We are just about a week away from bringing a puppy home and I would be lying if I said I was not a little bit nervous. Every dog we have had up to this point was taken in from either a rescue (like the Greyhound we adopted directly from the racing track) or from families that could not or did not want to care for them anymore (Jake and Daphne). We have never had a puppy.
I hope we have done all the right things. I read The Monks of New Skete’s book: The Art of Raising A Puppy. Grace has read countless books and has benefitted from mini-lessons on what to do from her boss at the kennel. We are puppy proofing. We are clearing out the back kennel area so he has a designated bathroom spot (Daph stopped using this area ages ago when she decided she preferred the feel of grass to the kennel decking). We still have to get his food, return the crate we bought for a larger one, and finish puppy proofing. Our puppy obedience class is scheduled to begin the week after he comes home.
This feeling of nervous anticipation is similar to that of late pregnancy. Even though I feel prepared I know I am not going to be prepared for the actual work involved in caring for an 8 week old dog. I don’t relish the idea of getting up in the middle of the night, or waking up at 5:30 to be up when Greg leaves for work. I already drag myself out of bed at 6:00am to get the day started. Now there will be a morning and an afternoon walk added to my day (or the girl’s days). The girls will learn some harsh lessons about leaving things on the ground, like they did when Jake ate up several Barbie limbs. I pray there is no furniture chewing and I pray there is not too much indoor piddling. This dog will be one more thing that beckons for my constant time and attention.
Despite this, I am excited. Really excited. This dog came to us not as the result of children begging and pleading, giving me their own versions of puppy dog eyes. The girls accepted my previous thinking that after Jake passed and left us wrecked with grief, we would let Daphne live out her days as an only dog. This was my undertaking. I missed the companionship of a large dog. I missed the comfort of his protection. I missed the goofy playmate. I missed my girls having a canine best friend. I missed the romps in the yard and the big nose pressed up against the window welcoming us home. I missed the big bark signaling the arrival of Greg from the train. I missed the soft paws sneaking up the stairs on Saturday to wake us up. I missed saying “Get Grace up” and watching him fly upstairs to pounce on her bed. I missed my girls snuggling on the couch. I missed their faces filled with love. I missed that shove or nudge that always came just when you needed it most.
We are almost ready to welcome Crosby home. We have spent the last 8 weeks wondering what he would look like, act like, feel like, smell like, play like and love like. It is almost time to find out.