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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.