How We Went from Pet-free to Puppy People

Posted: October 29, 2015 in Adoption, Animal Shelter, Dogs, Family, Pets, Puppy
Tags: , , , , , ,

My oldest son, Aleks, had spent the last couple of weeks begging his mother and me for a dog. He swore that if we brought home a puppy, it would count for both his Christmas and birthday present. After realizing that getting a puppy meant I would have to be more responsible, I took it upon myself to navigate around those treacherous waters, at all costs.

I countered his terms, with talk of video games and laser tag battles. Unfortunately, his resolve was steadfast, and his terms were non-negotiable. Like countless revolutionaries before him, there was no quieting his message once it was heard, and soon his words became infectious.

My youngest son, Maks, not quite the dog lover (more on that later), joined the cause. And so, this burgeoning children’s crusade was now a united front. No amount of reasoning, persuasion, or even subtle attempts at bribery, could bend their will. We, the parents of these puppy-loving radicals, were losing ground fast, but as long as we matched their steely-eyed resolve with our own united front, we stood a chance.

And then Maria caved. The boys had changed their tactics without my knowledge (Though thinking back on it, I should have realized kids inevitably play their strongest hand). And our boys were holding a straight flush. They turned her to their cause with cuddles and innocent whispers. And she quickly became the Hanoi Jane to my Murica.

Our two, tiny Mongols wiped out my once pet-free kingdom. That beautiful land, free of hairs and smells. That once glorious castle, where bowel movements were flushed away with a magic that left Merlin envious. Gone now. And we are officially dog owners.

And while we’re only a week in, the transition is complete. The hair has been shed, and the mistakes (i.e. dog shit) have been made. I no longer can smell ‘dog’ which means I am now following the path of the dog.

And though the increase in responsibilities are not good for my endocrine system, there is something to be said for a cuddly puppy that wants to nap with you.

Now, I’m not going to get mushy about all of this. I’ll leave that to Hanoi Jane, but I will document our first week or so with the new addition.

WEEK 1:

We drove an hour west, to DeKalb IL, home of Tails Humane Society. The only animal shelter that had the type of puppy we were looking for (two months old, and cute as a button). Aleks was shaking with excitement, and Maks was relishing in the fact that he had broken us.

The four of us strode into the building, and Maria and Maks strode out of the building just as quickly. Maks is much like a six year-old version of the X-Men’s Wolverine. He can be a rough customer, he possesses a sweet hairstyle, and he also has a heightened sense of smell. One of those things doesn’t work well in a small building filled with animal farts.

He stormed out holding his face and refusing to go back in. Meanwhile, inside the shelter, Aleks was spinning in circles and on the verge of happy tears, stopping occasionally to pet the puppy and make kissy noises, before returning to his spin of win.

After a quick pit stop at the PetSmart down the street (we needed to purchase an animal carrier and all of the other bells and whistles that go along with puppy rearing), we were on our way home. Now, a family of five.

We needed to name our new addition. He came with the name Pirate, but it didn’t roll off the tongue with the je ne sais quois that we were looking for. So, our drive home was spent debating the merits of different dog names. Cooper, Murphy, Sparky, Hopper, and John, all vying for the title of puppy name. That is, until Maria, staring out of the window introspectively, muttered our kid’s first love in literature: Calvin & Hobbes. After a family vote, Hobbes had it. The puppy bumped his tail back and forth in his crate, seeming to agree from the confines of his temporary cell.

There was petting and playful banter, but mostly Hobbes napped. As Maria and I inspected his under-carriage for signs of bowel movements, while also googling different potty training scenarios.

After hearing google out on the matter, we decided on a form of potty training known as crate training. And though Maria bought some sort of dog pads, to leave around the house for Hobbes to use if he couldn’t get outside fast enough, I couldn’t allow it.

Sometimes baby steps are needed. Training wheels for instance, or the delicate art of teaching people of a certain age to send emails without the caps lock on. But in the case of a puppy emptying its bowels, there is no learning curve, only dog shit.

Speaking of dog shit, Hobbes left a steaming little gift under our dining room table earlier today. Aleks promptly stepped in it, and then raised his arms and screamed to the heavens. I guess it’s true that we are indeed our father’s sons.

Maks and Hobbes are on good terms for the most part. Although, Hobbes, like all other dogs before him, views Maks as a giant dog treat. Maks walks by, and suddenly Hobbes ears perk up. He stands and sniffs the air, and then the puppy is off, trying to nibble pieces of our son, much to the chagrin of Maks.

You see, Maks has spent his formative years running away from our friends’ and families’ pets. And our friends’ and families’ pets, like all other pets, only enjoy one thing more than treats… hunting human kids that also might taste like treats.

We’re trying to rectify this situation, but I suspect obedience school is in our future.

Maria insisted on certain rules. No puppies on the couch was her first rule. After snuggling with Hobbes on the floor for close to an hour that first night, she broke her own rule and brought him on the couch with her. Hmm, a pattern is starting to form.

In the days following his arrival, I attempted to get a good, or at least decent photo of Hobbes in all of his puppy yumminess (Shit, I’m using words like yumminess, now). After about seventy or eighty photos of him turning away from me, or trying to steal my phone, I managed to snap one or two gems.

Hobbes at attention.

I command you to love me.

I command you to love me.

 

Hobbes at rest.

Your home is my bed.

Your home is my bed.

 

Our walks have been relegated to the backyard for now. Hobbes is spooked by barking, cars, wind, and rain, but we still managed to get all the way out to the front yard. I live in a working class suburb of Chicago, so yeah, it wasn’t much of a feat, but nevertheless, he made the journey. And after standing in the front yard for a long moment, with ears perked, and a look of “what the fuck is all of this” on his face, we retired indoors for doggie treats and a beer. Not too shabby.

It could always be worse…

He could be a cat.

 

Comments
  1. Karl says:

    We are at week one with a 9 week old poodle who is adorable. We’ve had a present under the (coffee) table but on the whole the challenge of crate training is actually working for us. A few sleepless nights with separation anxiety but were definitely getting there. Good luck and I will follow with interest.

  2. Me says:

    Omb Hobbes is ADORABLE!! I love his name too 🙂

    Kikopup on YouTube has tons of (free) videos about dog training and raising a puppy, and Sophia Yin has YouTube videos and articles on body language, helping dogs overcome their fears and helping kids understand dog body language too.

    http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/free-downloads-posters-handouts-and-more

    Enjoy your new pup 😀

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