A new bundle of joy

Andrea Nelson, Contributing writer


A new bundle of joy

My wife and I became new parents two weeks ago to a healthy, five-pound, four-legged bundle of joy that’s keeping us up at night and going through the developmental stages right before our eyes.
I was the instigator to bringing home another fur baby. We had just moved into a new home, out in the country, where there’s plenty of space for the new puppy to roam with our older dog.
I could tell our older dog, Lucy, definitely needed a companion beyond her three feline siblings. Whenever we would go somewhere where she got to play with another dog, or had people over with their dogs, Lucy was in heaven. She would play until she was worn out and be completely content. But, the aftermath for the next couple of days was not as enjoyable to watch. She would mope around the house and be distant. She seemed sad and bored with life.
I kept saying it was because she needed a full-time friend. So, we set out, (err, I set out.) to find one for her.
We went back and forth on whether to get a puppy or an older dog. Regardless, we knew it would come from a rescue. Rescues are so important and help so many people find their forever fur babies and the fur babies find their forever homes.
Our oldest cat, Daniel, is a rescue, as is Lucy, who came from a rescue in Iowa where they knew virtually nothing about her. She was two years old, they thought when we adopted her. They also thought she was a beagle-foxhound mix. I think they got this right because it fits her personality.
They knew she could climb fences. They didn’t know she was a master Houdini who could also open doors, hit garage door buttons to let herself in and out, or the many other skills we’ve learned about her over the years.
After having her for four years, she still escapes every harness known to man, gets into trouble, exhibits bad habits that drive us crazy, and suffers from terrible separation anxiety from time to time. But we love her and all her quirks. Life just wouldn’t be the same without her.
Given that we did not know Lucy’s background when we rescued her, we weren’t sure we wanted to travel down that road again.
So, we decided to adopt a puppy.
We’ve both raised puppies before - when we were both much younger. We felt raising this one from a young age would help keep it from having the bad habits and separation issues, which Lucy can’t seem to overcome despite our efforts.
We knew what to expect with a puppy. This wasn’t going to be that bad.
Recently, a co-worker told me about his puppy experience after their adoption a few months ago. I listened to his stories about how training has been going and how, even now, he’s reading practically every puppy article he can get his hands on and watching every YouTube video out there on how to raise, and train, a puppy.
I thought he was going a little overboard, and that it couldn’t be that difficult. Afterall, I’ve done it before.
I got this.
I’m not going to need to read articles or watch videos.
It’s going to be a piece of cake.
While I held our new eight-week-old addition in my lap on the ride home from the rescue, as my wife drove, I was already looking up articles - everything from how much to feed her, to how to help her not develop separation anxiety and more.
I felt like I was bringing a newborn child from the hospital.
We even made a stop at the pet store to pick up supplies we’d forgotten: a puppy playpen, potty training pads, etc.
There’s a commercial on television where the couple is looking at diapers and throws a bunch of boxes in the cart. I felt like that with puppy pads. I figured a small pack would be enough but decided to go with the extra-large pack, just in case.
We’ve already gone through half of the pack.
It’s only been two weeks.
Did I mention sleepless night?
That first night after bringing her home was sleepless, to say the least. We both felt like we had a newborn child. We thought the puppy, whose name is Sophie, would calm down and eventually go to sleep.
Wrong, again!
After four hours of constant crying and whimpering, I decided enough was enough. I picked up Sophie, went to the recliner, and held her. She quickly fell asleep, as did I. She didn’t make a peep the rest of the night.
Night number two was a little better. But even Lucy had enough of the crying and whimpering. She came to my side of the bed with a look on her face like, “Mom, make it stop.”
Sophie and I again slept in the recliner.
By the third night, Sophie did better and lasted longer in her kennel. Every night gets a little better. Now she’s able to sleep through the night - in her bed - without crying and carrying on.
We are ALL thankful that part of the puppy development stage has passed.
And Lucy’s overall mood since bringing the little one home? It’s dramatically improved.
Despite the major size difference, she’s playing and seems to enjoy life a whole lot more than before.
That’s a win worth taking any day.


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