So a month has passed since I got my sweet puppy, Barkley. While I adore her, it has been one of the most tiring and lifestyle altering things of my life. I am used to a life where I did what I wanted when I wanted and while I loved that and actually wanted a little more responsibility; I did not really understand that bringing a 7-week old puppy into my life was like adding a baby to my life. This furbaby is 100% dependent on me for structure, and food, and mental stimulation. It has exhausted me, and that has shocked me.
I mentioned this to friends and suddenly the tone of the conversation changes. Oh yes, I hated my dog for the first 6 months…Oh, we had such a hard time for the first 2 years… ‘Scuse! Where the heck were you when I first brought this up?!? Not one word was said when I mentioned wanting a dog. It was just, “yay that’s great!”. Some even dismissed the issues I encountered. “Housebreaking is easy…All you have to do is…or this gem…It’s just a puppy…” Well, all of this made me realize something that has absolutely nothing to do with puppies…
When you do something in your life, your experience may not in any way mirror anyone else’s. It can hit harder for you than it did for others. You can feel how you feel about it and that is OK. When you voice these concerns to others, friends may not identify with you. People also get convenient amnesia about the struggles that they had when starting any difficult transition. While you can benefit from their knowledge, you may have to realize that advice is just that and you will have to do things in the way that best fits your situation. If you feel frustrated with something and need to take a different approach that is ok.
I had to board my puppy this weekend. I just needed a break. To be able to sleep for longer than 4 hours straight for the first time in a month. I am with my puppy day in and day out. I track every time she eats, sleeps, poops, and pees. When she has a tantrum (oh yes, puppies have those) I am here, when she needs to play or take a walk I am here. No one else. When I mentioned boarding her, some friends and family laughed and judged. It definitely hurt. But I had to come to this place and while I know this is just a puppy to some, she has been a huge addition to my life. This experience is teaching many lessons and also reiterating something I know for sure…
Everyone can tell you how to do something they are not doing, no matter how different your circumstance is from theirs. People have asked me, would you get the puppy knowing what you know now? I see this question differently than I would have a month ago. It doesn’t really matter but…No. I would not have gotten the puppy knowing what I know now. However, I love Barkley. She is an adorable little nugget. She will eventually grow up and I will not track poop or pee or sleep for only 3 hours straight. She will no longer be a tiny little nugget. She will be the dog I wanted and more. She is my responsibility and I am glad for the opportunity and responsibility I now have. I will keep loving her even when I am tired. And I will keep taking breaks from her as I need too. Cuz I am a single puppy mom that signed up for this job.
So I say all that to say this. You may be facing something and it may not be going the way you expected. You may have even been the architect of your own storm. It is hardest to see the way out when you are in the middle of the mess. Keep in mind that things change and can improve when you least expect it. You may have to weather your storm in the way that works best for you in your house and that is alright. Just keep in mind why you wanted to do what you are doing in the first place. Remember the benefits of that and keep going! Soon you will be at the finish line, remembering that rough start and benefiting from the life lessons you picked up along the way.