As with babies, people make a lot of comments before you get a puppy. I received so many incredulous looks at the school gate, and comments such as “WHY would you want to do that?!”, like getting a puppy was akin to inflicting some sort of torture upon my family.
And yes, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. But welcoming Bertie into our family has already enhanced our lives tenfold.
So, for those of you thinking about getting a puppy, I thought I’d put together a handy list of truths. May I present nine things no one tells you about having a puppy:
1. It’s not like having a newborn baby.
Prior to getting Bertie, I think almost everyone I spoke to said: “Having a puppy is just like having a newborn baby”… and I guess I see where they’re coming from. However, I would liken it more to having a furry toddler who isn’t really ready for potty training yet, but you’ve given into pressure and have started… with disastrous consequences. In the first month of Bertie living with us there was SO much poo and wee all over the house. He’s improved considerably now though. Thank goodness.
2. In fact, a puppy is much easier than a newborn baby.
Anyone who likens having a puppy to having a newborn has not had a newborn (or a dog) before – or at least not for a very long time. Having a puppy is SO much easier than having a newborn baby. For the first 10 months of H-Bear’s life, I didn’t get more than 4 hours sleep in one go. Bertie has only had us up a handful of times in the night.
3. Hello toilet audience!
You may never go to the toilet alone again. Bertie is my shadow and follows me everywhere! Make sure you have a collection of dog toys in the bathroom.
4. Don’t throw out the baby toys!
Baby toys make perfect dog toys; they’re well made without tiny parts that could be swallowed, and have lots of different textures for exploring and development. I was very thankful that I hadn’t started my baby toy clear-out, as it’s given Bertie so many things to play with.
5. Everything is a phase.
As with having children – everything is a phase… and each phase passes quickly. For example, it didn’t take Bertie long to learn which toys were his, and which were the children’s. Although he still likes to wind H-Bear up by taking his cuddly toys!
6. Beware the cold-hearted.
Don’t expect everyone to fall in love with your puppy. This really surprised me! Obviously I think Bertie is adorable and that everyone will love him like we do, but we were out for a walk last weekend and a very rude (rather grumpy) lady called him a ‘fluffball’ and was quite disapproving of him.
7. It’s a great way to meet the neighbours… and everyone who owns a dog (and/or loves dogs) in the village!
Dog walks with a puppy are slow… because the happy (non-grumpy) dog walkers want to stop and say ‘hello’ to your new addition.
8. Why is there not a canine NHS?
You will find yourself appreciating the NHS so much more. Vets bills are so expensive! Bertie hurt his leg this week and it’s made me really appreciate our free human healthcare.
9. It’s the best thing you can do for your family.
There are moments when I wonder what on earth possessed us to get a dog (usually when Bertie poos somewhere he shouldn’t, or finds another foam bath letter), but those moments are outnumbered by the truly magical family times with him. We’ve already been for so many lovely walks, and explored local places we hadn’t been before – and this is just the beginning!