About six weeks ago, I brought home the sweetest little puppy from an adoption event. Here she is. Legacy at about 10 weeks, 10 pounds, rescued from the streets in New Orleans. We adopted her for a lot of the reasons people do–companionship, love of dogs/animals, increase our family, get outside more, exercise more and just simply because we wanted one.
To an extent, as expected I got all that as well as not enough sleep (puppy’s need time to sleep through the night), an empty wallet, and lots of training classes. But the real gains from that little girl who is growing faster than weeds (she’s now 22 pounds and climbing), I never expected.
1.) A new neighborhood: Because I am out walking around more and just outside more attached to an adorable bundle of energy, I find myself talking to and engaging more people–neighbors I’ve never met, streets I’ve never visited. I’ve rediscovered my neighborhood.
2.) Reorganized family dynamics: Add a puppy, you change the time allocation in a family. But its been for the better. My daughter and I have something else to share, to take on walks, sometimes to fight over but that’s mother-daughter relations for you. Overall, its another center for the family. Something we are all responsible for, and whose antics and needs are unique to our family.
3.) A no-stress zone. When I’m with the puppy, I have to be with the puppy. Outside, on walks, at play. If that sounds forced, it is and it isn’t. I hadn’t really thought through, not in precise detail anyway, how a puppy would reorganize my time. But I like it. I like have space to be outside, with work and other worries far, far, far away. I’m not writing as much as my life reshuffles around the new addition, but I’ve also let go of some of the anxiety that was starting to weave itself into my psyche from the writing–how many sales, reviews, etc.. Its been a chance to let go, unwind and reclaim the essential joy and satisfaction that came from sitting down and writing. Something that’s been missing lately as I’ve been caught up in the world of publishing and marketing.
4.)Forced reflection on the quality, or lack thereof, my patience levels. Having the puppy reminded me to bolster up my patience levels. I’d forgotten how much the little ones needed. I did it when I had my daughter, but as she grew, and began to rebel–well so much for the patience muscles I had toned when she was an infant and toddler. The puppy forces me to rebuild those skills.
5.) Club membership. Being a dog owner has put me in a brand spanking new club. Dogs seems to automatically bond two people who may have nothing else in common. Got my dog owner card, carrying it proudly.
6. Acceptance. When we first saw Legacy, she was gentle and calm. When we brought her home days later, she was a bundle of energy, racing around the house in manic puppy mode, with an aggressive streak we did not expect. She’s a mutt. Pittbull may be a part of her DNA. When we had met her, the poor thing had been getting over some kind of virus. That veneer of serenity a residue of the disease or the drugs used to heal her or (or both). We had to wrap our heads around the dog we got was not the dog we thought we picked.
But that’s the same with all new additions–they bloom into their real personality. She’s also smart, learns fast, and is incredibly sweet when she wants to be and does listen–when there are no distractions around. We’ll be in training for awhile but we love her, growls and teeth and all.
So, tell me about your puppy. What have you learned from living with a dog?