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Woof! Advice from a New Puppy Parent

“I want a doggie, mommy!” my three year old son woke up one morning proclaiming as he sat up in bed next to me. I wondered where this idea came from as I searched his little face for an expression to match his enthusiastic request. Smiling from ear to ear, he added, “And his name will be Sonic.”

Well this is new, I thought. Much like many of his other wishes, I chalked it up to a combination of a recent video of Ryan from Ryan’s Toy Review and his growing fondness for Sonic the Hedgehog. It must be a temporary, fleeting want. Right?

Two months, many toddler tears and countless visits to adoption centers later, we finally found our little Sonic.

He was small, he was cuddly, he was… a handful. I knew having a dog would be a responsibility, but I did not realize it would turn my entire family’s routine upside down. If you are considering adding a furry friend to your family, here’s what you need to know.

You will feel as if you have a new baby all over again.

As we drove home with our new addition in my lap, it suddenly hit me. I really have to take care of this little puppy. Since the minute Sonic became ours, I’ve had to worry about feeding him, making sure he has enough exercise, crate training him, letting him out to do his business every few hours (including in the middle of the night), taking him to the vet, etc. I’ve had to puppy proof my house, which isn’t the easiest task when my three year old loves to leave his legos everywhere. While I’m at work, I’ve called my housekeeper to check in on him. If that doesn’t sound like the makings of a new mom, I’m not sure what does!

You will have to adjust your schedule to them.

Let me tell you a poorly kept secret…I love my job. So much so that I have two of them! But once Sonic appeared, I had to accommodate much of my schedule to his. I set my alarm to different intervals throughout the evening and thru the morning to work on crate training him. I planned my outings around his puppy bladder and meals. I’ve had to hire a helping hand to take him out and feed him while I’m at work. It hasn’t been as easy as taking him out in the morning and the afternoon like I had envisioned. Puppies take work and require plenty of attention and time.

You will enjoy your dog more if your spouse is on board.

My husband will be the first to tell you that he was not so keen about adding a fur baby to our family. Since the day we began considering it, he tried to dissuade me by telling me that he was not in agreement and that it would be my sole responsibility.

Nevertheless, I staunchly pursued the prospect because I was willing to take on the responsibility if it was something my son really wanted. I dare say that Sonic’s cuteness has softened my husband’s attitude towards the whole idea (and shhhh I’ve also caught him holding him in his arms while watching TV) but initially it was a little bit rough. Whenever our puppy had an accident or knocked something over, my husband would give me the “I told you so” look. And he wasn’t fond of our outings being cut short to return home to accommodate Sonic, although now things are very different.  

If your spouse or family members are on board from day one, it will be a much easier transition. You can also coordinate varying responsibilities, which is a big plus.

You will be taking your wallet out very frequently.

Do you remember the feeling you had when you realized that babies require a lot of things? And expensive things at that! That’s exactly how I felt during the first week of puppy parenthood after spending more than $300 on puppy gear and supplies ($60 for a crate?!). My son also opportunely discovered dogswear and requested certain outfits which were so stinking cute but pricey. I don’t want to calculate the amount of money spent to date on vets bills, food and other supplies, but lets just say I could have purchased a couple of Kate Spade bags instead. The thought hurts my pocket and my wardrobe!

The moment you take your furry friend from your adoption center, pet store or breeder, you are agreeing to a lifelong commitment. And sure, you can break that commitment at some point but would that really be what you set out to do in the first place? I brought Sonic home with the intention of having him FURever (see what I did there?).

Despite the fact that he has turned our lives upside down, I am more than happy to work through the transition if it brings a smile to my son’s face. And can you deny my four-legged baby’s cuteness? Welcome to the family, Sonic!


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