by Kerry Rivera
With the holidays upon us, it’s a safe bet a number of kids will soon be asking Santa, Mom, Dad … anyone who will listen … for a pet. A new puppy, a cute kitten, a hamster – “I promise I’ll take care of it everyday! It’s the only thing I really want! Pleeeaaaasse!”
I love that my kids love animals. They want to learn everything about them, and respect the beauty they bring to our world, but … (you knew a “but” had to be coming) think very carefully about whether or not you’re ready for a new addition to your family. I know I’ve read those articles about “animals reducing stress in your life,” but I’m not so sure these studies took into account the crazy lives of moms.
We’ve had our not-so-little-anymore golden retriever for about five months now – we brought her home at the beginning of the summer after much begging from my five-year-old – and I can tell you that any state of Zen I used to have has certainly be chewed to shreds – like a number of things in my house.
To be fair, I do love dogs and spent most of my childhood with a furry friend, so I was eager to add a four-legged little girl to our household. But to be fair to my own parents, I now realize they did most of the work when it came to caring for our numerous pets. They did the housebreaking, the training and certainly paid the endless bills – for the animal, as well as the destruction that comes with it.
Now, however, the dog responsibilities all rest with me and my husband – and boy did we underestimate the challenges of a new puppy. The housebreaking was easy, but our puppy, Zoey, has enough energy to run us all over. She digs … a lot. She’s chewed through phone wires, fountain cords, stucco, shoes, her dog bed, rose bushes, palm leaves … and super heroes have nothing on my canine. She’s taken out multiple Transformers, Ninja Turtles and Marvel characters. Add in my two-year-old son to the mix, and let’s just say there’s a definite battle for the alpha spot. At 60 pounds, Zoey wins.
We’ve taken her to puppy kindergarten, had a dog trainer visit our house, invested in multiple pet gadgets to keep her occupied. Guess what? Nothing seems to work. Does anyone know the Dog Whisperer? I want him as a Christmas gift this year – to live with us forever and ever until my puppy chills out. Is there such a thing as puppy Ritalin? We try to walk her in the morning and run her in the evening. In fact, I’ve started to measure the success of my days by whether or not Zoey collapses on our kitchen floor after a hard run. There, I beat you dog. Take that!
But her puppy energy is endless. And they say puppyhood can run rampant for two to three years. What?!
I imagine someday we’ll all look back on these moments and laugh, but seriously, I’m not even close to laughing yet. It’s probably comedic to watch my household get ready in the morning with the dog trying to snatch the microwave pancakes off the table, go outside to sneak in a good dig, and then come back inside with dirty paws to jump on my kids and steal their socks.
Of course we already love her to pieces, so we’re stuck with her now. But take this info to heart if you’re considering adding a new pet to your home this holiday season. Be ready for chaos! You’ve been warned.