Observations of a 36-hour dog owner

I’m pleased to introduce Winston Bingo Ruffy (the kids picked the name, obviously). We are now a dog family, and I’m feeling tired and a little overwhelmed.

But it’s fun too. We picked up our Airedale puppy Saturday evening, then drove four hours in a snowstorm to get home. He did great in the car, and he’s really loving me.

I’ve learned a few things already:

A good disposition is possibly the best trait you can get in a dog. We did not “pick out” Winston. We never saw him in real life until we picked him up, and he was the last of the litter to be claimed. I was sure we would be left with the psycho of the litter. So I don’t know how it worked out this way, but Winston isn’t much of a barker. He only barks a little (mixed in with a lot of whimpering) when we put him in his kennel at bedtime. He’s also pretty content to lie on the floor by us and isn’t jumping on us constantly. We are feeling extra lucky and grateful for this, and it’s helping us be more patient when he nibbles on our socks (or chomps down on my mom’s foot—sorry, Mom).

Dogs really do have a smell. When we picked up Winston, the breeder said, “You’ll want to buy some dry shampoo at Walmart on your way home.” Thanks, buddy, for getting him ready for us. I shampooed Winston bright and early Sunday, and I was just sure he was going to smell like fresh air after a bath. That was a pipe dream. A dog’s a dog, and ours smells like one. Now the trick will be preventing our house from smelling like one. Tips?

Dogs eat a lot. Please tell me if this is just the puppy stage, but my dog is starving. Yesterday he ate a full bowl of food in the morning, half a bowl in the afternoon, and a full bowl at night. More input produces more output, and I don’t love that either (especially when it happens on my daughter’s bedroom floor). How many times a day do you readers feed your dogs?

Getting a puppy doesn’t instantly turn your kids into “dog people.” We knew two of our kids would be elated to add a dog to the mix; the other two were not interested and a little scared. Winston didn’t fix that. The kids who loved dogs before are out-of-their-minds excited, and the other two are adjusting. Slowly. I’m trying not to rush them, and I keep saying, “Remember, this is your house. If the dog is doing something you’re not comfortable with, tell me.” I hope they’ll warm up to Winston, but there’s no rushing the process.

Getting a puppy makes me love my kids even more. It’s fun to have a pet, but I’m so grateful to have kids that can have a conversation, feed themselves, go potty in a toilet, and sleep through the night (though, of course, it wasn’t always like this—but I’ve gotten used to it). And I’m proud of my biggest boy for how he’s doing so far with scooping poop and taking out Winston whenever I ask. This dog is really for him, and I hope he ends up loving Winston with his whole soul. Like I love him.

I’m going to spend the next few days getting this puppy housebroken because if I don’t, I’m gonna be a divorcee in no time. Be back soon! •

5 thoughts

  1. You are brave. I do not have any pets, but I will nonetheless recommend considering a Roomba. I know pet people that love them, and I’ve been obsessed with mine for years. That said, perhaps you opted for a dog that doesn’t shed much?


  2. Our dog is so stinky. Kendrick was bathing him weekly and it just doesn’t go away. I’m with you. I love the dog because I love the kids who love the dog. Seeing Jake come home from school and give Mac a big hug makes it all worth it. Good luck!!


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