Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Things I've learned about puppyhood

Jordan and I have been woken up every two hours for the last four nights by our five-month-old puppy, Norman. I won't go into the details but let's just call it a "bowel situation."

Every two hours.

For four straight nights.

The fact that Jordan and I are both slightly dying more and more with every 3AM outing does not bode well for any children in our future.

Every two hours.

For four straight nights.

(At this point, will the moms please spare me the "girl, you have no idea!" comments. Puppies are not the same as babies. I know this. But I'm still tired. Just let me have this one, please.)

Really, the fault is ours. Let this be a warning: Don't ever go on vacation without your dog. He will know. He will know and you will pay.

I suppose we should be honored that Norman loves us so much. The feeling is mutual, after all. In my unbiased opinion, he's the very best, most adorable, sweetest, kindest puppy that there ever was.

But, MAN, can he hold a grudge.

Poor thing has separation anxiety bad.  It doesn't really help that I am with him, working from home most days. He's been left for 3-4 hours at a time in his crate before, so we thought all would be fine. He got to spend the nights with his sweet auntie who played with him and took him on walks. We hired a recent high school grad dog-lover to walk him every four hours during the day. But, apparently to Norman  as evidenced by his physical and emotional reactions  that was not sufficient.

And now we don't sleep. I had to take him to the vet this morning to get medicine so that we  all three of us  can get some sleep. The doctor did say it could be bacterial, instead of stress-related, because of all the bizarre stuff Norman eats.

"Do you ever see him with weird items in his mouth or licking puddles?"

Um, doc, that's pretty much all I ever see. I spend half my day putting conference calls on mute to yell, WHAT ARE YOU CHEWING NOW?

But given the timing and since we had just left him for the first time, the doctor said it is likely somewhat tied to stress and anxiety.

Puppies can be difficult. Jordan and I have both had puppies before. We've seen Marley & Me. We went into this puppy parenthood with our eyes wide open. The first few nights we had him, we took turns sleeping on the floor in front of his crate so that he wouldn't be scared and whine all night. We've spent money on private training. We've gone through two bottles of carpet cleaner housebreaking him.

Then, we had the audacity to go on vacation.

And he knows it.

And now we're paying.

It's one of many things I didn't realize about being a puppy parent: Their love for you is so strong and unconditional that it literally scares the shit out of them.

(Pardon my language. I'm too tired for multiple syllables.)

Here are a few other fun facts I've learned in the 2+ months since little Norman joined our family:
  • Dogs think they have an invisibility super power. If I catch Norman doing something he shouldn't, he immediately freezes, even if it means he's halfway on the table. He thinks if he doesn't make eye contact and doesn't move, then you'll think it didn't happen. Oh weird how my mail balled itself up into a salivary mess. 
  • Cheese is universally loved and appreciated. Norman used to only come when called...if he felt like it. Then, at the encouragement of our trainer, we introduced him to tiny bits of cheese sticks. Whether you're a 32-year-old woman or a 5-month-old puppy, you will run in the direction of cheese. Like mother, like puppy.  
  • Nothing clears the room like a puppy fart. 
  • Don't worry about there not being enough room in the bed for him. He will make his own space. He doesn't need to be comfortable, just near you. Near your face while you're trying to sleep. On top of your legs when you're trying to get up. Right in the middle of your torso as you're trying to breathe...literally, just as near to you as possible. (Which is why he sleeps in a crate...)
  • Puppies can give side-eye better than a surly teenager or me when I'm hangry. With one look, sweet little Norman can convey the best "Ugh-mom-you're-so-annoying-quit-messing-with-me" expression. Exhibit A:
And with that, I'm going to take the small pharmacy the vet sent me home with and try to get this snuggly, side-eye-giving pup on the mend. For sleep's sake.

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