Random Musings

An Unexpected Rant

Hello, lovelies!

So, some of you may know, from all the hinting that has been going on (not very subtly) on this blog, usually during my weekly updates these past few months that have been absent pretty much all summer I am so sorry, that something pretty awesome and incredible and life-changing happened on June 29th.

We, um, got a puppy.

Dovahkiin
Say hello to the newest member of my family, Dovahkiin. ❤

Let me preface this with the fact that I am a HUGE dog lover. My family adopted a two year old golden when I was a kid and I grew up with that dog. I love Harley almost more than anything. She was with us until I was a sophomore in high school and died of cancer, but damn, did I love that dog. We got another golden when I was in college and he has brought so much joy in my life. I’ve called Shadow my best friend multiple times and I mean it every time.

So, even at a young age, I knew I wanted a dog of my own. I planned to get one right out of high school, once I moved to college, but then I lived in the dorms all four years. And then I lived with my parents for a while, before moving into an apartment that didn’t have a backyard. And I really couldn’t justify *not* giving my dog a backyard to play in, though I know it’s totally plausible. So I waited two more years.

Practically, almost ten years of waiting for the right environment, the right living situation, the right financial situation, before I could finally, finally, call myself a dog owner.

I love her. I love this little pup with all of my heart.

But, honestly friends?

This first week has been…really, really rough.

And I’m struggling.

But I feel like I can’t say I’m struggling, because then I’m a horrible person. Or I’m not truly a dog lover. Or that it was wrong of me to get a puppy or that I’m a failure. But I’ve cried almost every night, sometimes, panic-induced bawling. Fuck, I’m crying writing this post.

I’m beyond fucking exhausted.

No photo description available.
Her first photo ever taken!

Basically, the memories I have raising Shadow at home was inaccurate and nothing compared to raising Dovah (especially since my parents did most of it). I expected to have to run around after her all the time. I expected some high vet bills to start out, with getting her vaccinated. I expected late night trips to take her out to the bathroom, house training accidents and lots of biting while she teeths.

I got all of those.

What I didn’t expect was her to still hate her crate after being home for ten days. I didn’t expect her to cry and scream like she’s getting hurt each time we put her in there at night and it takes over thirty minutes for her to calm down. I didn’t expect to have to sleep on the floor the first few nights to get her to sleep at all. I didn’t expect to have to take her out every 45 minutes religiously, from 10pm to 6am. I didn’t expect to only get roughly four hours of sleep a night.

I didn’t expect to feel regret. To feel inept. To feel like I am completely out of my depth, like maybe I should have tried to adopt an older dog.

I love this puppy. I am so excited for all of our adventures. I’m excited to go to the dog park, on car rides, to take daily walks together once she’s leash trained. I’m excited to take her to baseball games and the Renaissance Faire and doggo play dates. I’m excited for her to curl up by my feet when I write, give me the stare when I eat food, for her to travel and see the world with us.

But right now, I’m struggling.

A lot.

No photo description available.
She loves you almost as much as she loves peanut butter.

I don’t do well on little sleep. I expected to get interrupted sleep, of course, but I didn’t expect her to hate her crate so much. I didn’t expect to suddenly not be able to clean, to have to shower or eat in shifts, to not be able to play my PlayStation at all, because I’m always chasing after her when I’m not at work. And if she takes a nap, you bet I’m taking one right beside her. I didn’t expect it to be so stress to try and balance schedules so we can make sure she gets let out and isn’t in the crate for too long while we’re at work.

I just…didn’t expect a lot, I guess.

So, I’m basically just an exhausted, emotional mess right now. I struggle to focus at work or doing other things, because I’m so tired (and I’m the type of person who needs 8-9 hours regularly to function). I struggle with the fact that I AM a dog person, yet I feel like a fraud because this puppy is stressing me out so much. I struggle with knowing that we’re doing everything we can do it all right, but at the same time, only time will help her learn, help her grow and help everything settle down.

No photo description available.
Her sleeping: something she only does whenever I *have* to stay awake.

But right now, it just feels hopeless and impossible and I am tired. Even though I know it’s not. I know things will get better. I know we’ll sleep again and I know she will be worth EVERY SECOND of lost sleep, because she’s going to be my best friend for the next dozen years. But, I think, even though I’m ashamed of how I’m feeling, it’s important to be honest about this stage of the journey, too. Because it’s so easy to post a cute photo and think everything is wonderful, even there are so many layers, so many more elements, that others might not be aware.

So, I’m sorry if I’m behind on something. Or if I don’t respond right away. Or if I break down crying randomly because my eyes just bloody hurt and I just want to take a fucking nap. I’m just queen of struggling right now and I will praise both the old gods and the new when she stops freaking out in her kennel and sleeps in stretches of three to four hours at a time.

When she sleeps through the entire night?

I will rejoice beyond measure.

Cheers.

PS: One good thing, when I get up with her between 5am and 6am, is that I take her out, then feed her and then we hang out most of the morning in the backyard for a few hours, before I have to go to work. While she sniffs around, I’ve been reading and I usually get to read a solid 200ish pages before work, so my reading count is skyrocketing. And, I have a new pupper best friend, so there are positives. Even if I’m struggling to really see them, right now.

PPS: Other wonderful thing? My boyfriend, who has been so much more positive and encouraging and shouldering a lot of the night shifts to help me get a little extra sleep. I couldn’t do this without him and he is incredible.

20 thoughts on “An Unexpected Rant”

  1. You’ll get through it! I’ve only had pets in family situations (ie, still living with my parents and siblings) so I’ve never had to adjust to being the primary caretaker for a fluffy bundle of joy and disaster. But I will say that when we adopted two 18-month-old cats (after already having two small dogs), we went through a very rough few days of adapting our brains to how cats behave and what they can get into (surprise! putting things on the kitchen table was no longer a guarantee of safety) that there was a half second where the idea was floated we were in over our heads and we should return them to the shelter. That idea was quickly kaboshed, we survived, and the family cats have been with my parents for almost ten years.

    You are not a horrible person, you are just a very TIRED person who is literally taking care of a baby. He’ll grow up and you’ll get this behind you and one day you will finally remember what a good night’s sleep is. 🙂

    1. Oh gosh, yes, I totally understand about the cat thing! My boyfriend has two cats and I’d never had cats before, so that was SUCH an adjustment to learn how they act.

      Thank you for your confidence and kind words, love. It really means the world. ❤

  2. Awww puppies are a LOT of work, just like having a baby! Maybe she shouldn’t be a “crate” dog, just saying. If I had a dog that cried about being in a crate, I think I’d give up on that. I’m not a fan of crates anyway. Both my dogs are “sleep in the bed” dogs🤣🤣🤣 Just give it some more time, you will have a wonderful dog soon, and you’ll forget about all the sleep you lost. My pups took 5-6 weeks to settle down and sleep all night.

    1. They are! Well, after a really rough night Wednesday night, we let her slept in the living room (because she didn’t want to sleep in the bed) with one of us on the sofa the past two nights and that has gone a LOT better. We still have to crate her when we’re at work and she hates it, but I’m not sure of another solution until she’s fully house trained. :/ But I do hope she starts to sleep in our room with us, one day!

  3. She’s so cute! And yes, a new puppy takes patience from reserves you would never in a million years would believe you could tap into. Have you tried fully covering the crate at night – that always worked for our beagle? Something in the crate with a heartbeat like sound (old fashioned alarm clock with a loud ticking sound, for example) is also supposed to work.

    1. Gosh, you nailed that one, absolutely! Yep, we’ve tried pretty much everything you could possibly we can think of, honestly, including those you so wonderfully suggested (thank you for those tips!!). She just hates it and I think we have to result in non-crate-training, going forward.

  4. I’m going to tell you something which probably sounds trite, but it is completely true. It will get better. I promise you. I have two dogs, and when we got the first one, he was perfect when it comes to behavior and training. So perfect that when we got his sister, I thought it would be just as easy. But no, she had issues (still does) and was a handful from the start. She could only eat prescription dog food and anything else gave her diarrhea and of course we didn’t figure this out until multiple trips to the vet. So for like two or three weeks I would have to take her out into the freezing cold (it was winter at the time) every 20 minutes and watch her cry as she took painful poops. I didn’t get enough sleep and got really sick and still had to take care of both dogs through bad flu and illness. She didn’t like her crate either, but I just had to just tell myself it was necessary because I just can’t have dog pee and diarrhea and chewed up things all over my house on top of everything that was on my plate.

    And now, I look back at those times and I smile at how I was so worried but everything turned out fine. If I’m to be honest, having kids a few years later after that caused me way more anxiety and lack of sleep. All those emotions you’re describing sounds very similar to what I felt when I had my first baby – feelings of inadequacy, like I’m a failure, depression…I know it seems impossible, but you CAN get through this! You’re stronger than you think! The important thing is take care of yourself and set up a routine. I know it’s easier said than done but try not to stress over every little thing or you will drive yourself crazy – keep telling yourself that this will pass. I hope you feel better soon! Once you get over those first difficult weeks, I am sure you will!

    1. Oh, Mogsy, thank you so, so much. Reading your comment made me feel both so seen and heard and that really means a lot. It’s hard, sometimes, to remember that it WILL get better and all of this will be a distant memory in the future, one day. But hearing that others have dealt with similar struggles and have gotten through it is always so comforting to hear. So I appreciate that more than you know!

  5. You’re not alone, it’s totally normal to feel exhausted. When we got Merlin he was demanding, needy, and misbehaving. He meowed all the time and hated being left for even a second. He’d bite me and I’d burst into tears thinking he hated me (apparently this is playful kitten behaviour and he’s slowly learning boundaries: like when I’m writing in a notebook not to attack my hand!). I don’t feel like I can talk about the hard times, because I have a kitten and I should love every moment, right? But honestly it’s been trying, but it’s also brought out the best in me, because when he’s cute and cuddly I just melt 🙂
    Thankfully, after a couple of months, he’s settling. He doesn’t meow much anymore and I don’t get attacked every day. Partner had to keep reminding me that he’s just a kitten, far from home and trying to settle in to us just as much as we are to him.
    There were times I wished I’d listened to my sister and got an older cat, but I’m slowly learning what works to correct unwanted behaviour. He tried to eat off our plates at first, but we raised a hand to him like a barrier and ignored him: He soon wandered away bored! Consistency is key 🙂
    Have you tried puppy proofing a room and shutting him in there instead of the crate? He might cope better with a bit of room to roam. Merlin has free run of our living room, although it was a ton of work to secure wires etc and cats use litter trays so toilet training isn’t an issue!

    1. Thank you so much for this, Louise. That really means the world. I’m sorry Merlin was such a handful, but I am SO GLAD to hear that he is finally settling in!! And I appreciate you talking about you also feared to discuss your struggles, because you have this new adorable pet!? How can you struggle? But I think it’s so important to talk about these kinds of things, because we *are* expected to just be head over heels in love, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t hardships and struggling involved. My boyfriend is also constantly reminding me that she is a puppy and she is going to make mistakes and not be as well trained as a dog would be. And we will get there!

      Thank you so much, Louise. Your words meant the world. ❤

      1. You’re welcome ❤
        I might make a new kitten owners post with tips and what to expect, because I found very little mentioning the harder things! Because you're right, it's important to talk about the positives and negatives, so people know what to expect and feel less alone when things are challenging. Merlin's been such a sweety lately, although he still has his mad moments!
        I really hope she's settling in a little more now 🙂

  6. Oh Nicole thank you for being so honest with your experience and I’m so sorry it has been so tough and tiring for you. I never had a dog, let alone a puppy so unfortunately I don’t have any advice, but I’m sending you all of the love and positive thoughts and hope that everything will go smoothly and that your adorable new puppy will settle into his new home as soon as possible and then, adventures and awesomeness will be there for your little family ❤ ❤

    1. Gosh, I wasn’t expecting it to be this hard! And, of course, I keep doing the comparing game and thinking, “Well, X friend got a puppy and they were doing Y by this time, so why am I such a failure when Dovah isn’t doing this yet?” But, at the same time, I have to remember that this is a PUPPY who is still learning and will grow out a lot of the habits I don’t like and we’ll train her out of others. It just takes time and a ton of patience.

      Thank you for all the love and just listening, also. That means just as much as any advice. ❤ ❤ ❤ I hope life is treating you wonderfully!!!

      1. I get that, it’s so easy to compare with others, but your puppy has her own journey just as well and it will be alright, I’m certain of it. sending you all the positive vibes ❤

  7. Puppies are so very very hard. With every dog we’ve had there have been moments of deep regret. What are we even doing? This will never work! Should we return her?
    Please don’t beat yourself up for feeling this way. It will get better. It will work out. Hang in there.

    1. Thank you so much, Marniy! I am definitely struggling with it, but I am hopeful it will get better! Just ready for her to be house trained and start sleeping through the night.

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