I'm having a crappy day. This -10,000 degree weather is really taking the enjoyment out of once enjoyable activities, like shoveling and salting the steps and standing outside at 2 a.m. telling the puppy to GO PEE, GO PEE, GO PEE!
Yes, right, those activities have always sucked.
I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about how similar having a puppy is to having children. Admittedly, I'm not the first to reach that conclusion (duh) but really, the similarities are downright eerie.
There's the lack of sleep, although I never had to take a whining baby outside in the frigid night to empty his bladder.
There's the "what the hell is this in my pocket?" factor; this time the kids' errant elastic bands/superhero figurines/lollipop wrappers have been replaced with tiny dog biscuits.
There's the vying for attention factor. When I first brought Everette home from the hospital, Junior would climb over him to sit on my lap. Now the puppy climbs over the hissing cat to get to my lap and neither are happy until I've spent an hour scratching their heads—simultaneously.
Then the kids climb on. You should see me—I'm as flat as a pancake.
Thankfully we've made a lot of progress with potty training and the only thing that's been chewed beyond recognition is a plastic toy cupcake. And a homework folder.
She's a good puppy.
But (and I've been wanting to write this post for awhile now): I went through months of legwork to get this dog and at times felt like it would have been easier to adopt a child.
Labs4rescue wants $400 just to apply for a dog. There's a 50 page questionnaire. After you get the dog they want to come to your home to do a site visit. Say what?
I logged hours on petfinder.com, emailing various shelters in Connecticut and inquiring about particular dogs, only to fill out an application and be told we weren't a good fit because we weren't "active" or "young" enough (I guess hiking, biking and running aren't considered exercise and 40 isn't the new 25). Or I was told that the dog was from Tennessee (or Arkansas) and was en route to Connecticut and wouldn't be available to meet for a few months.
Tick, tick, tick.
I was about to give up hope when we noticed an adoption event at a nearby Petco. So we piled the kids into the car and went. It was chaos, absolute chaos (people crammed into a corner of the store, poking at drowsy puppies, dragging them into the aisle, trying to decide if they're THE ONE) but that's where we found her.
Sweet, soft Nellie.
And yes, this is the part where I write that it was all worth it—the preparation, taking her home, setting up her bed, pressing my face against hers as she snored, wondering aloud What have we done? We don't know what to do with a puppy. How could they just have given us a puppy?
Exactly how I felt after I brought Junior home from the hospital.