Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Becoming a mommy

They say owning a dog is good practice for becoming a parent. Well, in the first 2 weeks of having our pup, I must have said to my husband "we're never having children" about 100 times.

Don't get me wrong; this was the most incredibly adorable creature I'd ever laid eyes on. He made it damn near impossible for someone who works from home to get any work done. Suddenly, strangely, my husband and I morphed into baby-talking parents, and were calling each other "mommy" and "daddy"....

But as any puppy owner can attest to, the 3am walks, the peeing accidents in every single corner of carpet, the constant need for attention lest he swallow some disgusting or dangerous thing he'd found on the ground, the clumsy and spastic leash walking can add up. I couldn't get out of the shower or put on body lotion without being licked to death; putting on pants was a unique challenge with a puppy hanging off a pantsleg. I became (to my horror) accustomed to fishing out used tissues from my puppy's mouth. While every dog owner I met on the street told me to enjoy this time because it all went too quickly, all I could think was, "Good! I can't wait to have my well-behaved adult dog!" Lack of sleep was adding up. How do parents do it?

But, actually, Captain was an amazingly easy puppy. Within 2 weeks I was complaining no longer- no more middle of the night walks, no more potty accidents. Crate training? What training was involved? He loved his crate... despite a little whining on his first night, he had no problem sleeping in there and going right in when we told him. He learned fast. I credit his superior intellect and impeccible trainability to his wonderful breed- Vizslas are just such darn great dogs.

Vizslas are also known for their "velcro dog" behavior. Velcro indeed. He never left my side. I'd sit down at my desk, Captain would plop down with his head resting on my feet. But each time I got up to fill my water glass, get more coffee, grab my phone, or even go to the bathroom, he followed. And every time he laid back down, he'd give me this little look, like, "Ok, mom, can we just stay here now?"
Early on, Captain found out what a push-over his mommy was. We have a number of very fun little pet stores just in the neighborhood (Furry Tales and South Paw), and one day when Captain was just about 9 weeks old I brought him in to Furry Tales to look around. He proceeded to pick a giant plush blue bone right off the shelf, as if to say, "Mommy, I want this one!" The thing was as big as he was, and blue, so I couldn't resist. Captain was on his way to being spoiled puppy.

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