think you are prepared for that second child because surely they will be a lot like the first? You are wholly and completely unprepared for the oddly misshapen curve balls that that second child will throw you. Plus, a lot has changed since I was thirteen. In my mind it was like ten…. fifteen years ago, tops. I won’t do the math but it was a little longer than that. Training methods are different, the variety of dog foods and treats has expanded exponentially (there is food for specific breeds now?), there are entire warehouse-like stores devoted entirely to pet products.
I spent a lot of the month googling things like ‘how to toilet train a puppy that refuses to poop outside’ and ‘what does it mean when your dog digs a hole and then starts barking into it?’ then watching back-to-back episodes of Better Human, Better Dog. Suffice it to say, it’s been a learning curve. But I don’t regret it. There were moments, especially in the beginning, when I had the thought, ‘Did I just spend all our worldly savings on a dog that will just destroy all our furniture and poop inside forever?’ and I would be filled with dread. But seeing how much the children absolutely adore her makes it strangely all worth it. Plus, if I’m forced to admit it, I guess I’m rather fond of her too.