When I’m having a long day at work it lightens the load a little to remember that I have Wally waiting at home for me. He’ll be so excited to see us that he’ll struggle to contain his squeals of delight until we open the baby gate. Then he’ll alternately flop on our feet for belly rubs and jump up to kiss our chins. If he spots a toy he might race over to entice us to play, shaking it like a dead chipmunk. It all sounds pretty wonderful, huh? Don’t kid yourself, Pollyanna!
As much fun as it is to have a puppy it’s also a lot of work. Until you have your own puppy you’ll probably only experience the best of other people’s puppies, which would understandably create unrealistic expectations. So what should you expect?
To give Wally enough time to potty several times, eat, play, and train, each morning I get up about 30min earlier than I would otherwise. This might sound trivial but it’s really a big chunk of time! Are you willing to go to bed 30min earlier than you do now? I would have to hit the sack at 9:45pm to hit my quota. It’s tough! (And therefore I’ve learned to live on less sleep.) Plus it only gets worse as they get older because they need more exercise to reach the same satisfied state of tiredness. By the time Wally’s old enough to take real walks or jogs I’ll probably be getting up at least 45min earlier than I did pre-Wally.
In order to prevent crushing guilt and a neurotic puppy, every day one of us has to go straight home (more or less) after work for the evening routine. This means we can’t go out for drinks, go for lengthy grocery shopping trips at Central Market, or go to a gym (if we did that). This isn’t a big deal for us since most of our socializing is on weekends anyway, but just a year I was one of those people with an activity going on every day after work. I couldn’t do that now, not without a lot of discussion with Isaac anyway.
Whatever your evening routine is now you’ll have to find a way to fit the puppy into it. Fortunately Isaac winds down by watching TV and I enjoying reading or jumping on my laptop. We’ve set up the living room in such a way that Wally is in sight 90% of the time. You could also use the umbilical cord approach where you keep the puppy on leash and attached to you wherever you go in the house. Sometimes I do this with Wally on weekends.
The worst thing about having a puppy is you just don’t have time for anything else! Or maybe I’m just terrible at time management, I don’t know. I have a growing list of things to do and it never seems to get shorter, which I blame on Wally being too damn cute to resist. By the time he’s tired enough to conk out so am I!
Oh, and these scenarios all assume that Wally doesn’t have explosive diarrhea, persistent heaves, or some other issue that keeps us up all night. Potty accidents add clean up time, too.
Double “Oh”: If it’s at all possible try to be in a committed relationship before you get a puppy. It’s SOOO much easier with two capable adults. Roomies don’t count, nor do parents unless the parent is living with you and not vice versa. Ha! :)