Tag Archives: Pet

Oh, Baby

The past three weeks have been a blur.  We have the new puppy, I have been working insane hours (not as in a lot of hours, only about 45 per week, but just really strange and varying times), and I have barely seen my husband.  When one is home, the other is away.  This works out great for the puppy, but not so well for my sanity.

I have found myself swinging back and forth between elation at this new, fuzzy, loving creature in our care and what I can only describe as post-puppy depression.  The puppy’s constant need for attention and love does not pair well with the 3 hours of sleep I have been getting each night.  Add to that the demands of being the only one home when I am here coupled with an I-never-get-to-see-my-husband level of loneliness and it’s a recipe for frustration.  I think I’m losing my mind.

Here’s an example of my recent daily schedule:

1. Fall asleep around midnight or 1 am because I am a night owl and just cannot fall asleep any earlier than that no matter how hard I try.

2. Kick my husband awake at 3 am when the puppy is whining to go out hoping he won’t recall the kicking part and that he’ll think it was the puppy that woke him up.  Promptly fall back asleep as bleary-eyed husband shuffles outside with the dog.

3. Blindly slap at the off button on my alarm clock at 4:57 am.

4.  Stumble to the bathroom, trying not to wake the dog or the husband. Dress in the dark.  Go to try and kiss the husband goodbye, run into post on bed.  Swear loudly waking up both dog and husband.

5. Apologize to now fuming confused husband and whiny puppy as I scramble out the door.

6. Trudge through 8 1/2 hours at work.

7. Drive home.

8. Kiss husband in garage as I arrive and he leaves.

9. Walk inside look at the dog, look at the bed, look at the dog.  Sigh.

10. Feed the dog.

11. Take dog outside.  Praise her lavishly for peeing.  Run inside to get the treat I forgot to bring out.  Return to find the dog eating landscaping bark. Remove bark from dog’s mouth, try to interest her in a tennis ball.  Dog looks at me like I am crazy, jumps up and grabs another piece of bark. Repeat process.  Try to coax dog inside using the treat, chance of success 50%.  If the plan fails, give up and physically carry the dog inside.

12. Sit down, realizing how tired I am.  Dog is immediately by my side with a toy.  Play with dog.

13. Repeat step 11.

14. Come inside and sigh in relief as the dog lays down for a nap.  Try to relax.  Fall asleep.  Wake up in a panic 40 minutes later to realize the dog has peed on the floor.  Sigh.  Repeat step 11 and clean carpeting.

15. Husband gets home, give him a half-hearted kiss, tell him I’m going to bed.  Lay there fruitlessly trying to fall asleep for 2 hours until he and the dog come to bed.  Finally fall asleep around midnight or 1 am.

16. Slap off alarm at 4:57 am.

The one thought that keeps going through my head in the midst of all of this craziness is “how do parents do it?”  I can barely handle a dog and she can be crated when necessary.  What do people do when there is a little person in your life that is even more demanding that a puppy?  I just cannot imagine finding the time and energy for a baby.  And I know there is still plenty of time, it’s not at all that I feel I need to do anything about it now.  I guess I just worry that maybe it’s something that will never feel convenient.  And then again, why should it?  There is nothing at all convenient about changing any part of your routine and having to make allowances for others, but in the end they say it is worth it.  And while I will say that every parent I know somehow makes it work, and eventually manage to return to some level of normalcy, I just really don’t think we’re there yet.  I like my sleep (and the puppy will sleep through the night sooner rather than later) and I like my quiet, orderly life.   For now I think a puppy is about as much as we can and want to handle.


It’s a Dog’s Life

"Saffron In The Snow" photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jsmjr/98710020/

“A dog’s life” is a phrase meaning a “wretched existence .”*  I beg to differ.

We are in the process of adopting a puppy.  A puppy who will be brought into our home with the same fanfare and preparation that would normally greet an infant of the human persuasion.  We have been looking at baby blankets (because we want to give the dog something soft for its crate that carries out scent), purchased baby gates, researched food (which if you buy organic for yourself and give no thought to what is in your dog’s food I highly recommend you do some reading on the subject), and have purchased toys, collars, and leashes.  We have read “The Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook” which is the canine equivalent to “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”  Names have been discussed and debated.  I have scoured Ebay for dog crates, looked at Orvis for dog safety restraints (for the car) as well as portable nylon crates, and have even planned an idyllic summer road trip to visit my grandmother and allow our puppy-to-be the ability to splash around in Lake Michigan.  This is going to be one pampered pooch.

And my pup will not be alone in her lap of luxury, in fact the lengths that my husband and I are willing to go to for our “fluffy ball of love” might be considered down right poverty level by some standards.  According to BusinessWeek, “Americans now spend $41 billion a year on their pets—more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world. That’s double the amount shelled out on pets a decade ago, with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years, according to Packaged Facts, a consumer research company based in Rockville, Md. That puts the yearly cost of buying, feeding, and caring for pets in excess of what Americans spend on the movies ($10.8 billion), playing video games ($11.6 billion), and listening to recorded music ($10.6 billion) combined.”**  If you take the time to do a little online shopping you can easily see how that much money can be spent.  I found dog beds that cost $1300 and marble bowls for $360 (they put my $24 Pottery Barn dog bowls to shame).  If you are in the market for a pet psychologist they can be commissioned for the same hourly cost as a human therapist.  And training, well that’s not as simple and inexpensive as buying a book these days; for the low, low cost of $600 you can have Bark Busters come into your home for about 6 weeks of one-on-one help with your four legged friend.  One only has to see a chihuahua residing in a designer bag on Paris Hilton’s arm to know that there are people in this world with the disposable income and questionable sense required to spend that kind of money.  But then again, who am I to talk?  Who knows what I would do with millions of dollars in the bank.

And so while the sad reality is that not every dog is given the comfort of a loving home, there are more and more dogs and cats that are living a very comfortable existence.  I would say for the majority, living a “dog’s life” is really not a bad way to go.

* Source: wordreference.com, The Collins English Dictionary

** Click  The Pet Economy for the BusinessWeek article in its entirety.