by Risa Green
Oh, boy. What did we do? Finally, I had my life in some kind of normal, calm, ordered place. My kids are in school full time and I have plenty of hours to work while they’re gone. I haven’t changed a diaper in almost three years. My daughter empties the dishwasher and gets her own breakfast. My son can stay occupied for hours with a box of Legos. When we travel cross country, my kids can entertain themselves for the entire six hour flight. On weekends, they both sleep until eight o’clock, sometimes even nine. Finally, it’s easy again. I would even go so far as to say that right now, it’s awesome. So what do we do? We go out and get ourselves a puppy and ruin the whole damn thing.
Okay, okay, before you start calling PETA on me, I love the little guy. I do. We’ve had him (Wookie is his name, courtesy of my son) for four days now, and he’s the sweetest, cutest, yummiest little ball of fur you’ve ever seen. He’s not too hyper, he’s not aggressive, he likes kids, yadda, yadda, yadda. But still, he’s a lot of work. He wakes up in the middle of the night needing to go out, he poops and pees all over the floor, he chews on my shoelaces, he bites my kids’ toes, and he howls whenever we leave him alone for more than ten seconds.
Now, of course, I knew it was going to be like this. I really did. We’ve had a puppy once before, and I remember how much attention she required. Or at least, I thought I remembered. The truth is, though, I really don’t remember at all. But that’s probably because I worked full time back then and didn’t have kids, and my husband used to come home from work in the middle of the day to take her for a walk, and all I did was kind of pet her and feed her dinner. Which brings me to my next issue, which is that, since I’m the one who’s home all day, this time around, I’m the one who gets to feed him, walk him, train him and entertain him, while everyone else does pretty much nothing. Literally. For example, on Saturday mornings, I always sleep in until nine, and my husband gets up with the kids (we switch on Sundays). So this past Saturday morning, my husband got up with the kids and the dog, and I slept in. Except that when I came into the kitchen at nine oh-six, I found huge piles of poop on the floor, my daughter watching tv on the couch, the puppy attacking a chenille blanket in the den, and my husband and son downstairs in the playroom playing Lego Star Wars  on the Wii.
They say that couples tend to fight the most just after having a baby, but nobody tells you that the same rule applies to getting a puppy. So here, allow me: Couples fight a lot after getting a puppy. Especially when one half of the couple does everything and the other half thinks that telling a seven year-old to ‘watch the dog’ counts as doing something. In fact, after getting a puppy, some couples even stop speaking to each other for an entire day.
Look, I know that one day, Wookie will be a part of our family and that I won’t be able to imagine life without him. I know that one day, my children will stop walking around the house in rain boots in order to protect their toes. I know that in the long run, he’ll bring our family immeasurable amounts of joy, and that a little bit of pain now will ultimately be so worth it a year from now. But in the meantime, I can’t help missing our previous, ten year-old dog, who laid around all day and used a doggie door and spoke English and had no interest in chewing on anything except for whatever my son happened to be eating at the moment. In the meantime, I can’t help but wish that things were like they used to be, when I came and went as I pleased, when I didn’t have to run around the backyard three times a day to tire out my dog, and when I was able to sit in my home office without needing to have a dog tethered to my desk. Which once again begs the question: what did we do?