So we got a dog. We decided at the start of the year we would get a dog this year. The pressure has been on for the last couple of years. The kids wanted a dog. The kids asked repeatedly for a dog. The kids made up imaginary dogs that they brought for walks on imaginary leads. The kids spent a lot of time in the pet aisle in the supermarket choosing what they would buy if they had a dog. The husband wanted a dog. I agreed to get a dog. We done nothing more about it. Then at the start of this month a friend of mine was re-homing a puppy and in the space of 24 hours the puppy was here. Puppy sounds misleading. He was 8 months old when we got him and HUGE.
I did not go into this blind however there were a number of things I did not know about dog ownership
Naming The Dog – Similar to my second daughter, the dog was nameless for a week. Similar to my son when he finally got a name, it was changed again after a day. There were five of us making the decision. We eventually had to go with name in a hat. I won. Then my chosen name was scorned. Back to the drawing board. He finally got a name. I had thought name stress was well behind me. His name is Ted. His second name is Superdog. Ted Superdog and our Surname to give him his full title.
Controlled Crying – The first night he cried. He was confused. He had been living with a lovely family and sleeping on a bed. He didn’t know where he was. I was told by my friend, the dog whisperer, this was to be expected. The husband said the same. We had to apply Gina Ford type rules and let him cry it out. By the third night he was settled. Pretty fecking hard lying in bed though listening to a dog cry.
Dog Poo – I was aware that dog’s poo. I was unaware of how frequently. The dog has an uncanny ability to poo when the husband is not here. The 7-year-old was always the most vocal about getting a dog “Please Mammy can we have a dog” she used to say ” I’ll clean up the poo Mammy” she used to say. Lies. I reminded her of this fact the other day “Maybe when I’m 8 or 14” is her new answer. So I have learnt to breathe through my mouth and mastered the dog waste collection part. Thankfully the dog was fully house trained when we got him, so it could be worse, a lot worse.
Dog Training – The dog had never really been used to being on a lead so we are in the process of training him. Do you know the way you have a baby and the majority of fights you have in the first few months are because you know best and you have to dole out the advise to your partner on how to care for the baby? Yeah well we’ve been there x 3 and although I was equally clueless with our first child, I doled out ALL the advice to the husband. Now its payback. The husband knows about dogs. I don’t. I hold the lead wrong. I dont praise the dog often enough. And on and on it goes. What’s most irritating is it’s all true. I am trying hard to learn but he knows it already. We have not yet fallen out because of the dog. Watch this space though. Anyway training, yep, we are getting there. I’m confident Ted will have nailed the Thriller dance by Christmas.
Other Dogs– We live beside a big green. I have lots of experience at roaring at dog owners who don’t clean up after their dogs. Turns out though I seem to be scared of other dogs. I was out with dog and eldest child one evening. Huge dog, practically a horse comes running up barking at our dog. Owner nowhere to be seen. The 7-year-old is terrified, the dog is terrified, I’m terrified but obviously trying hard not to be. Owner finally appears, I roar at her, she ignores me. It’s all stress. My confidence is gone. Dogs confidence is gone. Nightmare. Took dog to dog park with a friend. I’m terrified of all the other dogs. I’m probably a few years off Crufts. Friend needs to take control of dog and of situation. She reckons I had a scary experience with dogs as a child and counselling will untap it. I’ll be honest if I could afford counselling, Ive fecking shitloads of other issues to be dealing with first before I reach dog issues. Bottom line, I need to get braver and kick ass and possibly get my hands on some pepper spray for added security when dog walking.
Dogs Shed– Again this is something I was aware of but I was not aware of how much. There is dog hair everywhere. Our floors are dark. The dog is almost white. 90% of my wardrobe is black. The dog hairs are almost white. Ironically I spend more time now than I ever have in the past sweeping and hoovering and the house has never looked mankier.
Pet Shops– are a head fuck. You go there to get some small items. The choice is ridiculous. The cost is ridiculous. You see all these things you didn’t think you needed but then you see them and then think you need them. Like when you’re a first time parent and think you need nappy bins or baby wipe warmers. Well the doggy equivalent is all there waiting for you in the huge, warm, smelly pet shop. We spent an hour there before I cracked. I could feel a full on melt down brewing. We all got back into the car, it was quite possibly the hottest day of the year. The pet shop smell was ingrained in our nostrils. The kids were half melted. “Just go back and get the lead we need so we can escape” I said to the husband. He went back and got it. He got a green one. ” I hate green” I reminded him. He went back and changed it. I would have strangled me with the green lead. The pet shop turned me into a horrible person. I am never going back. I will shop online.
Separation Anxiety – There is somebody home most of the time. We went out for a few hours the first week and the dog literally ran around in circles with joy when we returned. He did not leave our sides for hours afterwards. Needy does not even cover it.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- The first two weeks we had the dog the weather was tropical. The dog clearly thought he had emigrated to Spain or Italy and not across the city. Then the rain came. It rained when the dog was home alone for an hour. We have a playhouse outside that we have been encouraging the dog to use. He wont. When I came back I saw what misery looks like. The dog was soaked. He had a demonic mixed look in his eyes that screamed FUCK YOU for leaving me and DEAR JESUS you will not believe what happened me. Again he did not leave my side for hours afterwards. He will not go out in the rain at all since. He’s going to get pretty fat if he wont go for a walk in the rain.Its Ireland. I am not proud but I have Googled rain coats for dogs.
The Research – I like to be informed of things. I research things thoroughly. My free time has become consumed with dog research. The other night the husband roared into me “Jaysus, what were you looking at online” Lets be honest, this conversation usually works the other way round. “Horse and Hound, Horse and Hound, Who are you” he said. I was looking up the nutritional value of the dogs food. I’m a loser.
The Dogs Bollox – An apt saying. I get that now. The dog is still a pup. We have plans to get him neutered next month. The dog went out for a walk with my sister in laws dog. My sisters in laws dog is a whore. She would literally try to get up on a tree. The whore dog stole our dogs innocence and sped up his development into puberty. The dog came home and tried to hump the boy. Just once. But once was enough. I strongly considered renaming the dog Gary Glitter. The dogs operation has been pushed forward and the balls are coming off asap. Of course, the husband has been talking about a vasectomy for 3.5 years and no sign of it. We have the dog a wet week and his operation is planned.
The Kids – The eldest was probably the most vocal in her desire for a dog. She is fond of him but in an absent-minded way. The boy adores him. Runs downstairs to see him every morning. Plays with him. Sits with him. They are best friends, the boy and the dog, already. The youngest loves him too. Sometimes loves him too much. Hugs him in almost aggressive fashion. Lies beside him. Lies on him. Talks to him constantly. Loves him. In her three and half years she has never come downstairs alone in the morning. She wakes up and she wakes up everybody. Last weekend she came downstairs on her own. She let the dog out. We do not know how long they were alone together. The husband came down to find the two of them in a sea of destruction sitting quietly in the sitting room. The dog had eaten the boys shoe and a laptop charger from a borrowed laptop. It could have been worse. We don’t leave the kids alone with the dog bar that one morning when the 3-year-old snuck down to him. There is now a list of dog rules hanging on the fridge about what they can and can’t do with the dog, complete with illustrations. So far so good.
The Dog and I – I have been on the search for adoration all my life and all I had to do was get a dog. He adores me. He already senses my moods. He is lovely. I like him a lot. There is clearly something wrong with me because I feel a greater sense of responsibility owning a dog than having three children . I thought he looked dehydrated last night. ( I don’t actually know what a dehydrated dog looks like) so I photographed him and sent photo to my dog whisperer friend at 11pm. I am sure she was just thrilled with me but in fairness she didn’t laugh . He isn’t dehydrated, he was just dirty which made his eyes look darker. Mortified for myself. Anyway I will calm down. Did I mention he is lovely? Almost a month in now and he is part of the family, it was probably best I didn’t know all of these things a month ago. He seems happy with us too. I’ll post the link to Youtube once he masters Thriller