So. We did it. We got a puppy. As a child I was desperate for a puppy but it never happened. As an adult, I wasn’t so sure about the idea. Chris has been desperate for a puppy for years. Boy Child has been desperate for a puppy since he was old enough to know what a puppy was. Girl Child however, was terrified of dogs until recently. That all changed though when a friend of ours got a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy about 18 months ago. She was on board, just leaving me in the no camp.
Friends who had dogs seemed split. There were those who were evangelical about how great they were and those who warned me it was worse than looking after a baby. As you may have noticed, I am not a baby person, so this was a warning I took seriously. Eventually, the rest of them talked me round. I had strict conditions though. I would choose the type of dog, because I would be home with it all day. Everyone would contribute to caring for the dog. We would all be on the same page when it came to what the dog was and wasn’t allowed to do and I was the one who would be writing that page.
We’ve now had the puppy, who is called Baxter Ezra Pheonix (because, why give him one name when you can have three) for about 10 days so I thought I’d report on how it does in fact compare to early parenthood. Here are the ways having a puppy is like having a baby.
You Bring Them Home and then aren’t Quite sure what to do Next
Do you remember bringing your newborn baby home from hospital. You carry them across the threshold in their car seat, put them down and think “now what?” The same happened when we brought Baxter home. You wait and wait for that special day to come and then are at a loss.
They sleep a lot, but not at convenient times
I have been amazed how much this puppy sleeps. Apparently spending 20 hours a day with your eyes closed is as normal for an 8 week old puppy as it is for an 8 day old baby. Like babies though, the puppy seems to prefer the four hours they spend awake to be in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. At least when you wake up with a baby in the night you don’t have to take it in the garden. Stumbling around in the dark trying to work out if the puppy has peed yet while trying not to stand on slugs really isn’t where I want to be at 3am.
You are obsessed with their toilet habits
Yep, I’m back to looking up types of poo on the internet. So far I’ve googled, “how hard should puppy poo be”, “should puppies make a noise when they are pooing” and “how often should a puppy wee”. Pretty much the same stuff I googled when Boy Child was born (replacing the world puppy with baby, of course).
They prefer to be on your lap
As I write this, Baxter is currently asleep on my lap. While he has not one, but two perfectly comfy dog beds, like a baby, her prefers a warm human. Luckily I love my sofa so will be embracing this excuse to spend more time on it.
Everyone wants to cuddle them
Just like when you have a baby, everyone you know (and some people you don’t really know) want a cuddle. And just like when you have a baby, they’re out of the door when it’s time to clear up the poo.
The Cat won’t like it
One of the cat’s we had when the children were born really hated them. So much in fact, that she ended up going to live with my mum. I think our current cat may be considering following in her footsteps. She’s actually coping better than I imagined but I suspect if the offer of a dog free house was on the table she might take it.
Leaving the house will become difficult
I’ve already lost count of the number of times I’ve made a plan to do something then thought “What about Baxter?”. At least you can take babies most places with you. Even a trip to the shops is tricky during the puppy phase. I hear John Lewis are now allowing dogs so I might just have to do all my shopping there.
They need something every time you sit down
Just as when your baby senses your bum hitting the sofa with a hot cup of tea in hand it demands attention, puppy will urgently need a wee as soon as you’ve got settled. While a baby’s nappy change might be able to wait 5 minutes, a puppy’s need to wee is much like a toddler’s, any delay and it’s on the rug.
All in all, I’d say that while it has its similarities to having a newborn, having a puppy isn’t as bad. He poos (almost) exclusively outside, so no poonamis, he eats his food from a bowl on the floor so no marathon breastfeeding sessions and he doesn’t have colic so spends his evenings snuggled on sofa instead of screaming the place down. Now if he will just stop confusing my hands with his chew toys, we’ll be all good.
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