This, everyone tells you, will be a magical time of play and bonding and you should savour every tail wag and take hundreds of photos.
Now let’s be clear about this, the first few weeks with your new puppy will be a dream-shattering, terror-filled, gin-fuelled fog, and if you are lucky you won’t remember a thing.
PUPPIES VERSUS BABIES
If you listen hard enough you might hear some dog owners admit that getting a new puppy is like having a baby. It’s not. Babies are so much easier:
- they can’t walk
- they certainly can’t run and jump
- they wear nappies
- they don’t have teeth or claws
Having a puppy is like bringing home a freakishly agile toddler you’ve never met before, who misses its mother and can’t understand where its brothers and sisters have gone, enjoys urinating in the hall and defecating in the kitchen, and has an innate and uncontrollable desire to tear at EVERYTHING, but especially your leg, with its unfathomable set of needle-like teeth.
Yes babies cry and it is beyond annoying, but puppies cry too, and not only that, they can howl, whine, yap, growl, bark, and noisily headbutt doors at an impressive tempo of 132 b.p.m. They can also jump onto (and perilously fall off) furniture, dig up (and out of) the garden, and happily digest woods, plastics and metals.
It’s not like having a baby, it’s like having a breakdown.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE?
Due in part to the shock, but largely more because of the gin, it is difficult to remember exactly what went on during this blissful honeymoon period. You certainly didn’t sleep. You do remember this:
But you don’t tell too many people about that. You do Google “Help! I hate my puppy!” and find a dark, secret underworld of women who swap horror stories in hushed fonts about feral-fanged monsters taking over their homes and their husbands. So okay, you’re not the only wife being attacked whilst the husband gets all the cuddles, but no-one’s actually saying if it’s going to stop.
STAGE TWO: CAGE THE BEAR!
It takes six days, five dug up flower beds, four torn pairs of trousers, three masticated flip-flops, two attempted attacks on live electric cables, and a minor amount of worry regarding the loss of blood to your left calf, to abandon your ethical objections to animal incarceration and order a cage. Well, actually, two cages and a puppy pen – no point pussy-footing around.
You call it a cage, and not a crate, because you are from Yorkshire and know a spade to be a spade, and there’s no hiding from the fact that you are now LOCKING YOUR PUPPY IN A CAGE and leaving the room.
Why didn’t we think of this sooner? The cage wins you valuable puppy-free seconds where you can re-dowse your clothes and skin in bitter puppy repellent spray and re-stock your pockets with bits of dried fish before entering once more into the fray.
Five minutes later your husband walks in to find this:
Your new-found love of internment doesn’t stop here, after reading a list of plants that are deadly to puppies and finding ALL of them at large in your garden, you have fashioned a French Revolution style barricade, three metres from your back door, out of pots and pans and bits of old furniture. At four in the morning you and your puppy can be found sitting on the back step gazing longingly over the top of it at your toxic garden death trap, wondering if you’ll ever walk underneath its trees again. Or sleep for that matter.
WILL WE EVER SEE OUR LOUNGE AGAIN?